Abbey Road 50th Anniversary Remix Full Review! Part 2

Placement Revisions and Mix

I’m not going to give you a “play by play” of all of the obvious placement mix revisions I noted. You can discover those for yourself (or if you buy the Deluxe CD/Blu-ray set with book, you’ll get an excellent track by track “play by play”). I’ll just note two in particular: it’s nice to have George sing “Here Comes the Sun” “standing” between the speakers rather than being shunted off to the right speaker. It’s equally pleasing to hear the harmonies spread on the stage rather than being locked into the right speaker. That doesn’t make esthetic sense so was obviously originally done due to a “bounce down” that couldn’t be revised until now.

It’s equally great if not even more excellent to get the guitar solos on “The End” spread for the first time across the stereo stage instead of being bunched in the center. On the remix Paul’s guitar is on the left, George’s is on the right and John’s is in the middle.

Like the mix on The Beatles, Martin went for and achieved a more consistent “in the pocket” well-balanced, you might say “technocratic” and orderly mix than was the original, which was a bolder, more “in your face” and inconsistent mix featuring bigger images on a wider, more spacious soundstage that left a lot of space between images and events.

Listening carefully to the original you can hear the placement of ‘satellite submixes’ that were impossible to seamlessly integrate into the whole. The reissue is far more coherent.

There’s much greater bass weight on the reissue but the top end has less (and I think desirable) “crunch”, especially to the snare drums.

I hope Ume doesn’t shut me down for this but here’s Ringo’s solo first from the new remix and then from the original U.K. pressing. Now remember I’ve been playing this record for FIFTY YEARS!!!!!! You will hear that the top end snare is all there! And there’s more of than there is on the reissue. So much for records “wearing out”!



Also here’s a type of spectral image of the original pressing and then the reissue:

They are very close but you can see the “peaky” nature of the original that gives it the “crunch”. What’s going on there at 30kHz? That’s above my pay grade. I’ll leave that to others. However you can see that “records wear out after a few plays” is just so much B.S.!

The point I want to make with all of this is that the spectral balance of the original pressing and the reissue are more similar than they are different though the original has more top end air and crunch, while the reissue has greater bottom end weight. I can understand why Ringo would prefer the tom sound on the reissue but he might be somewhat disappointed by the polite snare’s lack of “crunch” and “pop”. I kind of was. However at the same time it’s measurably clear that Mr. Martin applied only minimal “global compression” to the mix, as did Miles Showell, in his ½ speed master.—if he applied any at all.

Top:remix "Mean Mr. Mustard". Bottom: same, original pressing
I should also tell you that I sent a 96/24 file of this original version of Abbey Road to Showell at Abbey Road back in February at his request to use as a reference. He said it was okay to tell you. He also said Giles Martin did not use the files, which does not surprise me. Why would he? He had the original tape to use as a reference!

It’s in My/Your DNA

If you’ve been listening to a good pressing of the original mix for decades and switch to this one you need to make a sonic adjustment to something that’s at this point almost locked into your sonic DNA. The original was cut far hotter and is therefore louder so to get the reissue “going” and make a meaningful comparison you’ll need to crank it up somewhat and be prepared for a “listening into” rather than a “coming at you” experience.

When the boxes arrived I was having a phono preamp installed and we dropped everything to listen. The immediate reaction was (and these are the words one guy used) “What happened?”

It took more than a few plays and even a reduction in tracking force on the Ortofon Anna D from 2.4 to 2.2 grams get the top end to sing and the bottom end to not be too heavy and sluggish.

When I first played the CD version in the deluxe box there was more top than on the record, but not the kind I like, and more crunch but of the “sizzle” variety. Once I’d gotten it all sorted out I was up until 1:00AM last night giving each one final play.

My conclusion about the vinyl reissue is this: aside from a few minor mysteries including why the top end cymbal sound in particular was so reserved (nor soft or dull!) throughout (the bonus album top was all there) and why, despite the more robust bottom end, Ringo’s kick drum hits on “Sun King” were both attenuated in level and lacking in the original’s distinctive “pop”. These “in the DNA” events probably stuck out more to me than to those who haven’t spend 50 years listening to this record!

Mr. Martin has again produced a worthy reissue of a classic Beatles album that improves upon the original in some ways, while diminishing it in others—especially in terms of raw, aggressive excitement and some of the original’s airy, atmospheric mystery (that’s the only way I can describe it). Yes, the crickets are from a sound effects library, but on the original you are transported outdoors. Not so on the reissue. Is that important? No. It’s just something I noticed because I’ve been noticing for 50 years the “outdoors” (even if it’s a delusion).

The reissue’s even balance and coherent spatial organization will impress even the most skeptical listener though it may take more than a few plays to “get” it. Once acclimated even lucky owners of the original U.K. pressing should find this reissue a worthwhile and enjoyable addition to their collection of Beatles vinyl.

The Bonus Tracks Rule!

