Minidisc Lossless Issue

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crazycol ®

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Post 04-Oct-2014 13:08

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Hi everyone.
It has been brought to my attention by someone over @ guitars 101 that my lineage is not lossless.
In fact it is lossy.
Minidisc uses ATRAC to compress signals.
I was under the impression that in its highest mode it was lossless.
I was wrong.
Lossless is 1411kps.
Minidisc is 292kps.
My worry is that i may be not be offering Lossless.
The way ATRAC works is that it filters out (removes) frequencies that cannot be heard by humans.
I cannot tell the difference between the Vinyl & Minidisc recording.
In the past there have been many blind listening test & both minidisc & DAT stood up very well.
I am going to try & find a way to record my Vinyl in true lossless form.
Until then should I carry on sharing?
I don't want to mislead people into thinking something is what it isn't.
Thanks for your time.
Have a nice day.
Colin
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sailnit

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Post 04-Oct-2014 15:53 (after 2 hours 44 minutes)

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Most places seem to be fine with calling out the minidisc in the title and in the lineage. I've been thinking about asking if a lossy section could be added here for things where MP3s have been released but not the source recordings. -S
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the Flea

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Post 04-Oct-2014 15:56 (after 3 minutes)

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The latest ATRAC codecs are lossless (AAL) as they act a lot like FLAC.
Query for all:
if a concert recording was made using a cheap MiniDisc and using out-of-the-box codecs then would the resulting file(s) be considered lossy ?
I would think not as they are at the maximum bitrate available for that particular recording ?
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crazycol ®

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Post 04-Oct-2014 17:15 (after 1 hour 19 minutes)

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Many thanks for your thoughts.
I don't know if I should carry on with what I am doing or not?
What do people think?
To me the files i've shared have been okay, I really can't tell the difference between the LP & minidisc.
Any guidance from the powers that be would be much appreciated.
Colin
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the Flea

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Post 04-Oct-2014 19:21 (after 2 hours 6 minutes)

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Personal opinion: carry on, but inform the downloader that the transfer process includes MiniDisc which has a sound ceiling.
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crazycol ®

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Post 04-Oct-2014 20:09 (after 47 minutes)

[Quote]

Hi Flea.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my issue & sailnit as well.
Yeah that would be a good way forward, 10/10 for suggesting it.
I will make a note in the lineage about the 1411 & 292 issue.
Personally I have used minidisc for many years with no problem.
Like I say to my ears they sound the same, my system is quite old now (like me!)
but is very good.
It has Systemdek IIX Turntable with Systemdek Arm & Linn K9 Cartridge feeding into a Audiolab 8000a with Epos ES11 speakers.
Also have Arcam alpha CD player & 2 Sony Minidisc Recorders.
The above system is very neutral sounding & has served me well.
I have recorded & mastered albums with it, plus the stuff on Smiths torrents,
and numerous mastering/remastering for other people/bands over the course of time.
Very technical people & those who use spectrum analysis will say that it can't be as good going via the Minidisc, to me it is & I can only trust my ears.
No one has yet said it sounds compressed or lacks high/low frequencies,
until today I was confident & rather proud of what I have achieved.
Now not so sure.
Will have a long hard think & then decide what to do.
Thanks again Flea for answering.
Have a nice day.
Colin
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fab eberhard

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Post 05-Oct-2014 13:31 (after 17 hours)

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i too have used minidisc for years and have loved it for most of the work that i do... i have found though that it hasn't been THE format for all of my needs - but again that is based on my own work. it's interesting to me that there is a wealth of digital recorders available anymore all with essentially similar specs and the ability to capture in a manner that previously was not available - yet most of what i have heard doesn't impress me. a particular period of collecting items from dime alerted me to so many recordings sounding the same. didn't matter the who's or what's they all shared such similar characteristics that i was really turned off. i have always considered my minidisc a kind of a digital cassette if you will. a digital sketchbook. it presents flaws, potential highs and lows just like the cassettes of old. something that once you learned how to use well was capable of producing some fine recordings. that doesn't answer is it lossy or not - though i have always leaned more towards considering it so. that's just me. colin - i don't think you should feel any less proud or throw away your confidence - remember we all "trust" our own ears and we all have trust issues. many people here have worked tirelessly to produce these gems for us and the reality is that many of them sound less than ideal. the arguments that might ensue regarding source, transfer methods and what is and what isn't lossy measurable or not could go on for years. think of it as your contribution to mega center of recordings of band so dear to so many. disclosure of your methodology will always be the foundation for which people can determine what they have in front of them. you suggest a possible lossy section - i would say let's have a remaster section where these arguments might be relaxed a bit. of course i would always defer to david as the keeper of integrity but don't despair many of your efforts are finding welcome ears i'm sure... cheers
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crazycol ®

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Post 05-Oct-2014 17:19 (after 3 hours)

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Hi Fab.
Many thanks for taking the time to write.
I enjoyed what you wrote.
We will have to see what David says.
I will continue sharing but state the "lossy" lineage.
Purists will always want it 100%.
To me it's the music that matters if it sounds good, its good,
regardless of lineage/origin.
Thanks again for message.
Coin
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DavidA

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Post 05-Oct-2014 17:48 (after 29 minutes)

