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New Likely not to moi now, but therein lies the conundrum..
there *are* such golden ears who can Hear the nuances--and pick their preferences reliably (and some, via something akin to that special Wine-obsessed vocabulary?: give 'analyses" congruent with Real-engineers ..and like that. In addition to these few: in the New truth-is-optional Era, there also are a myriad who claim that virtuosity.. wash/rinse/repeat.

All of which is why I aver that, "no one sentence, laudatory OR dismissive ... makes any sense", given the human/machine complexity of the entire matter. er, Still.

Also too: input created with synthesizers and such paraphernalia confound any judgment of 'Fidelity' as: these are not the sounds of voice OR "instrument" being Reproduced as accurately as possible; these are Produced collections of effects... witness how it was that "Sgt. Pepper" was 'produced', via all manner of prescient details handled by innovation with existing gear. Yes, the recorded version must be playable, but you never could listen-in on its Production so as to A/B one -vs- the other. Rest case.

Optional PS:
I once accompanied an Instructor friend to the L.A. Philharmonic [Wallenstein conductor] for the debut of Frederick Marvin (still playing, last I heard..) We recorded the Chopin Piano Cto.#2 on a barely-"transportable'" huge Ampex machine/prime in the day (which JSC also owned!) I thus had the -delayed- version of hearing it once Iive, thence shortly after hearing last of the tape over headphones superior to most speakers du jour. It was of course surprisingly Good, especially compared to the consumer gadgets like Webster-Chicago (Webcor™). Nor had I the experience/vocabulary to express "differences" in perception. He later cut an LP (!) with his own equipment (of quality I had no idea.) I still have that disc, but it won't reveal much applicable to this discussion.
Expand Edited by Ashton March 4, 2019, 12:04:49 AM EST
New I'm not sure who to reply to, so I'll put it here.
I think we actually do know what makes certain formats and audio chains less than wonderful or at least audibly faulty. This question actually comes up a lot in Techmoan's Youtube videos.

Vinyl recordings can sound superb, so long as you carefully stay within the limits of the technology. In fact, that's true of most formats that at least have a good stab at genuine "high-fidelity". Even the humble magnetic tape. Early commercial open-reel tapes easily sound way better than the last ones and what is astonishing is that you can just about hear the difference in (of all things!) the compressed audio of a Youtube video. Techmoan demonstrated this! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KHSz9Gi-II

For someone like me whose taste in music is highly-produced pop music, the modern streaming formats are usually more than good enough. Especially into earphones where the audio is competing with whatever ambient sound is around me. In that case, there are only a few technical concerns I ask of the actual audio: mainly more-or-less flat response and low or no noise. My Apple earbuds and my Earstudio do that most admirably (the absolute lack of noise from the latter is particularly admirable, BTW).

I do still buy CDs of my favourite artists, and again, because it is highly-produced pop music, the mastering is usually very very good. I have heard better audio from the CD than from Youtube Music, but the difference is very subtle and very hard to explain. Experienced sound engineers in that industry know very well how to stay within the technical boundaries of what popular streaming music can do! I mean, it's not like they're sending you 64kps MP3 - they're all using many more bits than that and a much newer codec.

(DAB is a whole 'nother issue, I'm afraid - the trend is to lower bit-rates in order to support more channels. Digital cable TV does the same thing, alas.)

Wade.
     Stay in your lane - (drook) - (19)
         movie theaters have better sound systems than homes - (lincoln) - (1)
             It's depressing how many shows/movies I have to put the captions on - (drook)
         "Better listening experience"? Sounds like he carefully avoided saying "sounds better" because it do - (Ashton) - (9)
             I grew up listening to a McIntosh receiver and tube amp. - (Another Scott) - (1)
                 Spike Jones.. am sure that my 78rpm "In Der Fuehrer's Face'" is around somewhere - (Ashton)
             That's not a vinyl vs. digital issue - (drook) - (6)
                 Likely not to moi now, but therein lies the conundrum.. - (Ashton) - (1)
                     I'm not sure who to reply to, so I'll put it here. - (static)
                 Good Science Friday episode on this. - (Another Scott) - (3)
                     Succinct, pithy and saves lotsa words /me steals this. Thanks! -NT - (Ashton)
                     But of course. - (static) - (1)
                         Yup. I'm pretty sure they master differently for radio than for vinyl/CD/etc. - (Another Scott)
         Feels like you read that backwards - (crazy) - (6)
             No, I got that - (drook) - (5)
                 +6, Perspicuity; yeah, there's a plethora of tin-ears nowadays ... and nary a Live/Recorded demo.. - (Ashton) - (4)
                     Bang & Olafson? They made the speakers in my laptop. -NT - (drook) - (3)
                         There's your problem. - (pwhysall) - (2)
                             I'll hand that spelling nit off to Ashton ... Here you go! -NT - (drook)
                             Mea culper, fellow smartass-picker-of-nits. And: - (Ashton)

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