The deluxe 3 LP vinyl box set includes two LPs of live takes from the sessions as well as home demos, Lennon’s “The Ballad of John and Yoko” and McCartney’s “Goodbye” home demo that became a Mary Hopkin hit that I didn’t know (so sue me). Hearing these songs performed live minus studio overdubs and embellishments is a genuine thrill and enhancement to the pleasures of listening to the finished record. Like the “Esher Demos” from The Beatles, these 2 LPs are not the kind of “play once” curiousity that often gets packaged with “the goods”. These are part of “the goods” that you will surely play repeatedly and maybe even sing along with when the space for vocals opens up.

The Deluxe 3 CD, one Blu-ray, Perfect Bound Book Edition

While the vinyl box includes a useful fold over “one-sheet” that describes in reasonable detail the outtakes and other bonus material, the deluxe CD/BD box set includes a “no expense spared” 12”x12” hard covered book every Beatles fan and Abbey Road aficionado will want to have. If I sound like a Ume salesperson, deal with it. The four discs (3 CDs, one Blu-ray) are included in pockets die cut into the inside front and back jacket.

I did listen to the CDs (which in addition to the CD resolution mix include the same outtakes and bonus material as what’s on the LPs) and I played the Blu-ray on my home theatre system. It includes the 96/24 full resolution files that I’ll have to get a computer BD drive to extract, as well as DTS-HD and Dolby Atmos surround mixes. Call me old fashioned, or go ahead and just call me old, these didn’t do much for me compared to the plain old stereo remix. But that’s just me.

The book includes “The Route to Abbey Road”, Kevin Howlett’s essential essay accompanied by photos you will want to see, adds historical perspective plus a wealth of interesting and useful information about the album, The Beatles and those final months. That’s followed by a super-detailed Track by Track description that adds so much worthwhile information your head is likely to explode, with yet more incredible photos and finally an “And In the End” essay that puts a satisfying capper on the entire “life in the day” of The Beatles.

As with the group’s break up, when you’ve completed reading the book and looking at the pictures you’ll feel somewhat lost and perhaps feel sorry it’s come to an end but happy to have been along for the ride and even happier that you can rinse and repeat as often as you wish.

Nothing in the book explains how this happened or who moved it, so that mystery remains unsolved. There’s always more.

Music Direct Buy It Now


bkinthebk's picture

No further comments till i hear the album.

Jack Gilvey's picture

Thank you. I was 2 in '69 so missed the events as they unfolded but was given this on 8-track in '78 and have been ingraining it in my DNA ever since. Certainly not a Luddite, though, and very much looking forward to the new perspective.

bill lettang's picture

Hi your comments on Ringo's snare sound on Road. I myself never much cared for the original sound. Very "papery" and lacking punch and weight. The remix tracks I've heard so far only makes it worse. I love the White Albums snare sound. Glass Onion, Cry Baby Cry, I'm So Tired and Happiness is a Warm Gun are a few standouts. In closing I'm not quite sure what you mean by bass drum hits on Sun King....I hear mostly towel covered tom toms, hi hat on 2 and 4, and light cymbal crashes. I do love your observation of the remix being a listening into rather that a coming at you mix

Michael Fremer's picture
you played the files through a system with good bottom end? The original sound on the U.S. pressing was "papery" and lacked punch and weight but the U.K. pressing has those plus what I think is a very convincing snare sound. The remix's snare is somewhat soft which is strange since the bonus tracks have plenty of what's missing from the remix....
bill lettang's picture

thanks for your reply Michael. It's true I only have the U.S. pressing of AR, and I do have a system that deliver's good bottom end. Gonna have to get a UK edition.....Bill

dmitry's picture

Hello Michael, I really enjoy reading and viewing your posts and I also collect LPs. And wanted to ask your opinion on which set is better to purchase the one pressed in the US or in the UK. Which one do you think is better? Or should I purchase both?
Thank you, Dmitry

Stephen needam's picture

I have never heard a US Pressing of AR bu both my UK pressings have punch and dynamics. One of the best sounding LP's I own. The bass kick in on Here Comes The Sun is majestic.

2_channel_ears's picture
Definitely a big difference. I find the remix more "spatial" in an almost gimmicky sounding way. And it does lose the cymbals. Still, gotta have it.
Stephen needam's picture

I Want You (She's So Heavy)
Submitted by Stephen needam on Tue, 2019-09-24 10:31
Hi Michael

Superb review as always. Just a quick question. Is the distortion in John's voice on "I want you" towards the end of the song still there or has it been fixed. It was removed on the 2009 remaster which pissed me off. I have two UK originals, One a first Pressing and an early 70's repress. Both distortions are present and it adds so much to the emotion in John’s voice.

Thanks in advance.

Michael Fremer's picture
I didn't notice that one. I"ll have to go back and listen..
Maximus0ne's picture

Distortion increases inherently toward the end of a record and can be even worse if your cartridge is not aligned properly.

randybass's picture

John's vocal distortion has been fixed like in the 2009.

Doug in CT's picture

Not "the Sun" as in your note. Posting here because something is wrong with the comment box in the Burritos post. It clicks through to the Intervention Records sales page.

Michael Fremer's picture
Brain fade...
Grx8's picture

Just two pages? Come on, your review should be included in the deluxe edition.
Great Mike, waiting for my copy to arrive


Mike Mangold's picture

After watching the video, I decided to buy the single vinyl, in addition to the Blu ray/CD set I had already ordered. I have a first pressing UK vinyl, and a "Black Triangle" CD, plus the stereo box CD, and the USB stick.