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I'm fine with Minidisc provided it sounds good and it's clear in the lineage notes.
My decision to make this site lossless was just because lower gen MP3s were commonly traded when lossless versions of the same shows existed. After all, there was no MP3 in 1986.
Since then I've allowed a few lossy through, including the BBC DSAT recordings. In fact, I suspect quite a few of the FLACs went through MP3 at some stage and should really clean those out at some point.
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fab eberhard

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Post 05-Oct-2014 23:02 (after 5 hours)

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i must say that a number of the lossy recordings admittedly offered here - i believe even david has thrown a few on the table - are a far cry above the average dribble found in most corners of the earth. i think i recall a digital broadcast of kilburn? that sounded pretty tasty. regardless of our opinions and tastes we do all agree at the end of the day that without peoples efforts we wouldn't have anything to listen to. i mean on another side of the spectrum we also have to admit that some seriously crazy cassette recordings are present here that have the worst phasing and signal to noise all kinds of machine glitches and audience members screaming at the wrong time. but it's lossless!!! lol... it's more important to me to have it as i document of an event. i love that we strive to present them to each other in the most stable quality possible and would prefer that we maintain that standard. but... i will always support the idea of reaching for other levels of quality esp. since this year really turned out to be a bust for new material. i love that mozz but at times he is a wicked c**t... cheers all...
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crazycol ®

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Post 06-Oct-2014 09:15 (after 10 hours)

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Hi.
Thanks for the guidance David.
I will make it crystal clear in future posts.
There maybe a way to do it in a lossless form have to wait & see.
In the meantime what we have is what we have!
Best wishes,
Colin
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bisonrav

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Post 08-Aug-2015 09:27 (after 10 months 2 days)

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Was just browsing the board and found this. Interesting subject and much misunderstood.
Lossy versus lossless is a generally pointless discussion. What is important is fidelity to source.
If the source recording was ATRAC minidisc, then WAV or FLAC digital copies of that via SPDIF or TOSLINK will be identical. An analogue transfer, or MP3 or AAC copies of the WAV would lose information avoidably and so should be shunned by archivists, though the digital formats are convenient for listeners.
Bitrate isn't all that relevant for lossless, because they are lossless. The important parameters are sample rate (ideally the higher the better), and word width (same). Having said that, for all practical purposes, a 44100@16 wav or flac will be a perfect representation of a analogue cassette or FM source (FM has a limited frequency response cutting off at a similar place to 128k MP3). More than that and you're recording the noise introduced by the cassette player and preamp, interesting but nothing to do with the tape.
An archival copy of a vinyl album could usefully be done at 192K@32, but unless you have canine DNA you don't need better than 44100@16 red book CD resolution. The 96K@24 hi res audio services are snake oil. When I have an album I want to archive - for example a BBC In Concert transcription disk, I pay a guy to transfer it on perfect kit at 192K@32 and then downsample from there using SOX for everything I need.
There are some peculiarities because of snobbery. For an analogue purist a master->cassette->cassette->wav would be better than a master->minidisc ATRAC->wav because of the digital "lossy" stage. But the second chain would be the better one in terms of fidelity, because cassettes and any analogue technology is far more "lossy" than digital encoding. Actually cassette->MP3 would generally be better (better fidelity to source) than the cassette double bounce.
The interesting one for me comes from 6music which rebroadcasts sessions. You have the choice of old tapes, say FM->cassette->WAV, against two sources of new broadcasts, iplayer (AAC@48K at bit rate of 128k) or satellite (MP2@48K at 160k). Counterintuitively, the AAC 128K is far better than the higher bit rate MP2, because the encoding is better at preserving the original wave form (roughly equivalent to MP2 @192K). And it's better than the FM->cassette because of FM interference and cassette noise. So all other things being equal, the 128k lossy source is better than the "lossless" original or the higher bit rate. The slight complication is that 6music compresses the living bejesus out of the recording before transmission so the FM would probably have better dynamic range. You pays your money, etc... (incidentally 6music also broadcasts live at a nominal 320k AAC but the underlying stream seems to be at 128k, it uses what are called "stacked codecs" - this means the music is first encoded at 128K then that is reencoded at 320K, and so the 128k is actually less lossy). Takeaway from this paragraph is that bit rate is a poor guide. You need to know a bit about the technologies.
The point here is when doing anything with audio archiving, the guiding principle is "do no harm". Do the best you can to do the best possible raw transfer and keep it/make it available even if you work on improving the sound for listening copies. Always keep the original cassettes or minidiscs or VHS (if you don't want them, someone will preserve them). If you have lossy sources, try to use things like MP3 Direct Cut to edit them, rather than audacity and a re-encode.
And the second principle is "get it out there". State as far as possible the lineage so people can make a choice, but it's better to have recordings than not, whatever someone from Guitars101 says. If someone in 2002 made a minidisc ATRAC of a rare tape and chucked the tape, then that's unfortunate, but let's have the minidisc please ;)
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fab eberhard

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Post 08-Aug-2015 15:27 (after 5 hours)

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well said...
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DavidA

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Post 19-Aug-2015 13:32 (after 10 days)

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Nice post. Thank you. When I started the site I was tired of MP3 encoded cassette bootlegs. I don't think MPEG compression does a great job on live music due to it's noisy nature.
Since starting the site there has been some great examples of high quality lossy recordings, such as the DSAT or 6music recordings. I'm more than happy to see those here, although upgrades are always welcome!
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