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Jodo Kast Mar 21, 2012

In December of 2011 I had noticed that Smile Again from Perfect Collection Ys II had a popping noise. This is track 7 on disc 2. I heard the popping noise while listening to the file on my hard drive. I next brought out my cd-r copy of the original disc and it had the same popping noise, which indicated that something went wrong when I made the copy many years ago. Luckily, this album has been reprinted. I ordered the reprint and it sat on my computer desk for a week.
I eventually listened to disc 1 and it was fine. A week or so later I listened to disc 2 and track 7 had a popping noise. I became very intrigued at this point.

Here are the facts about track 7 on disc 2:

1. My hard drive file has popping noise at 0:45
2. My cd-r has popping noise at 0:45
3. The second print (original disc) has popping noise at 0:45

I became even more intrigued when I noticed the pop happens at the same time in each case, although it gets even more interesting...

I have the Ys -Special Collection- DVD and I remembered that Smile Again plays during the scene of the Falcom shop and the display of various Falcom products. Sure enough, the song popped at 0:45 on the DVD (original - not a copy).

There are other sources to check, such as Falcom Vocal Collection I, and I don't have that. I'm asking if someone can check their Falcom Vocal Collection I and see if "Smile Again" has a pop at 0:45.

My guess concerning this problem is that the song would have to be re-recorded in order to eliminate the pop. Certainly Falcom noticed the pop before they reprinted the album. There is also the bizarre chance that I have received 3 defective products with the even more bizarre property of the same defect.

On to my second discovery....

I had noticed, about a year ago, that my copy of Turok Official Remixes has a popping noise on track 8 at 3:13. It is evident on my cd-r of the original and the file on my hard drive. A few weeks ago, I grabbed another copy of Turok (http://jesujej.ferret.feralhosting.com/ … CD_MAG_FR/) and thought my problem was solved. However, the rip I found there has the same pop on track 8 at 3:13

This leads to several possibilities:

1. That individual somehow got my rip and posted it as his own.
2. That individual bought my disc or somehow received my disc.
3. All of the Turok discs are defective.
4. Only 2 Turok discs are defective and have the same defect. (very unlikely)

This is the Turok album I'm talking about: http://vgmdb.net/album/2012

Zorbfish Mar 21, 2012

I've been noticing clicking in a lot of my albums in the past month, too. All of them have been either SuperSweep or Wavemaster releases. There's always a click right at the beginning of each track.

As for popping I've only noticed it in one album, BoFV: Dragon Quarter OST.

Oddly enough I never noticed any of this until I started using a Cowon player with the headphone specific equalizer settings on; so I'm wondering if it could be that hardware or just something that other players hid or canceled out.

Jodo Kast Mar 22, 2012

Zorbfish wrote:

I've been noticing clicking in a lot of my albums in the past month, too. All of them have been either SuperSweep or Wavemaster releases. There's always a click right at the beginning of each track.

As for popping I've only noticed it in one album, BoFV: Dragon Quarter OST.

Oddly enough I never noticed any of this until I started using a Cowon player with the headphone specific equalizer settings on; so I'm wondering if it could be that hardware or just something that other players hid or canceled out.

Your problem sounds unrelated to the media itself. My problem is more universal. It's somewhat minor, but I would suspect that irrespective of the hardware used, one would still notice the popping noises. I think a mistake was made during either the recording or mastering of the songs, since it spans multiple printings and a DVD in one case. In the Turok case, it's really unfortunate, as I love that song.

I would recommend taking the songs that have problems and listen to them on a CD player. I don't trust PMPs, after what happened with an iPod. It was truly terrible. We should be stepping forward with sound quality, but PMPs are a VERY LARGE step backwards. They sound much worse than cassettes. Studies have been done on teenagers that use PMPs. They prefer the sound of MP3 files to lossless files. So many people are clueless about how much astonishing detail is present in the music they regularly listen to, if only they would use a CD player.

Imagine watching a movie and every 5 minutes, 1 minute was deleted. You would be missing some details. That is how most people listen to music.

Ashley Winchester Mar 22, 2012 (edited Mar 22, 2012)

Jodo Kast wrote:

So many people are clueless about how much astonishing detail is present in the music they regularly listen to, if only they would use a CD player.

Imagine watching a movie and every 5 minutes, 1 minute was deleted. You would be missing some details. That is how most people listen to music.

After my post this morning, I was thinking about this quote at work and well, it's simply loaded.

So, I take it I need a CD player and a pair of five hundred dollar headphones to enjoy my music "properly"? Can’t listen to it in the car… that’s not proper! Ok, how about this, give me your address and I'll send you all my CDs - its better they be in the hands of someone who can "appreciate" them in the "correct" manner. Next thing you know you'll want albums to have "requirements" for which "sound system" they're compatible with like a piece of computer software.... cripes.

