What is the best audio medium?

hey guys it's Craig here welcome back to

vinyl TV I was thinking a few days ago

about what the next video would be about

and I start thinking what would be the

best audio format ever what will be the

best audio storage format ever does it

exist yet is it something we already

have so I started thinking about this

and you know with all the you know the

arguments about digital versus analog

and all that kind of stuff I started

thinking about what formats have we had

that were the best and what formats

could we have that could be better so

let's go back a little bit and take a

look at some of the things that we did

deal with back in the day so first of

all we've got tape

we've got cassettes 8-track and

reel-to-reel are the three most popular

consumer tape formats that that we had

available to us now let's just talk

about these for a minute because you

know cassettes get a lot of bad rap and

I saw somebody posted a comment

underneath one of my videos recently

something about you know if you think

cassettes sound good you're deaf I

disagree I had a very expensive cassette

deck years ago and I was able to make

really good recordings it had three


it had adjustable bias control it had

all the different noise reductions on

them which by the way aren't without

their problems but it was an improvement

and of course the tape formulations as

well you know chromium dioxide metal and

you know those helped a lot as well in

improving the sound quality cassettes

are really were invented for voice

dictation but advances in technology

allowed them to be used for music and

they can sound very good

now cassettes run at a very slow speed

one in 7/8 inches per second which is

the slowest tape speed out

all the tape formats made for music and

the tape is very very narrow it's only

1/8 of an inch wide so they have to cram

four tracks of audio to four side a and

to four side B onto this little thin

tape you know and so you didn't you

wouldn't think it would sound good but

they did with all the advances in noise

reduction and tape formulations and

biasing they could actually be made to

sound really good and I used to make

copies of some of my CDs so I could make

like mix tapes you know and I a bead

them and no that's fine cuz that sounded

pretty good I was able to make very good

sounding cassettes not sure what some of

you have problems with it but I didn't

so 8-track 8-track tapes had potential I

know they generally sound horrible very

few people had an actual decent 8-track

player or recorder and they never really

went that far the format kind of lost

its integrity eight tracks run at twice

the speed as cassettes do and the tape

is twice as wide so it's a quarter-inch

wide instead of an eighth inch wide but

eight tracks generally did not enjoy the

tape formulations like chromium dioxide

and metal so they were stuck with the

old ferric oxide and that's why they

really didn't sound that great not only

that but most of the eight tracks that

people listened to were pre-recorded

which means they were massed duplicated

in high-speed facilities and they

generally you know we weren't duplicated

under ideal conditions just like

cassettes weren't when you bought a

cassette of an album it it was really

usually not very good sounding but

because eight tracks run at twice the


had they been given a chance to enjoy

some of these other tape formulations

they could have sounded pretty good now

in radio stations they used to use what

are called carts and cart machines and a

cart is just like a it's just it's like

an eight-track tape really it's got the

same car

it's not compatible with 8tracks but

it's the same idea it's a continuous

loop of tape that spools out of the

center of the reel of tape and around

past the heads and unwinds around back

on the outside just like an 8-track does

but these tapes sounded good good enough

that radio stations were you know using

them for music and commercials and I

used to have a friend whose job was to

transfer all the 45s that came in from

the record companies onto cart tapes and

so that the DJ's could rack them up

behind them and then he could just pull

them and easily queue them up a little

easier than using vinyl of course he

still did use vinyl but they used cart

machines as well I also used them for

commercials and if you go on YouTube and

you look up you know cart machine tape

cart machine you can listen to some of

these things they sound they sound good

you know

I mean oh certainly a lot better than

8-track did so you know the format

potential was there with 8-track but it

just never got pushed off the ground any

further than then it did now that leaves

us with reel-to-reel and as these are

all you know obviously tape formats

reel-to-reel depending on the speed that

you were running it at they could also

sound very very good this is all analog

stuff so you know it's not digital so

all you analog fans out there this you

