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Next message Chris posted on Sunday, 23 October, 2005 - 10:05 pm
Check out eBay item number 4784144627. The seller advertises it as the first sky album and his description goes on to suggest that it's on LP. The cat number is ARLH5022 - offhand, I'm not sure if this is the original cat number. What's curious is that on the front cover, the 'cast list' has been divided up over two lines (i.e. Tristan and Francis are credited below the other three) and there is the legend "Digitally Remastered" printed towards the bottom of the cover. Never seen this cover before, although I suppose it could have been from the early 1980s, before the advent of the CD. Anyone know its origins...?
Next message Tricky posted on Sunday, 23 October, 2005 - 10:46 pm
I think the pic's a composite stock photo. Digitally remastered vinyl ? - now that would be something.....
Next message Bill D posted on Monday, 24 October, 2005 - 09:01 am
It looks like the cover from the first CD issue of 'Sky'.
Next message Chris posted on Monday, 24 October, 2005 - 02:45 pm
A shame, then, that the guy selling it couldn't have used a photo of the 'actual' LP cover! He must have got the pic from somewhere, so the mind boggles! By the way, am I right in saying that the first sky album was one of the first records made using digital recording equipment? If so, does this mean that the digital masters were transfered to analogue for the actual pressing? If so, maybe it's only now (on CD) that we are hearing it as it was originally meant to be heard?

I could be wrong about all of that, by the way...
Next message Tricky posted on Monday, 24 October, 2005 - 07:02 pm
A bit more about ebay's stock photo's and descriptions. I went after a cd a couple of weeks ago, and wrote a "thank you" email to the seller. It's a good job I did.... Here's the relevant part of the reply and why the descriptions we see are sometimes hopelessly wrong.

"When selling CDs e-bay allows you to pull up stock info to accurately describe the item. There was no picture so I added my own digital image. Since then I realised that the description does not quite match what I am actually selling....."

And the moral of this story is:- Just because it's in writing doesn't mean it'd true. (Even the sellers reply)
Next message Bill D posted on Monday, 24 October, 2005 - 11:30 pm
The album (LP) cover may not have been pristine.

'Sky' was recorded analogue, according to Peter Lyster-Todd, their manager, when I wrote to him, asking (if I recall) about the mastering or mixing for the original 'Sky' CD. He replied that all CDs have to go through a digital mastering.

Well...yes but that's not the point. A lot of early CDs were mastered from the LP master tapes. Those are given RIAA equalisation, which emphasises bass. Phono amps correct that on playback to minimise rumble. Problem is that this means emphasising the high end on the master tapes, so you get a lot of hiss.

I think 'Sky2' was recorded digitally. The insert for 'Classic Sky' says AAD but on the CD it says ADD! However, a lot of earlier CDs were incorrectly labelled.

I came across one web site that claimed that ADD meant that recorded and mixed analogue, digitally mastered then transferred to CD. ADD *should* mean digitally mixed!

While you get AAD, ADD and (ideally) DDD, I know of two albums (one by Big Country and one by Linda Ronstadt) that are DAD: recorded digitally, mixed analogue and digitally mastered!
Next message Tim posted on Tuesday, 25 October, 2005 - 01:07 am
Of course in the old days recordings were all 'digital' because the engineers actually used their fingers to twiddle the knobs and push the sliders!

Those AAD and ADD descriptions aren't always very helpful (is that why they were dropped) as many really ought to be AADD - Analogue recorded, Analogue mixed to the original master, that master tape re-twiddled to make a Digital master, then Digitally transferred onto CD. Mix analogue and digital source tapes, do another re-mastering and you've got ADADAD - which I think is a Genesis album.

The problem of how many Ds to put in is compounded as new recordings will be 24-bit, 32-bit (or more?) and need reducing to 16 bit for the CD. DG called some classical CDs '4D', presumably hoping they'd stand the test of time...

JW's 'Baroque Album' just says AD - he rejected digital recording at the time, so was AD meant to suggest a new era in which we were saved from harsh, metallic early digital recordings? (Probably not).