Despite the elegant tale you try to weave it into at the end of the day "October Mermaid" is still "October Mermaid" despite whatever piece of electronic gadgetry is playing it. It’s simply amazing how you take something a simple as listing to a song and turn it into such a massive undertaking. Still, given who I’m talking to, the concept of enjoying something at face value without the incessant need to refine the living s--- out of it is moot.

Sorry, but I’m more worried about how a song makes me feel (and what it means to me) than worrying about the freaking sound quality or what format it's in.

Edit:

Speaking popping and clicking, maybe I should send Jodo some vinyl. That would keep him real busy!

Jodo Kast Mar 23, 2012

Ashley Winchester wrote:

So, I take it I need a CD player and a pair of five hundred dollar headphones to enjoy my music "properly"? Can’t listen to it in the car… that’s not proper!

You're not aware of the progression of events I have experienced. Just like the Standard Model of particle physics required much work and experiment (and failure), learning how to extract more details from music took me a great deal of time and effort. I'm telling you about the end result and you're thinking I somehow started out with premium equipment.

Ashley Winchester Mar 23, 2012

No, I'm not thinking you started out with premium equipment. Okay, so let me get this straight, with this "premium equipment" you noticed this popping and clicking in a track you wouldn't have heard with "lesser" equipment. I take it you were more pleased with this track before you discovered this problem. My question is why would you want equipment that can possibly magnify every flaw? I know you'll pick this apart but sometimes ignorance truly is bliss.

Man, and people think I'm anal when I complain about some of the SNES tracks on the Rockman X box.

The guy at the game store was right; it’s pointless to argue with audiophile - and a person who has an answer for everything… Seriously, no surprises here.

Still, your movie comparison is way off. In no way does listening to a song in mp3 format remove any of the “story.” Yes, it may remove data, but think about it… would you say that a movie had any less “story” if you watched it in a compressed format like avi or mpeg? It’s the same thing… the difference in “quality” is not a difference in “story.” By that logic some would say the only way to get the “true story” of a movie would be to watch it at the most advanced theater known to mankind or that reading a book on a kindle gives a book more story because you’re using a more advanced piece of technology. Really, I think video games have proven to everyone here that “new” doesn’t always mean "better" or "more."

But really, I would love to know what your problem with the mp3 format is. At this point in history no one is holding a gun to you head and saying you have to use it. Don’t like it, don’t use it. The format is fine for what it was invented for (on the go listening) and has served it purpose well enough. Yet is seems you can't stand to let people use what format suits their needs. I just don’t get the point of coming on a website and indirectly telling us what poor souls we are because we haven’t taken our “listening experience” to “the next level.” In some cases good enough is good enough. That said I find your advocation on audio and audio formats as annoying as the people that come to my door to talk to me about Jesus. Apparently, I can’t be trusted to make my own decisions in life and lord knows I might make the wrong one, like recording with a lossy format!

Razakin Mar 24, 2012

Better comparision would be ripping your brand new bluray movie and then recording it to VHS cassette.

Crash Mar 24, 2012

Allow me to step in to make some comments on the whole audio quality and components issue.  I've experienced the same thing that Jodo has when I stepped up my audio equipment.  Hearing a well-recorded piece of music on a top-of-the-line stereo system that is thoughtfully set up can be a consciousness-altering experience.  You can hear every component in perfect balance, and the music becomes much more involving.  It's a moment that can leave you speechless, and cause you to wonder, "Where did THAT come from?  THIS is how good music can sound?"  Some people may not have that sort of an emotional moment, but I did.

Unfortunately, if you have a musical experience like this, it presents a problem.  You then spend the rest of your life trying to reproduce that effect.  Even if you get great equipment, a fair number of your favorite albums will be poorly recorded, and there is nothing you can do about it.  When you listen to these albums, you will not get the same feeling of satisfaction, and it will bother you.

Think about it this way: let's say that the recording quality of a piece can range from 1 to 10, but the system you use to play it back maxes out at 5.  Anything from 5 to 10 will sound good relative to everything else.  Now, if you step up to a more revealing system, the difference between a 5 and a 10 will be striking.  If your favorite album had a recording quality of 6, and you play it back on an top-of-the-line system, you are going to be disappointed.  However, when you hear an album with a recording quality of 10 on that same system, you will be awestruck.  Some music scales up better than others as the equipment gets better.