know this stuff is for you and

especially reel-to-reel machines they

don't get the same bad rap that

cassettes and 8tracks do generally

reel-to-reel machines are regarded as

high quality tape recorders and you know

they can run it three and a quarter

inches per second three three and

three-quarter inches per second seven

and a half inches per second and even 15

inches per second for some of the very

high-end ones and in recording studios

they could run it 30 inches per second

so you know and depending on the speed

you could you could make a pretty damn

good sounding recording at three and

three-quarter inches per second and

certainly a really good sounding

recording at seven and a half inches

per second I don't remember whether

reel-to-reel machines used chromium tape

or not maybe some of the higher end ones

did and I don't remember whether a lot

of them had Dolby I think some of them

had Dolby maybe dbx but um you know with

that technology these machines could

sound good and don't forget most of the

vintage vinyl records you're listening

to today are made from these

reel-to-reel tapes we're speaking about

so you can't knock them and a lot of the

older ones like the seventies you know

seventies albums you have they were just

you know seven and a half inches per

second reel-to-reel quarter-inch tape

just you know normal stuff that we can

still get today it's if you're lucky the

problem with you know reel to reels of

course is that the record companies

didn't distribute albums on those and

they were a little more cumbersome to

use you know you had to put the reels on

the machine and thread the tape and

everything but is that really any more

difficult than cleaning and putting on a

record right so the format it's too bad

it didn't take off because now we're

talking about you know reel-to-reel

versus vinyl because reel to reels can

sound very good and so can vinyl so what

are the you know what are the

differences okay well vinyl and I you

know this is a vinyl channel so I'm you

know I'm not going to disrespect the

format but let's face it vinyl is not


it's not without its problems and if

things aren't set up just right it can

sound bad so and it's you know you

you're never gonna get rid of the pops

and the clicks no matter how you clean

it what kind of a machine you've got to

clean your records you're always gonna

have no surface noise on your records

and so you know and it they're so

fragile and you know get one scratch or

one piece of dirt on it there you go

you've got a

click or a pop and it's just really as

much as we love our records I'm thinking

you know some alien somewhere is looking

down and going look how they're playing

their music you know what I mean so you

know it's it's just it's it's not

perfect but it is what it is and it

became the popular format back then and

of course now it's coming back but would

it wouldn't it have sounded better

wouldn't if music sounded better unreal

- real imagine real - real becoming the

popular format back then so you would

buy you know a reel-to-reel machine

obviously and then you would buy your

records on tape and you know this would

be a hell of a lot easier for the record

companies to produce because to make

records they've got to jump through

hoops I mean you've got a you've got a

carve you know you've got a you've got

to cut the the lacquer of the the

original lacquer and then you've got to

make stampers out of that and then

you've got to stamp the records out then

you've got to make new stampers after

well because the old ones wear out I

mean it's just a it's quite a procedure

you know whereas you know running off

copies of reel-to-reel that would be

easy just duplicate duplicate the

originals and you know you could do that

pretty easily and they did it with

cassettes and 8tracks would they sound

as good as vinyl yeah in fact they would

lack this the crackles and pops at vinyl

has they're still going to be noise

tapes tape has noise but at seven and a

half inches per second with a little

help from some technology and some tape

formulations like chromium dioxide I

think that reel-to-reel would have been

and still could be the best analog

format out there it's just that's not

the path that we took records were just

the way things went and they were easier


you collect and store and put on then

reel to reels were but if we're really

worried about sound quality first and

foremost out of the two I would choose

reel to reel you know you've got your

people out there spending as far as I'm

concerned way too much money on

turntables and just to try and get the

most out of these records but in in you

know when you really come down to it

we're playing records they can only

sound so good you know there are records

I mean they've got problems you know

whereas tapes which studios recording

studios used for years and years and

years to make records with they

obviously had to sound good because