When someone asks you "how many Ds in Digital?" it's a trick... don't even go there.
Next message Chris posted on Wednesday, 26 October, 2005 - 03:05 pm
Thanks for the info. Maybe I was thinking of sky2 when I said sky. Oh well, not to worry. I still think that the vinyl versions of both albums do actually sound better than the CDs - but that's another story. Or maybe it just seems that way to me 'cos I'm hopelessly nostalgic?!!!
Next message Tricky posted on Wednesday, 26 October, 2005 - 05:54 pm
My electronics background won't let me resist pointing out the obvious.

All musical instruments - with the exception of synthesisers - initially produce a purely analogue (sine wave) output. The digital bit only comes in for the storage/editing process, typically as a (near) square wave on CD/DVD (or as a sawtooth waveform on PC "digital" backup tapes). This is because of the very way CD/DVD storage was designed, i.e. using a laser to create and/or detect 'pits' - hence (re)generating a square wave.

This must be reconverted via the synthesiser built into PC sound cards and standalone CD/DVD players, and eventually via a loudspeaker, to a sine wave analogue output. (Our ears aren't digital)

How many Ds in digital ? - I don't know, but (if you're pedantic) any description should have As at the start and the end! (Iíll shut-up now...)
Next message Bill D posted on Wednesday, 26 October, 2005 - 10:15 pm
Well, actually, our ears (or at least the auditory nerves) are digital since our nerves fire in pulses.

But that physiology and I'm a molecular biologist so I won't get too far into it... :-)

Digital recording may be square wave but the frequency of the steps (44.1 kHz, I think) is more than twice as high as the upper limit of young human hearing (20 kHz). I'm 52 and my limit is down to about 10 kHz! So, you won't hear the steps.
Next message Tim posted on Wednesday, 26 October, 2005 - 10:39 pm
Bill - my thoughts exactly - sodium and potassium ions, all-or-none principle, chemo-tramsmitters and all that... and high frequency loss occurs more with age.

As a closet sociologist (don't ask) it sounded better then because it was better. Back in 1982 your mum listened to Andy Williams, your dad to Val Doonican, your intellectual cousin Justin to Schoenberg, your kid sister to Shakin' Stevens and your mates to UB40.... and you'd just found 'The Height Below' filed under progresive rock (honest!).
Next message Tim posted on Wednesday, 26 October, 2005 - 11:15 pm
An imaginary friend joins the discussion:-
"Speaking as a hi-fi dealer the problem a lot of people have is they listened to their LPs on carefully matched components, and took the advice of their dealer about amplifier power and the size of speaker enclosure relative to their room-size. Nowadays they think they should get the same sound quality from a 90 quid mini-system in D****s. Of course it doesn't sound so good."

Actually Bill has a serious point about age-related hearing loss. What doesn't sound so good - JWs top of the neck guitar solos or Herbie Flowers novelty bass? Probably the former. You get more high frequency hearing loss with age.

The point of my previous post was that back in 1982 you'd not heard so much music you actually liked. Now you have.
Next message Chris posted on Thursday, 27 October, 2005 - 11:08 am
...And, since 1982, I've heard a lot more music I DON'T like!!!

I think I've followed some of what has been said in the above few postings. And it has been quite enlightening. I have a couple of friends who are reasonably serious hi-fi buffs and they still swear by vinyl. I, of course, never swear. Although I have been known to blaspheme from time to time. But never on a Sunday...
Next message Bill D posted on Thursday, 27 October, 2005 - 03:24 pm
There have been supposedly blind trials comparing vinyl with CDs. Always rubbish because you'll always hear the vinyl 'roar' and the vinyl enthusiasts will know what to pick.

In one test, the vinyl enthusiasts found it easy to tell which was vinyl and voted for its nice analogue sound. Except they had been fooled. In the test, both the CD and the LP had been mastered from a original digital master.

On a high-end system, the audiophile pressing LP might sound better, at first. Play it a dozen times and tell me it is still better!

Many of those enthusiasts (and some musicians) who didn't like 'digital' in the early days were just taken aback because they were hearing the raw sound. Try listening to the real, harsh sound of a live brass section and then tell me your LP sounds realistic.

Someone might come back and say "It doesn't have to sound real, just good", having spent thousands on a high-end hi-fi system with accurate reproduction!

And don't bother telling me that the instruments and your ears are analogue. What matters is a clean signal path in between and analogue deteriorates at every step. Digital can too, if you're not careful but it can give perfect transmission.
Next message Tricky posted on Thursday, 27 October, 2005 - 08:23 pm
Straight analogue from vinyl to ear can't ever be as good as digital for various reasons. The most obvious is the (natural) random noise generated in crystal or magnetic cartridges. There's also wear + tear, dirt in the grooves and even electrostatic interference.