Yes, it is sad that some of your favorite music sounds relatively worse on better equipment.  But the trade-off is that some music sounds so much better.  It's a trade-off I am willing to make.

rein Mar 25, 2012 (edited Mar 25, 2012)

Razakin wrote:

Better comparision would be ripping your brand new bluray movie and then recording it to VHS cassette.

Are you suggesting that this is an apt analogy for lossless vs. lossy audio encoding?  If so, then you must be able to discern the difference between the two in blind listening tests without fail.  That's impressive.

Boco Mar 25, 2012

rein wrote:

That's impressive.

No, not really. It's actually pretty easy to hear the difference.

That's irrelevant though. The bottom line is that music is entertainment. If a person enjoys listening to their music, then they're doing it right. It doesn't matter if they listen to MP3s on a $50 portable music player with second-hand earbuds or CDs on a $50,000 audiophile sound system. It's all about enjoying music and there are many ways to do exactly that.

Ashley Winchester Mar 25, 2012

Boco wrote:

That's irrelevant though. The bottom line is that music is entertainment. If a person enjoys listening to their music, then they're doing it right. It doesn't matter if they listen to MP3s on a $50 portable music player with second-hand earbuds or CDs on a $50,000 audiophile sound system. It's all about enjoying music and there are many ways to do exactly that.

Thank you.

GoldfishX Mar 26, 2012

Crash wrote:

Allow me to step in to make some comments on the whole audio quality and components issue.  I've experienced the same thing that Jodo has when I stepped up my audio equipment.  Hearing a well-recorded piece of music on a top-of-the-line stereo system that is thoughtfully set up can be a consciousness-altering experience.  You can hear every component in perfect balance, and the music becomes much more involving.  It's a moment that can leave you speechless, and cause you to wonder, "Where did THAT come from?  THIS is how good music can sound?"  Some people may not have that sort of an emotional moment, but I did.

Unfortunately, if you have a musical experience like this, it presents a problem.  You then spend the rest of your life trying to reproduce that effect.  Even if you get great equipment, a fair number of your favorite albums will be poorly recorded, and there is nothing you can do about it.  When you listen to these albums, you will not get the same feeling of satisfaction, and it will bother you.

Think about it this way: let's say that the recording quality of a piece can range from 1 to 10, but the system you use to play it back maxes out at 5.  Anything from 5 to 10 will sound good relative to everything else.  Now, if you step up to a more revealing system, the difference between a 5 and a 10 will be striking.  If your favorite album had a recording quality of 6, and you play it back on an top-of-the-line system, you are going to be disappointed.  However, when you hear an album with a recording quality of 10 on that same system, you will be awestruck.  Some music scales up better than others as the equipment gets better.

Yes, it is sad that some of your favorite music sounds relatively worse on better equipment.  But the trade-off is that some music sounds so much better.  It's a trade-off I am willing to make.

Just quoting this whole paragraph because I agree with it. If you start on low-end equipment and never improve it, you don't have those type of issues. My problem is I've gone through so many phases where I just think I should stop listening to music altogether because it seems like I'm not enjoying it and I'm thinking the issue is my hearing and then, more out of desperation than anything else, I upgrade either my files or equipment and then *BOOM* world of difference.

My main listening was originally done on a Sony Discman that I bought around 1998. From what I understand, the DAC (digital to analog converter) in those things was quite powerful (which probably explained the craptastic battery life) and that was more or less the standard for what I did my serious music listening on. Sometime in 2003, I had to buy another model (when Discman had become Walkman). It got nearly 30 hours of battery life, but the sound was really inferior. Like, horrible. No warmth, harsh highs, the polar opposite for what I had before. I put up with it for about a year, missing my old Discman and ended up buying another CD player, but again, while an improvement was really inferior to the Discman. I was reading an article recently that explained the more powerful DAC in the Discman players (and funny thing, the one I had bought in 1998 was rated as fairly below average, sound quality-wise) and it validated that it wasn't just my imagination. I would like to find a place to sample the Marantz player that Jodo keeps referencing (CD5003, although the CD5004 seems to be the main player from the brand now). I am debating between buying an audiophile-grade CD player or an external DAC to run my current CD player through (a Sony 300-CD carousel...it's the one that Best Buy sells).

Currently, because much of my music listening is done at work, the most important thing is earphones. I have never liked the iPod buds and have never understood how people can listen to those things for more than 10 minutes at a time (and the sound leaks anyway, so they're doubly useless for my purposes). I have mostly used bass-heavy IEM's from Futuresonics, but recently have switched to Brainwavz, which has more emphasis on higher range detail and being more analytical than warm. Both are a totally different experience.

