Thanks Carl, all very interesting. Although in the not too distant future I think a new audio format will emerge, and I certainly hope it will not be a compressed one.
Maybe on camera memory cards or something like that, but then the potential for stunning cover graphics would be even less. however uncompressed recordings and a 'no moving parts' playback system does have significant advantages. Apart from the obvious, it could not get scratched, the player would never 'wear out' the medium would never 'wear out' and camera cards of higher capacity than Cd’s are available right now. Also by removing mechanics from the system jitter would simply not exist.
Something I never did understand is why the Red book CD standard was linear encoding whilst all the telephone systems are logarithmic, and I think we all find 8 bit phone signals pretty good, maybe yourself Pluto, Arthur, or Red have an answer, after all everything in nature is logarithmic, sight, sound etc.
So to dream of a new audio standard, it would use camera memory cards, SVHS cables, have class 'D' amplification, but it would still have a major bottle neck. The speakers, one item that has not seen a new techology for 100 years, electrostatics did look like the way forward but never really caught on big time. So the answer would be a system that can move air without any moving parts itself, beyond me, I'll bow out and leave the next Einstein to resolve that one, but I bet someone will. Then reproduction will reach heights that were never dreamed possible.
I think the very reasons for all the searching for tweaks for the compact disc comes from a lack of this format to give an analogue sound such as most vinyl recordings, matched with the fact the manufacturers and hi fi users search for a neutral sound source from their CD players, not a bad thing but i think we are searching for a sound we already had back when we where kids when things were more basic, i sometimes sit and listen to an old track and think that this is not how i remember it sounded as youngster ! why ? could it be that the sound is way too clean ? any one remember listening to Jim Reeves on juke box or old radio, then buying the recording to find that some thing was lacking with the sound !
Colouration !! could this be what we are missing ?? Mm
You could be right there, some time ago I did a compact cassette copy of a Lou Reed CD to play in the car, so the raw quality could never be better than that it was recorded from. But a couple of days later I found myself intensely and emotionally involved in hearing this (in the car), so much that I couldn't wait to get home and hear the original though my ESL63's from the CD, alas no emotion, no involvement, indeed rather disappointing.
So I do agree that listening experience seems to have little to do with actual quality of reproduction, what actually creates feeling and involvement completely beats me but it seems to have little to do with measured 'goodness'.
Another little historical point here, why was the digital disk called a compact disk - simply to trade on the good name the cassette had at the time. (researched fact) note they both came from Philips. A very innovative company the I2E bus now used every where, another original innovation.
Maybe more colouration is the answer!!!
Having said that a year ago I listened to a 100yo cylinder player and that was truly awful so maybe not too much colouration.
Carl you are really making me think here, if involvement and emotion do not come from high quality then what the hell do they come from, is it a memory from the past, association with events or simply mood, any of these could explaine the many claims made for expensive items. In referance to your original post I don't think anyone would consider returning back to 405 line B&W TV days or the 78RPM record days or analogue telephones but for some inexplicable reason the microgroove LP is still considered king. as is 90 yo valve technology. Any ideas...
Wished i could pin point this puzzle ? looking back to past recordings we all heard them from one source or another, could it be that we are trying to replicate that very source? bearing in mind that most tunes where produced with radio playback in mind, this could be why we are not getting the same sound from our home players ! local girl released a song a little while ago, i purchased this and the sound was very clear well produced but not the same as her singing live ? something lacking ? local radio played it and it had a warmer more involving sound ? even through the computer ??? one on ponder on!
Yes I ponder as well but I have to say that my present system has brought more emotion and involvement into music than anything I've had before.
Having said that I would also probably love the sound of a 45 played on a Dansett player or a valve AM radio but neither would really be in the same bracket, as I've said before my first experience of Hi Fi was at 14 when I heard a Quad system with electrostatics so maybe that gave me a target rather different to many.
Some time ago I did visit live un-amplified concerts and always thought if only we could reproduce that sound at home mostly wind instruments trumpet, trombone, flute etc. but also acoustic guitar not to mention violin. My system now does reproduce them with such fidelity that I feel a milestone has been achieved.
In all fairness to the industry we are getting far better sound reproduction now than we ever have, even the cheapest of cheap systems are far better than they were a few years ago, even an MP3 player is better than AM radio and all these improvements are made possible by real technology advances and have no connection to 'cable claims' or any other dubiouse Hi Fi additions but simply down to good enineering practice.