I can’t promise this will be my last post regarding the exchange that has been going on between myself and Jonathan Valin, but I will write about something else tomorrow. His response to my last comment was:
“I don’t really have anything to add to or subtract from what I’ve already written about your room at AXPONA.
You say you’re not “dismissing” analog recordings, only pointing out that by your metric they can’t possibly match the dynamic range of today’s digital recordings and (ergo) can’t possibly be as high in resolution or fidelity as your own (and other) digital recordings. (An interesting distinction, this–not a “dismissal” just a statement of disparaging fact.) [MW: There is nothing disparaging about stating a fact. Accept it and then continue enjoying what is offered by analog.]
I have seen this same argument made since the dawn of Perfect Sound Forever (or the Dawn of the Dead as I think of it); your party made the EXACT same claims about the very first 44/16 CDs. [MW: The CD specification had the potential to best analog tape and vinyl LP back in 1982 AND it still does today. How much dynamic range is available on analog tape?]
For TAS, the only metric that matters is listening. Though I freely admit that digital recording and playback have come a good deal closer to the absolute sound over the years, in my opinion and that of a lot of other experienced concertgoers and audiophiles, great analog recordings still sound markedly more like the real thing than great digital recordings. It is also my opinion that comparative measurements of dynamic range in digital bits (assuming, of course, that these measurements are valid) come no closer to telling the whole story about what is being presented than they did with 44/16 CD.” [MW: An opinion that can’t stand in the face of analytical and scientific reality.]
There just doesn’t seem to be any way to make him or others with same unwavering attachment to analog music understand that different levels of fidelity can be achieved by different formats…AND they are NOT all equal! And while he and plenty of others can continue to enjoy and cherish their analog formats, it is NOT disparaging of them or the formats when the march of technology moves ahead and it becomes possible to achieve higher levels of fidelity. The ultimate expression of music recording and reproduction isn’t analog tape and/or vinyl LPs, as much as Jonathan and his friends would like to have it. Those formats are wonderful but are not the end of the line.
The only metric that matters is listening. I sincerely hope that this statement is not true at The Absolute Sound. It would mark a very sad day for our audiophile passion if any writer or publication refused to acknowledge that acoustic accuracy, dynamic range, frequency range, distortion levels and a myriad of attributes of sound recording and reproduction have improved thanks to new discoveries and equipment. Could the folks over at The Absolute Sound really be “Flat-Earthers?” to whom any scientific facts are dismissed in favor of pseudoscience one’s personal opinions? I sincerely hope not.
The absolute sound might be found in a great piece of vinyl or played from an analog tape but it’s very possible that a new absolute sound with greater fidelity born of high-resolution digital technology has already arrived.