As for recording quality, I think this comes from experience as well as equipment. I was never truly aware of the loudness wars until a few years ago, so I didn't realize I was listening to compressed music. There was stuff like Guilty Gear XX or the Iron Maiden/Judas Priest remasters, where I loved the underlying music, but it became annoying to listen to it. Same for Legend of Mana, which is not super loud per se, but the music itself is compressed (something I've found in quite a few PS1 games. For the soundtracks, they probably used the compressed audio directly from the game discs). But there were albums like Grandia 1's OST, a lot of early-mid 90's JPOP (anime OP/ED's and image songs) and a lot of the SNES Square soundtracks that were just a pleasure to listen to, even some of the more average tracks and I couldn't quite put my finger on why. Dynamic range is something you have to experience firsthand, as well as have it explained. The separation and clarity of the layers is the main thing I listen for. In the 70's, 80's and early part of the 90's, albums with great dynamic range (especially vinyl...a lot of early CD's were recorded too thin) were the standard, not the exception like nowadays. Once I learned what to listen and look** for, it became fairly easy to shift my attention to albums that had good dynamic range and forget about the ones that didn't. Thankfully, most of my favorite VGM is from the early to mid 90's.

Over the past year, FLAC vs high quality mp3 has taken a backseat to the recording quality of albums. Having a compressed album in FLAC isn't going to sound better than one with great dynamic range in mp3. Obviously the best scenario is great dynamic range in FLAC, but I've moved away from the FLAC-or-nothing mentality for albums that I have to grab from somewhere else.

* (If I mp3gain or wavgain something and the decibel level is above 95 or 96, very good chance it's a loudness war casualty...This includes just about every pop/rock CD in the past 10-15 years right now and unfortunately, includes a lot of modern VGM which shouldn't be recorded as loud and compressed as it is.).

Oh yeah, recently I bought this monster to upgrade my phono setup (I also want to run my soundcard through it, but haven't experimented with that yet). The difference in sound quality between this and my old receiver is not something I'm imagining:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Rare-Kenwood-KR … 3a719d7c9d

VGMaddict! Mar 26, 2012

So, having read this topic...I am left to wonder. What is a good audio system? Suggestions? I'm currently on my dell laptop with integrated JBL speakers haha. Budget would be $1000-$1500.

Jodo Kast Mar 26, 2012

Ashley Winchester wrote:

No, I'm not thinking you started out with premium equipment. Okay, so let me get this straight, with this "premium equipment" you noticed this popping and clicking in a track you wouldn't have heard with "lesser" equipment. I take it you were more pleased with this track before you discovered this problem.

I apologize, but I'm going to have to confuse you. My initial post was simply about some defects I have discovered in some albums and is not related to format or equipment used. Zorbfish responded and talked about a PMP, which sent me off on a tangent, complaining about their use and the mp3 format in general.

The problems I discovered can be heard on any equipment. If my equipment were in fact the reason for their discovery, then I would have said so. I just wanted to find out how extensive the problem is. For example, if someone has a Turok album without the defect or a Perfect Collection Ys II without the defect, then I would like to know.

What I really want to know is how I never heard these problems before. They have always been there. Again, my equipment is not a factor, since the defects are easily heard.

Ashley Winchester wrote:

Still, your movie comparison is way off. In no way does listening to a song in mp3 format remove any of the “story.”

Your analysis is understood, however, I did not specifically say that I was comparing the loss of minutes in a movie to the mp3 format. I was lumping the mp3 format together with the low sound quality of PMPs. I was not specific, and you called me on it. I can be very vague sometimes. My analogy stems from my ownership of an iPod. I hooked it up to my stereo system and the sound quality was quite bad. Worse than cassettes. The sound quality of PMPs is so bad that much detail can not be heard. This is what I meant when I was comparing the loss of minutes to how people listen to music, since so many people use PMPs. Imagine an individual that has only used a PMP for music listening; such an individual may prefer that type of sound and studies back it up. This is similar to how fruit flies raised in an environment with a peppermint odor will not be repulsed; normally fruit flies avoid peppermint odors.

Ashley Winchester wrote:

But really, I would love to know what your problem with the mp3 format is.

My problem is more with PMPs than with the mp3 format. In fact, I regularly listen to the mp3 format, due to the fact that OC Remix and Dwelling of Duels almost exclusively provide it. The mp3 format sounds better when burned to CD and played in a CD player.

Jodo Kast Mar 26, 2012

VGMaddict! wrote:

So, having read this topic...I am left to wonder. What is a good audio system? Suggestions? I'm currently on my dell laptop with integrated JBL speakers haha. Budget would be $1000-$1500.

This system provides for good detail: http://www.crutchfield.com/p_091XS21/Fo … tml?tp=252

I made the mistake of ordering one from Amazon's marketplace and it was defective. Crutchfield is charging full price, but at least it works.

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