that's what we were using to make the

records and if it all it would have

taken is just a little extra effort on

the consumers part to take the tape out

of the box stick it on the machine

thread the tape around the heads wind it

on the other reel and away you go okay

now it doesn't have the same random

access capabilities that a record does

you know you've got to play the tape

sequentially through you can't jump from

song to song you'd have to fast forward

or rewind or whatever which is true but

most of us when we listen to an album we

don't skip the songs we listened to the

entire album so that wasn't really

wouldn't have really been been a problem

I hope I haven't offended anybody

because this is a vinyl channel but if

tapes if reel to reels became the

popular format and it was coming back


this channel will be called reel to reel

TV okay now let's talk about digital

because there's a whole different area

here you either love it or you hate it

when CDs came out I was very happy I was

tired of vinyl I was tired of replacing

needles I was tired of figuring out how

to line up my cartridge with no internet

and never any proper instructions how to

do so my records never sounded that


and I used to record them on cassettes

anyway so there you go and they sounded

to me they sounded just as good on

cassette as they did it originally on

the records because again I could I

could make good cassette recordings I

just knew how to do it and I had good

good cassette decks CDs they're capable

of producing all the frequencies that we

can hear us as humans okay a sine wave

from 20 Hertz to 20,000 Hertz is a

pretty good frequency response and you

know as soon as you're born you start

losing your hearing so you know when I

was a teenager I could hear up to 20,000

Hertz but now I can't I just no way by

the time you're 30 you've lost quite a

bit of your hearing and by the time

you're my age you know you're down to

about 14,000 Hertz so CDs have plenty of

frequency response for most people and

all this stuff about digital adding

scratchiness or harshness to the music

that's just because people are used to

the sound of records vinyl has its own

sound it doesn't necessarily mean it's

better or worse than CDs it's just

different and you know you have to

remember you know they're taking the

master tapes from the recording studio

and they're bringing them into a

mastering facility for a vinyl cutting

facility and they're transferring these

recordings onto a plastic disc they're

itching the sound onto a disc and then

they're taking that disc and they're

spraying it with you know metals to make

stampers so that they can then take

polyvinyl carbonate and press out

records there's gotta be some sound

degradation in that process absolutely

and that's part of where records get

their sound from they do sound very good

I love my record collection I love

listening to vinyl I think it's


as a matter of fact I'm surprised it

works at all and I watched my records

play and I marvel at the

it's like how can you know this work

like this but it does and it's Fanta

it's fantastic and it's interesting it's

it's romantic and it's just like this

should not work but it does it's really

cool and you know there's the whole

handling of the records and taking them

out and putting them on and there's the

artwork and all this stuff everyone's

already talked about you know that's

that's all part of the whole experience

of listening to vinyl but in so CD's you

know they they kind of have that you

know you still own the CD and you take

it out and you put it in and you press

the door shut and it disappears into the

CD player and then you don't see it

again until it comes out at the end but

you still have some of the artwork and

still have the the lyrics and all that

stuff so it's still pretty good

and I thought CDs sounded good and I

still do

they are very accurate and a lot of the

records that you guys listening to from

say the 80s were recorded in the exact

same format but CDs are recorded in for

example my favorite band rush rush

moving pitchers awesome record I have

the reissue here and it sounds fantastic

that record was recorded at 44.1

kilohertz 16-bit so if you thought rush

moving pictures sounds good

you're basically listening to a CD so

you know we need to stop knocking these

things a lot of Records were recorded in

that format they didn't have the hard

drive space or the computer power to use

24-bit and or you know 48 kilohertz or

96 or whatever all those ridiculously

unnecessary high numbers are they just

had that that's 44.1 16-bit so a lot of

people are saying well CDs sound harsh

well guess what you know a quarter of

your record collection from the 80s was

basically CD quality pressed onto vinyl

okay so fine

maybe recording an CD quality music on

the vinyl fixed CD problems the problems

of 16-bit 44.1 remember 16-bit 24-bit

all that is doing is giving you less

noise it's not improving or lowering or