I won't get too technical BUT, digital recordings store music as 'chunks' of information, typically 44000 chunks (or samples) per second, which instruct the sound card to produce tones at a speed which is (as Bill points out) at least twice as fast as even the best of us can detect with their ears. The higher the accompanying bit rate - typically 128 kilobits/sec - the greater the number of tones the sound card can produce per 'chunk'. And because the 'chunks' act as switches, there's no break in the output waveform.

With really good ears (younger than mine) you can detect the difference between music reproduced from 128 and 192 Kbps recordings - and these data rates can go to 48Khz sample rate at 320 Kbps bit rate!

It's little wonder that digital reproduction sounds better than analogue.

At the other extreme you can make recordings at 8 KHz sample rate and 11025 Hz bit rate, which sounds worse than a dog barking at 2 o'clock in the morning :-)

The vinyl enthusiasts can say what they like, but digital recordings have evolved from vinyl, and all but replaced it, for a reason. Thereís also the little matter of digital compatibility with hard disk drives. The early digital sound cards which didnít reproduce music realistically (and put many musicians off digital) are now in landfills. Iíll bet that the vinyl purists have CD players in their cars Ė not record players :-) I know which I prefer. Besides, does anyone make a walkman that plays LPs? :-)
Next message Chris posted on Thursday, 27 October, 2005 - 08:49 pm
...not yet, but I'm working on it...

Next message Tim posted on Thursday, 27 October, 2005 - 09:39 pm
Most people only hear live music thru a PA system? All those mikes, transducers, cables, mixing desks and other bits I can't name, are they analogue or digital?

I did spot Tricky's pun on 'digital bit' a few posts back (it couldn't be an 'analogue bit', could it!) but I'm totally ignorant on this.
Next message Bill D posted on Thursday, 27 October, 2005 - 10:40 pm
The mikes and cables are usually analogue although I believe there are digital mikes, i.e., with A/D convertors built in. Similarly, there were some digital speakers (i.e., they accepted a digital signal and turned it into analogue sound).

Some 'digital' mixing desks do have analogue stages in the path. However, although not ideal, this is tolerable since the main problem with analogue is the noise in recording and transduction media. Modern circuitry should have low distortion and noise (and any circuitry will have absolutely no wow and flutter).
Next message Steve Gray posted on Friday, 28 October, 2005 - 10:54 am
I saw an LP Walkman when Sky played Tokyo in 1983 in Sony's hi-tech shop (where I also saw the first DX7). Strangely, LP Walkpersons didn't catch on.
Next message Chris posted on Friday, 28 October, 2005 - 07:29 pm
...Can't imagine why not. OK, I'll consign my prototype to the bin, along with my plans for a solar-powered torch, paper swimming trunks and inflatable submarine.

Back to the drawing board...
Next message Bill D posted on Friday, 28 October, 2005 - 09:18 pm
What about the phoneless cord and non-stick cling-film?

Amazingly, you CAN buy dehydrated water.
Next message Tricky posted on Friday, 28 October, 2005 - 09:54 pm
(And possibly solid Hydrogen soon). I knew recored players were still being manufactured for the niche market. What has surprised me is that players are being produced where the needle cartridge has been replaced by a laser! This has probably got a A/D converter in the head. Hang on... if you change the media slightly, don't you end up with a music laserdisc ? :-)
(Source:- Wikipedia)
Next message Tim posted on Saturday, 29 October, 2005 - 10:40 am
Dehydrated presumably means with the hydrogen taken out, so do I need to go to the O2 shop for this dehydrated water?

Solid Hydrogen? Difficult, tho' you can get solid air on e-Bay at present (spot the thread). There really ought to be a discussion board about that somewhere (possibly called London Conversation).
Next message Chris posted on Saturday, 29 October, 2005 - 10:57 am
But the question is; can you get 'Curved Air' on eBay? Sorry!!!! Couldn't resist that one...

I shall stand in the corner with a silly conical hat on for the next 48 hours...