DaveyF's picture

Isn't this new Abbey Road vinyl pressing sourced from their 192/24 file? If so, what's the point of buying a digital recording pressed onto vinyl?? Inquiring minds and all that!

isaacrivera's picture

..."the original 8 track session tapes."

DaveyF's picture

8 track session tape recorded 192/24 and then pressed onto vinyl....So, IOW a digital recording.

isaacrivera's picture

But I have not seen that stated anywhere--which does not mean a thing. However, I have seen them attributed as "sourced directly from the original 8-track session tapes". It would be nice to get clarification...

Michael Fremer's picture
Many reasons! First of all, compared to CD, higher resolution, wider frequency response and while the 'rage' these days is to seriously compress CDs, not so this vinyl, which was prepared by Miles Showell. I didn't analyse the CDs. If you buy the CD/Blu-ray box and extract the hi-rez files and that's how you listen, you could make a case but most of us have set up our analog "front ends" to sound as we want records to sound. With the files, you are stuck with whatever it is (and believe me, 'accurate' isn't accurate!) and whatever quality is your DAC. I suspect Abbey Road Studios uses a better DAC than you have at home, but maybe not!
DaveyF's picture

Personally I have little interest in acquiring a digital file pressed onto vinyl. If I want the digital file, i either buy the CD or the download hi rez file( typically at a lower price than the vinyl). Albeit, if the Abbey Road release was AAA sourced that would be another thing, and I would be willing to pay more for that on vinyl. Since it is a digital file on vinyl, no thanks....YMMV.

Johnnyjajohnny's picture

I'm not trying to be offensive or anything, DaveyF, but your comments are a good example of why the pro-digital people (or the people who don't care so much) are sick and tired of the analogue fanboys, because of attitudes like yours: "If something has been digitized I will never touch it".
Digitizing something doesn't change the sound at all, unless you use faulty equipment (and some very expensive equipment, especially playback equipment, is faulty), and most pro-gear nowadays, even cheap products like Focusrite, are completely transparent well within the threshold of audibility.

DaveyF's picture

Neither am I. But your post ( comment) assumes that i cannot hear the difference between great digital ( and i believe there is such a thing) and great analog. To my ears, there is still a wide difference, one that I clearly hear regardless of the playback system. To my ears, all analog is still very much more 'palpably realistic' sounding. Again, YMMV.
BTW, I did NOT state 'I would NEVER touch it' if it has been digitized, what i am saying is that I don't need to pay the extra $$ for a vinyl pressing that is digitally sourced. Too many great AAA vinyl pressings out there...and only so much $$ to acquire them.As an aside, I own an Esoteric SACD...I very much enjoy its presentation and it sounds great, but it still isn't up to my analog rig.

Johnnyjajohnny's picture

Yes, you can hear a difference between your vinyl rig and your digital rig. So can I, on both my own rig and on your rig, even though I've never heard it, but I'm confident I could hear the difference. So could most people. I'm not disputing this at all – quite the opposite. I'm just saying there's an explanation to why this is.
Your original point was: If "Abbey Road" had been AAA you might buy it, but now that it's been digitized you certainly won't buy it. The assumption I then made was that you claimed that digitizing something completely changed the sound, and then also that you would only want a vinyl record if it was AAA since the sound hadn't been changed by digitizing.
So my point is: If you digitize an analogue signal it will be audibly indistinguishable from the original analogue signal unless you use faulty equipment. Try digitizing a vinyl record and do a level-matched blind test. As this might not be as easy it sounds (mainly because adjust the volume level can be difficult), to make it easier on yourself you could record a vinyl record and then do a loop-back recording of that digital file and do a level-matched blind test. You can then do the same loop-back recording of the resulting file and do the blind test again if you like. Just make sure the ADC is capable of this test, as not all are. The Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 is just one example of a cheap (but great) converter than can do a loop-back test.
I've done more than 800 comparisons between vinyl and CD, and there was almost always an audible difference, no matter what equipment I used (as you also say). But the difference is not because digitizing something changes the sound, but because the analogue playback system does: No cartridge in history has had as flat a frequency response as that of almost all CD players/DACs (within +/- 0.1 dB). Usually deviations from flat are at least 1-2 dB on any cartridge. Although less common, phono preamps also sometimes have greater deviations than 0.1 dB from flat.
So if you compare a vinyl record to the official CD, even if they were made from the same master, whether analogue tape or a digital file, they will sound different because the frequency response of the cartridge changes the sound.
Add to that the most expensive and coveted phono cartridges usually (but not always) have even bigger deviations from linearity than certain cheaper alternatives (like the Goldring Elite and Nagaoka MP-500, which are some of the most linear carts that I've come across), and this non-linear frequency response is exactly why they're coveted. Lyra, Zyx, Ortofon, Top Wing Red Sparrow, Sumiko Blackbird, certain (and only certain) Koetsus, etc. all have light dips in the harshness region, which will make the sound a bit more relaxed, followed by a rise that either peaks around 10-12 kHz or keeps rising all the way towards 20 kHz and beyond, which will add air to the sound. Sometimes they also have a slight boost in the bass, and if they don't, then rumble often adds that boost (although some turntables and/or phono preamps are able to attenuate this). And the people who buy these carts love that particular sound - that's why they shell out so much for something so inaccurate. I freely admit that I also like this sound for many recordings, and I also bought a cartridge with this particular sound as it made especially 60s/70s records sound much better. I also bought an amplifier with a certain sound that I liked. I had the Goldring Elite for a while, but it made many of my records sound poor, simply because it was so linear, especially in the harshness region. So then I bought a less accurate cart, and now my records sound great.
Other cartridges, for instance many Grados and EMTs, have a bigger dip, and many vinyl lovers instead prefer this "darker" sound, and they describe it as "warmer" and "less shrill", etc.
Using an equalizer on a CD player would create the same effect. I have also remastered a lot of music, and made it sound better, simply by using an equalizer, and often the change I make resembles that of a cartridge's frequency response. Too much music has too much energy in the harshness region.
So the point is two things:
1: With vinyl record you can create exactly the sound you like, whether this is "relaxing, yet airy" or "warm and slightly dark". And that's okay if you like that, as long as it's stated as a preference, because it's not more accurate than digital.
2: Analogue lovers claim digital isn't transparent to the source and that analogue is a better technology, when the opposite is the case. Analogue tape recording changes the sound, not only by having a non-linear frequency response, but also by introducing more distortion and noise than digital (which will be less audible than the change in frequency response). Vinyl playback changes it even more. And that's perfectly fine if you like that particular sound.
And if you like certain AAA records more than certain ones that were digitized at some point that's fine too, but it's not because the signal was digitized - you just happen to prefer how that particular record sounds due to the recording, production, mastering, etc. (you could confirm this by digitizing your AAA records and do a level-matched blind test and hear that they sound identical) :-).
Again, I'm very sure you can hear the difference between your analogue rig and your digital one - because the analogue rig changes the sound, and you just happen to like that change. And that is okay, as long as it's stated as a preference and not as a claim that analogue technology is technically superior :-).