hiring the audio quality or the

frequency response

it's just lowering the noise floor so

you know 16-bit has a noise floor about

90 DB meant night - 90 DB 24-bit has a

noise floor of like minus 100 and I

don't know 130 or some 140 I can't

remember the exact number because sets

have a noise floor about minus 60 dB

records have a noise floor of about -

probably wrote the same as cassettes a

cassette tape has a equivalent bit depth

of about 8 bits maybe 12 and a record

has an equivalent bit depth of about the

same because the noise floor on these

things is not very low it's you can hear

the noise but if digital is really your

enemy ok well why don't we since we've

got so much harddrive space these days

why don't we increase these numbers to

ridiculously high amounts so that

there's absolutely no way to tell the

difference between digital and analog analog has its own inherent

sounds because well basically analog has

problems and that means that those

problems become the sound of analog you

know whether it be tape

whether it be vinyl whatever other

analog formats there might be out there

so you know that's why analog sounds the

way it does is because it's doing

something to the sound digitizing music

at appropriate levels appropriate bit

rates and bit depths doesn't do anything

to the music if let's say you you took

okay let's say fine 16-bit forget it


get it 32-bit forget it let's sample our

music let's digitize our music at 64


okay so 64 bits gives you billions and

billions and billions of different

levels of loudness so it's almost

infinite and then for a for a sampling

rate let's use well we won't use 44.1 we

won't use 96 we won't use 192 let's use

a million samples per second or whatever

multiple of 16 we could get close to a

million samples per second how about

that how about we sample these things at

such ridiculously high levels that

there's absolutely no possible way that

anybody on the face of this planet or

anywhere else for that matter would be

able to hear the difference and would

not be able to tell that something has

been recorded digitally you also have to

keep in mind that we could really go so

high with this that you would reach the

point where it would be physically and

scientifically impossible to sample any

higher because time itself has a

quantized has a it is quantized time

when you really magnify and break it

down so far you can only go so far down

before you get to what's called Planck

and that's where time ticks along at a

specific samples just like digital does

so in essence time is digital and if you

don't believe me you can look this up so

if you could sample music digitally at

that Planck level so that there's you

could just couldn't do it any faster

you wouldn't be able to tell the


that digital format would be the best

format ever better than vinyl better

than CDs better than magnetic tape so

now there's one problem solved

we've got a format that is absolutely

transparent it's never going to affect

the sound quality whatsoever but we're

missing the tactile experience of taking

it out of the package and putting it on

yes why a lot of us got back in the

records in the first place you know we

got rid of them because we were sick of

all the clicks and pops and and

scratches but we got back into it

because we missed the you know the

experience of it and let's not even talk

about mp3s

mp3s are fine you know at a good bitrate

of 320 kilobits per second they sound

fine I listen to them all the time they

sound fine you know to me and to a lot

of people so you know I mean it's it's a

it is what it is it's a portable a

portable format and and that's that well

I didn't want to talk about that because

that's just you know whatever it is

that's going to improve over time the

compression technologies but you know if

you could get a record you know with the

I don't have one with me with the with

the cover and you know they are album

art and sleeve and pull out the record

and you know have it in your hands and

then put it on a turntable or on a

device and then put that thing down on

at the read head or a needle or whatever

it is

and listen to music that's been sampled

it's such a high bitrate and such a high

bit depth that there's no way to tell

the difference between that and the

original recording I think you'd have

the perfect format there you have it and

with that I will leave you to think

about this let that burn in your brains

for a little while love to hear what you

think down below in the comments please

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notified when I post new videos thanks

for watching guys this has just been fun

you know I'm just I'm just talking I'm

just thinking out loud it's all just fun

just to

ponder all this stuff and I really would

like to think to thank you for watching

and to comment below what you think

thanks for watching be safe spin those

records and vinyl is final Cheers