P.S. Actually, you can...
Next message Tricky posted on Saturday, 05 November, 2005 - 08:00 pm
One more point on digital playback... The info read from CDs and DVDs is stored in a buffer before translation and synchronised by a clock pulse running at Mhz frequencies (known as read-ahead optimisation). The problems of motor speed variation and inertia of the moving parts is eliminated. Compare that to the way vinyl works. Wow and flutter ? - no way. (I know - technically, that's more than 1 point :-))
Next message Bill D posted on Monday, 07 November, 2005 - 04:17 pm
"Dehydrated" means the water was taken out. "Hydro-gen" means "water maker".

The dehydrated water is various combinations of mineral from different sources of water. For example, you used to be able to buy "Burton salts" to emulate Burton-on-Trent water, for brewing.
Next message Tim posted on Monday, 07 November, 2005 - 09:35 pm
Well it must be the dehydrided water that you get from the O2 shop...

So this dehydrated water isn't really water at all (I was starting to think it was the emperor's new clothes). Draught Bass always used to leave a taste in the mouth next morning quite different from other beers because of the Burton water. NOT volume related.

I've checked via Google and you can still get Burton Salts, though there's none listed on e-Bay at present. The nearest on e-bay is 6575461395
Next message Bill D posted on Tuesday, 08 November, 2005 - 12:32 am
The Burton Salts (or similar) were necessary in places like this (Central Scotland).

Glasgow and Lanarkshire water used to be so clean that you could put it in car batteries but soft water is only suitable for lager.

Making ales needs hard water. (I'm drinking one now. Ale, I mean, not water.)
Next message Chris posted on Tuesday, 08 November, 2005 - 08:17 pm
Never guess what... Just looked on eBay and the very CD that started off this little discussion is on there! According to the seller it was released in 1993 on the Success label. Also up is a similar release of sky3 - also on the Success label and also with the words Digitally Remastered on the front. So now we know...

Next message Tim posted on Tuesday, 08 November, 2005 - 09:38 pm
OK Chris, after all this discusssion are you any the wiser? Have you bid yet? Has this discussion made you think it's worth more or less, or even worth bidding on at all...
Next message Bill D posted on Wednesday, 09 November, 2005 - 01:10 pm
I have the first CD issue of 'Sky', "Digitally Remastered".

It was on Ariola.
Next message Chris posted on Wednesday, 09 November, 2005 - 05:25 pm

Well, little did I know, when I innocently started this little discussion, exactly where it would lead!

I have enjoyed reading about digital v analogue, bit rate, sample rate, chemo-transmitters and, of course, dehydrated water!

As to the original topic of this thread. No, I haven't bid on the CD and I don't think I will. I would only be bidding on it for the cover and, having given it some thought, the words 'Digitally Remastered' don't really make it worth the cost involved.

Next message Tim posted on Thursday, 10 November, 2005 - 12:32 am
Wise move.

I've enjoyed and learnt too. And I think I now know why Scots call their ale 'heavy'. Adding all that calcium and magnesium sulphate increases the mass, which means the ale is made with 'heavy water'.
Next message Bill D posted on Thursday, 10 November, 2005 - 09:10 am
It could be called heavy because, after ten pints, your legs seem unable to take the weight of the beer.

(The water in the Glasgow area is too soft for making decent ales. Doesn't stop Tennent's trying, although I did say 'decent ales'.)
Next message Chris posted on Sunday, 04 December, 2005 - 03:21 pm
Nothing to do with sky, but...

Just won the auction for a book on eBay. The book cost me 15 pence but the postage is £1.00. Sort of amusing, if you think about it...

Anyone else won anything on eBay, then ended up paying vastly more for the P&P than they paid for the actual item?

(Or am I the only one?!!!!)
Next message Tim posted on Sunday, 04 December, 2005 - 11:23 pm
Not on e-Bay. Working out postage on Amazon needs a PhD in maths, it's usually easier to proceed to checkout to find out. I'd never used the button that said 'buy now with one click', but I learnt how to disable it after Mrs T pressed it to find out how much postage for a 10p book would be from an Amazon Marketplace seller. She now knows why it's called 'one-click'.

To re-name the thread that was more than curious...
Next message Tricky posted on Monday, 05 December, 2005 - 09:18 am
The Videostars tape was 99p. The postage, if I remember correctly, was £1.55 first class. Now that the PO charge by weight it's wasn't that surprising. Arrived within 24 hrs. In this case it was worth it!
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