DaveyF's picture

My goodness, so much written to defend that you have a preference for digital! Your OP accused me of being a 'analogue fanboy'...I submit that you are somewhat disingenuous. Why, because while i hate to say it...your last post proves to me you are a 'digital fanboy', question is whether the analogue fans are 'sick and tired' of 'digital fanboys' because of attitudes like yours, LOL.
So, to keep my post as concise as possible, let's just say that you have your opinion of digital and I have mine. My ears tell me one thing, yours another. BTW, re-read my prior posts, you clearly misunderstood my points.

Johnnyjajohnny's picture

This is what you wrote:
"8 track session tape recorded 192/24 and then pressed onto vinyl....So, IOW a digital recording."
"Personally I have little interest in acquiring a digital file pressed onto vinyl. If I want the digital file, i either buy the CD or the download hi rez file( typically at a lower price than the vinyl). Albeit, if the Abbey Road release was AAA sourced that would be another thing, and I would be willing to pay more for that on vinyl. Since it is a digital file on vinyl, no thanks"
Would it be correct to say that what you were trying to convey was that if something has been digitized before being pressed onto vinyl you (usually) don't want to buy it, and only, or almost only, if something comes from a fully analogue signal chain will you buy it on vinyl?
If that is correct, then I took this to mean that if you don't want to buy a vinyl record that at some point has been digitized it is because you believe digitizing something ruins/degrades the original signal. In other words, analogue is a better technology than digital: digital degrades the signal; analogue doesn't.
If you didn't believe that digitizing something ruins the signal, what other reason could you possibly have to oppose digitizing the "Abbey Road" tapes before putting them on vinyl?

You can call me a digital fanboy if you like, but I didn't write what I wrote to say that I have a preference for digital. I wrote what I wrote to say that digital recording is a better technology than analogue recording because it doesn't change the sound of the signal (unless you use faulty equipment), no matter what your preference is. If someone has a preference for the sound of analogue that's fine (it's a colourization, which can be pleasant), as long as it's stated as a preference, but the claim that analogue is a better technology than digital and that digitizing a signal ruins it is demonstrably false. That was my point. It's not about preferences but about the technology.
What I've done is educate myself on the topic of how digital audio works, and I've taken the relevant tests. I don't think that makes me a digital fanboy. So no, we can't agree that I just have my opinion of digital and you have yours.
As for me being a digital fanboy, I bought my first vinyl record in 1998 and my most recent one exactly a week ago today. Since 1998 I've probably bought around 2-3000 vinyl records for myself. I've sold most of them again since I found out that I didn't like the music. Before starting to go digital, and selling certain records, my collection was around 950 records. Now it's around 4-500 I think.
Even though I mostly listen to digital nowadays, I have many reasons to choose a vinyl record instead of the CD, such as a different master, the CD coming from a poor source (I have heard some that I believe came from cassette tape) or because it was poorly mastered, nice artwork for the LP, or simply because the colourization that my equipment imparts on the sound is pleasant to my ears.
So, again, my point was not about preferences but about facts.

DaveyF's picture

Not to be too unpleasant...but the last time I looked this forum is called AnalogPlanet...not DigitalPlanet!
Since you are convinced that digital recordings are superior in every way to analog, I don't think we can do anything but agree to disagree.
My main point is this..personally I have no interest in paying for a digital recording pressed onto vinyl at a higher price than a download, or file, or CD...all of which supply me with a digital recording of the exact same material. I can see what Mikey says about why one might consider a digital pressing on vinyl, assuming that there are NO better options for the recording ( that are AAA sourced), but again, personally I would not pay extra $$ for the vinyl vs digital release. ( in that instance). Your belief that digital recording is superior to analog recording ( analogue..are you a Brit? ) simply isn't my experience and I do NOT believe that to be the all! Like I stated before,YMMV.

Johnnyjajohnny's picture

So then what I said about your statements seem to be accurate:
You believe that digitizing an analogue signal ruins it.
You can believe whatever you want, but in the words of Richard Feynman:
“It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong.”
And the only experiment you seem to have conducted is comparing a vinyl record to the official digital release, and as I said before the difference you then hear is how the analogue playback equipment changes the signal, especially by an altered frequency response (as well as other things, but that is the most important thing).
I've already stated what a proper test would look like, and you don't seem to have conducted that test, nor do you seem to be interested in doing it. And therefore you get a misleading result.

DaveyF's picture

With a statement like that! What I believe is what my ears tell me...not what some 'experiment' tells me that is contrary to what I hear. ( a proper test????what's that if it disagrees with what my ears are telling me????)
My ears tell me that when I listen to a well done AAA recording it is far more 'lifelike' than when i listen to a digital recording. You don't hear that, or maybe you don't want to believe your ears.

DaveyF's picture

You bought your first LP in 1998...nice.
I bought my first LP in 1965...if that tells you anything. Have a few more LP's than CD' maybe 20K!! Have to say this for digital, it is TON easier to store...and it is a TON less weight, LOL. That's about it though.

Johnnyjajohnny's picture

Every time you write something it shows to a larger and larger degree that sticking to the mantra of "analogue good, digital bad" is more important than knowing the truth and figuring out if your hypothesis is correct or not.
There is actually nothing offensive about the hypothesis that digitizing a signal ruins it, but this hypothesis can fairly easily be tested. But as you said, if the experiment doesn't agree with what you already believe, you would rather not do the experiment.
As expected: You're not willing to put your statements and beliefs to the test.
In conclusion: Analogue good, digital bad.

DaveyF's picture

It is Digital the best and Analog is second rate. Does digitizing a pure analog signal ruin the SQ?... in my experience it diminishes the sound quality...does it 'ruin' it, I wouldn't put it that way; but it sure diminishes the SQ to my ears....and clearly NOT to yours! You keep asking about putting my beliefs to a test, I ask you...what test is better than what your ears are telling you, when it comes to sound quality. I ask you this...your 'test' shows you that your ears are wrong and that the SQ, according to your 'test' is superb. What do you have faith in, your ears...or your test? I guess in your instance, it is your test, right?? ---:0(

Johnnyjajohnny's picture
Johnnyjajohnny's picture

You're repeating yourself and you keep stating that "if my ears tell me one thing and a test shows me another, the test must be wrong, because my ears are infallible and I could not possibly be deceived".
Everyone can be deceived. Everyone has been deceived at some point. I have, you have, we all have.
I've already mentioned how a proper test would look like, yet you keep stating that your flawed test backs up your claim, but it doesn't.
If that's how you wanna play it, fine - I'm just not gonna waste more time arguing with you then.
But before putting this to rest I will be a good sport and show you what I mean:

One of my claims is that not all phono preamps sound the same (partly due to frequency response).
So I'm backing up my claim: I did a level-matched ABX test of the Parasound Zphono vs. the Lejonklou Gaia. Here's my result:

foo_abx 2.0 report
foobar2000 v1.3.7
2015-10-06 13:17:47

File A: side 1 UDDRAG.wav
SHA1: 9ccf3ce0d2a31dbb34a2aed114702eb5288d34db
File B: Burzum - Det som DÅRLIG side 1 UDDRAG.wav
SHA1: 4d8c084287e6b3f31d1a5af67e5e9662c701142f

DS : Primær lyddriver
Crossfading: NO

13:17:47 : Test started.
13:18:34 : 01/01
13:18:51 : 02/02
13:19:07 : 03/03
13:19:35 : 04/04
13:19:45 : 05/05
13:19:57 : 06/06
13:20:09 : 07/07
13:20:16 : 08/08
13:20:26 : 09/09
13:20:37 : 10/10
13:20:55 : 11/11
13:21:05 : 12/12
13:21:14 : 13/13
13:21:37 : 14/14
13:21:50 : 15/15
13:22:29 : 16/16
13:23:09 : 17/17
13:23:50 : 18/18
13:24:03 : 19/19
13:24:14 : 20/20
13:24:14 : Test finished.

Total: 20/20
Probability that you were guessing: 0.0%

-- signature --

Then I did the same test with the Parasound Zphono vs. the Cambridge CP1. Here's my result:

foo_abx 2.0.2 report
foobar2000 v1.3.10
2016-07-03 09:39:16

File A: Fleetwood Mac Cambridge BØJET pickup - oprindelig justering.wav
SHA1: b0c9656b8820fe8ea94af52706316e627e6e2966
File B: Fleetwood Mac Parasound JUSTERET PICKUP.wav
SHA1: b79c8cdf744c1b6f6554af5d57559469f943195d

DS : Primær lyddriver
Crossfading: NO

09:39:16 : Test started.
09:43:21 : 01/01
09:43:51 : 02/02
09:44:33 : 03/03
09:45:09 : 04/04
09:45:56 : 05/05
09:46:35 : 06/06
09:47:14 : 07/07
09:47:51 : 08/08
09:48:17 : 09/09
09:49:44 : 10/10
09:50:21 : 11/11
09:50:40 : 12/12
09:51:13 : 13/13
09:51:54 : 14/14
09:52:29 : 15/15
09:52:40 : 16/16
09:52:40 : Test finished.

Total: 16/16
Probability that you were guessing: 0.0%

-- signature --

Here's another claim: Matching volume levels is crucial, because even a tiny volume level difference can produce an audible difference. So I tested a volume level difference of 0.2 dB. Here's my result:

foo_abx 2.0.2 report
foobar2000 v1.3.10
2017-03-07 18:50:58

File A: 05 The Big Time - 2 volumen sænket med 0.2 dB.wav
SHA1: 8aa8e1756409c06a2ae03ff7bdaa1549b47b0f02
File B: 05 The Big Time - 2.wav
SHA1: e0ab4d34d7a4eb3949002c8fbec3f0a70b5e73bd

DS : Primær lyddriver
Crossfading: NO

18:50:58 : Test started.
18:53:56 : 01/01
18:54:49 : 02/02
18:56:17 : 03/03
18:57:29 : 04/04
18:58:45 : 05/05
18:59:44 : 06/06
19:01:02 : 07/07
19:02:29 : 08/08
19:05:18 : 08/09
19:30:36 : 09/10
23:42:59 : 10/11
23:44:19 : 11/12
23:46:27 : 12/13
23:47:57 : 13/14
23:49:58 : 14/15
23:52:10 : 15/16
23:52:10 : Test finished.

Total: 15/16
Probability that you were guessing: 0.0%

-- signature --

Then I have another claim: With many cartridges different alignments can change the sound. So here's Baerwald vs. Stevenson:

foo_abx 2.0.2 report
foobar2000 v1.3.10
2017-07-08 22:33:41

File A: Stevie Ray Vaughn - In Step - Riviera Paradise.wav
SHA1: 7b4c524c12fa6a1fbf908c49c27293afafa15d8e
File B: Stevie Ray Vaughn - In Step JUSTERET PICKUP + Justeret modvægt til 1,75 gram.wav
SHA1: f44cdca1ebcb49422242355b6127477c72f5eec1

DS : Primær lyddriver
Crossfading: YES

22:33:41 : Test started.
22:36:08 : 01/01
22:36:18 : 02/02
22:36:27 : 03/03
22:36:41 : 04/04
22:36:52 : 05/05
22:37:18 : 06/06
22:37:35 : 07/07
22:38:21 : 08/08
22:39:02 : 09/09
22:39:21 : 10/10
22:39:36 : 11/11
22:39:50 : 12/12
22:40:08 : 13/13
22:40:23 : 13/14
22:40:41 : 14/15
22:40:53 : 15/16
22:40:53 : Test finished.

Total: 15/16
Probability that you were guessing: 0.0%

-- signature --

Here's another claim: With some cartridges changing VTA can change the sound. Here I changed the VTA by 8 mm on a Zyx cartridge:

foo_abx 2.0.2 report
foobar2000 v1.3.10
2018-04-21 14:42:37

File A: Marilyn Manson med NAD på lidt under halv lydstyrke og 36 på computerens volumenkontrol og 2,00 gram modvægt (tiende optagelse overhovedet) - PICKUP RETTET LIDT TIL (MERE LIGE) - uden måtte (VTA sænket med 3 mm) - klippet til.wav
SHA1: 6da003b141bc9e4fd23e9dcad2341ff900941772
File B: Marilyn Manson med NAD, 2,00 gram modvægt (tiende optagelse overhovedet) - PICKUP RETTET LIDT TIL (MERE LIGE) - med to ekstra plader under (VTA hævet ca. 5 mm) - klippet til.wav
SHA1: a31f3c6b2c272164b998ebff2725d8698ef7f90d

WASAPI (push) : Højttalere (ODAC-revB USB DAC), 16-bit
Crossfading: NO

14:42:37 : Test started.
14:43:20 : 01/01
14:44:12 : 02/02
14:44:41 : 03/03
14:45:12 : 04/04
14:45:36 : 05/05
14:45:50 : 06/06
14:46:03 : 07/07
14:46:20 : 08/08
14:46:35 : 09/09
14:46:51 : 10/10
14:47:08 : 11/11
14:47:26 : 12/12
14:47:39 : 13/13
14:48:07 : 14/14
14:48:37 : 14/15
14:49:23 : 15/16
14:49:23 : Test finished.

Total: 15/16
Probability that you were guessing: 0.0%

-- signature --

Then here's another example: I remastered a song. I first listened to A and B, and then for the test only listened to the first second of X and nothing else. Although you won't be able to see this from the log, you'll be able to see from the timings how quickly I chose one (usually 3 seconds, which includes listening, moving and pressing the mouse and starting the next test):

foo_abx 2.0 report
foobar2000 v1.3.7
2019-09-06 00:54:16

File A: 02 Happy Ending (i den her verden vil jeg ikke være trist) - EQ (kurve gemt som Jens Unmack 1).wav
SHA1: af735cbb96dfedf3cff4b4594fce0f3ba60399c2
File B: 02 Happy Ending (i den her verden vil jeg ikke være trist) - volumen justeret.wav
SHA1: 90cbbb4eb2ee222495d156864362773ef831ebf8

DS : Højttalere (CA USB Audio)
Crossfading: YES

00:54:16 : Test started.
00:55:18 : 01/01
00:55:22 : 02/02
00:55:25 : 03/03
00:55:28 : 04/04
00:55:31 : 05/05
00:55:34 : 06/06
00:55:37 : 07/07
00:55:40 : 08/08
00:55:44 : 09/09
00:55:47 : 10/10
00:55:50 : 11/11
00:55:53 : 12/12
00:55:56 : 13/13
00:55:59 : 14/14
00:56:03 : 15/15
00:56:11 : 16/16
00:56:11 : Test finished.

Total: 16/16
Probability that you were guessing: 0.0%

-- signature --

And lastly: Mark Waldrep did a hi-res test recently, which I took. With two songs I believed I could hear a difference between hi-res and 16/44.1, but apparently it was all in my mind, as my result was no better than flipping a coin:

foo_abx 2.0 report
foobar2000 v1.3.7
2018-08-21 21:27:30

File A: Tune_1_A.wav
SHA1: a172a18acd31bde18e70254654eb3d6a62a98869
File B: Tune_1_B.wav
SHA1: 23140e6544890298339f2a1de731f972a0285283

DS : Højttalere (CA USB Audio)
Crossfading: YES

21:27:30 : Test started.
21:38:15 : 00/01
21:39:02 : 00/02
21:40:15 : 00/03
21:41:35 : 01/04
21:45:51 : 02/05
21:47:17 : 02/06
21:48:20 : 03/07
21:49:10 : 03/08
22:00:04 : 03/09
22:01:08 : 04/10
22:02:23 : 04/11
22:04:27 : 05/12
22:06:39 : 06/13
22:07:30 : 06/14
22:08:32 : 06/15
22:09:46 : 07/16
22:09:46 : Test finished.

Total: 7/16
Probability that you were guessing: 77.3%

-- signature --

DaveyF's picture

Good grief, you took how much time to write that drivel, LMAO. (oh forgot, you are a 'good sport!)

Unfortunately, you belong here:

Perfect forum for a non-music loving chap like yourself.

Meanwhile, i'm getting back to the music.

Johnnyjajohnny's picture

As expected: You're unwilling to back up your claims, which is why I'm putting this to rest now.

DaveyF's picture

Back up my claims! When I hear a difference, I believe in my ears; you sir, unfortunately do not.
The drivel that you posted with all of your stats shows me that you are NOT a music lover at all...nor a musician. Too bad, as you are truly missing out on a world of enjoyment.
As an ex-pro musician, I would occasionally run into folks like yourself who are only interested in science and trying to tie that to music, never realizing that there is so very much more.

Johnnyjajohnny's picture

You're changing the subject and not responding to the original topic. Your claim was that if an analogue signal was digitized, the signal is audibly degraded. I say "back up your claim, and here's how you could do it convincingly because your current method is flawed", and you failed at that - spectacularly.
And then you think you can weasel out of it by changing the subject and throw insults, even down to how I spell, and then pretend to be triumphant.
Give me a break!

DaveyF's picture

You are claiming that a pure analog signal sounds exactly the same when it is digitized and that there is no audible degradation whatsoever. Is that your position?

Once again, you fail to understand my posts...particularly when it comes to what I put the most credence into. Unlike you, I have complete trust in my ears and my ability to discern what i hear. ( including tonal differences etc., perhaps this comes from professional musical training). Nonetheless, I will rely on my ears over any graph that you care to post. If you measure something that doesn't jive with what i hear, IMO you are measuring th wrong thing, plain and simple. I get that you don't want to accept that--nor do you want to entertain the possibility that you really don't like music. ( BTW, that is NOT an insult, just a case in fact). One of the better known audio designers, who has produced some of the better/best recognized and respected digital DAC's and other gear admits that he dislikes music entirely. Couldn't be more upfront about this...and gains my respect because of it. He enjoys the scientific aspect...and in his case, the pay check for bringing his products to market.
So, I have given you a break...and understand that you solely enjoy the science--without trusting your own ears.

Michael Fremer's picture
DaveyF's picture

Presumably you are disagreeing with the post from johnnyjajohnny?? Nonetheless, it would be interesting to see if this set is going to be released as a SACD. To me, that would make more sense to acquire than a digital pressing on vinyl. The SACD would likely be less $$.

markingr's picture

DaveyF and Johnny,
Forgive me for intruding on your very interesting and detailed discussion, but I wanted to add MHO. I by no means consider myself an advanced audiophile and do not possess the knowledge that both of you seem to own. However, from my admittedly layman's level perspective, I have a very hard time accepting any real benefits of a digital music source other than it's aspects of convenience.

When I saw my first CD playing in an appliance store in 1982, I was just amazed at both the portability and what I thought was an advantage in not dealing w/those annoying hisses, pops and skips that vinyl had but also an alleged improvement in overall sound quality. At first I bought into it and over time replaced my vast vinyl collection which I had been adding to since the early seventies. Then, as time wore on I began to notice that something just seemed to be missing, beyond the conveniences of things like no skips/pops and being able to listen to an entire album w/o the need to get off my butt to flip the record over.

So roughly ten years ago, I splurged(at least in my financial world it was a splurge) on a new audio playback system consisting of a: Rega P1 turntable w/an Ortofon cartridge, Rega Brio 3 amp, Rega R3 loudspeakers and lastly, a Rega Apollo-R CD player(which was the most expensive component in the list, I must add). Now I realize that this equipment is considered entry level audiophile yet it garnered high praise from many audiophile communities so I decided to go for it. I have not regretted that decision for a second as the performance of this system has far surpassed my expectations.

The point from this is that in the 10 years I have been playing music on this system, I can honestly say that 95% of the time when I compare the sound quality based on what MY EARS are telling me between the same title on vinyl vs. cd, the vinyl wins. I am talking about comparing old heavily used vinyl from the 70s to CDs cut in the 80s, remastered CDs from the 90s and even the latest remastered work from various sources. Now, granted, there are versions I have heard from masters like Steven Wilson that sound pretty darn good, but to me there is still just an "un-natural" aspect to the whole digital concept. After all, it is a sample, isn't it . . . even though distortion and wow and flutter and many other analog anomalies may cause headaches in that world.

Again, my admittedly layman's opinion may be lacking the empirical/statistical analysis of others, but those are just numbers on paper. As someone in this thread stated, it's all about what our ears perceive as the best in the end.

I do know that I have spent many a frustrating hour trying to figure out why certain artists have accepted how their work has been diminished because of faulty recording techniques. One example that comes to mind is the Rush catalog. Listen to their early 70s analog based recordings of "A Farewell to Kings" or "Hemispheres" and compare that to the later digital chaos of albums like "Power Windows", "Hold Your Fire" or "Vapor Trails". Perhaps it's the artist's choice of content structure that lended to that almost unlistenable "Wall of Sound" affect that is so ever present here and not the recording process itself, but I haven't heard of many engineers who have suggested they should go back and re-master an analog recording of a classic Steely Dan or Eagles recording because they screwed it up and it JUST doesn't sound right. Perhaps examples are out there and I have just never come across them.

I am a guitarist also and have many peers who are constantly telling me to try this new Fractal system or whatever . . . and after hearing them I always say "No thanks, I'll just stick to my Fender Pro Reverb, SLP Marshall, tube screamer and echoplex... BECAUSE IT JUST SOUNDS BETTER!!!" :) So you may want to put what I have said here in perspective because that's the angle I am coming from. :)

Thanks for reading!

DaveyF's picture

Markingr, I can well relate to your post. At the dawn of the CD we were told that the new format was a perfect sound forever, which unfortunately many folk believed. As such, myself and a lot of other ex-pro musicians and a’philes, were able to snap up a ton of great vinyl at more than reasonable prices. Seems like folks like Johnny here bought the Kool-aid....and still drink it. I would suspect that he will be selling his poor sounding vinyl any day now, lol.

Johnnyjajohnny's picture

Markingr, you have a preference for vinyl, and as I've stated repeatedly from the beginning that's perfectly fine, as long as it's stated as a preference.
The claim that we were arguing about was the claim that digitizing a signal audibly degrades it, and that claim hasn't been backed up.
As I explained earlier, comparing a commercially released CD with the same album on vinyl will almost always produce an audible difference, because no phono cartridge in history has had as flat a frequency response as that of almost all CD players/DACs (+/- 0.1 dB).
Although there can be many other causes (different masters, etc.), the most common cause of preference for vinyl is simply that the changed frequency response from the cartridge makes things sound different, which to many people sounds more pleasant - which it often does to me as well. But the difference is not caused by digitizing an analogue signal.

As for your example with Rush, I'm certainly not a fan of the hyper aggressive mastering and production that is so common nowadays, which is also why I have remastered so much music for my own enjoyment.

DaveyF's picture


Paul Boudreau's picture

Too right! A piece of pie is not a pie.

Michael Fremer's picture
The claim is absurd that digital done correctly is "transparent" to the source.
Johnnyjajohnny's picture

Fremer, I have a very simple question for you, so hopefully you can also give me a very siimple answer:
What, if anything, could make you change your mind about your claim that digital isn't audibly transparent to the source/that digital audibly degrades the sound (thereby also implying that analogue is a better technology)?

DaveyF's picture

johnnyjajohnny, One could ask you the exact same question that you posed to MF, but in reverse.. What would make you change your mind that analog is superior...and that digital is in fact not audibly transparent to the source. Since you imply that digital is a better