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AKB48 Recent CD Quality


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#1 vaj

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 06:59 AM

I wonder is this the right place to post this. This matter of fact came to my attention recently. I downloaded the flac version of 1830m album from here and it failed in Audiochecker by Dester. Then I downloaded another alac version of 1830m from here as well and it also failed in Audiochecker. Then I was wondering maybe this album quality is just bad. Then, I came across the following comment by "Zaku Abumi" at his UZA flac upload:

 

"I am using the program you are mentioning. The mixing engineer cut off the frequency at 21.5 khz as in 1830M. If you check the graphic of the audio files, the peak level is constant. That does not happen when it comes to transcodings."

 

Zaku Abumi seem to be using another different program named LoselessAudioChecker. So I went and downloaded that program and both of the previous 1830m album passed the test. So to verify the fact that the mixing engineer did something different since 1830m, I went and rip my recent AKB cd (So Long and Sayonara Crawl) that I owned using EAC. Both rips really do failed in Audiochecker but passed in LoselessAudioChecker. So this verified Zaku claim that the mixing engineer really did something different since 1830m.

 

Then I tried to test the reliability of this new program named LoselessAudioChecker. I convert my rip that passed both Audiochecker and LoselessAudioChecker to lossy and then back to loseless with few methods. And at the second tried, the reconvert loseless file failed in Audiochecker but passed in LoselessAudioChecker. Then I already lost confident in LoselessAudioChecker reliability.

 

So to me, it seem that Audiochecker is more accurate than LoselessAudioChecker. Now here come my question and doubt... Why did the mixing engineer of AKB change the method??? Does this new method affect audio quality??? I will try the ABX test between the 1830m version and single version when I am free to see whether this affect the audio quality. I wonder anyone tried the ABX test already? Do you heard any differences?

 

UPDATE:

Finally am free to do some ABX test. So I pick out the tracks from 1830m and their single for these 2 songs: Sakura no Ki ni Narou & Kaze wa Fuiteiru.

 

First part of the ABX test, instrument test. I focus on the instrument part of the song and did 3 ABX tests for each song. Full marks on both songs. The single version have more power in their instrument especially bass. The bass in the album version lack a little bit of power and sound a little bit quieter or soft.

 

Second part of the ABX test, vocal test. This time I focus on the vocal part of the song and did 3 ABX tests for each song. 2/3 correct for the Kaze wa Fuiteiru and 1/3 correct for the Sakura no Ki ni Narou. Wasn't really that impressive -.-''' Maybe those correct are just by luck at all for the vocal test...

 

So it seem that I am more sensitive to bass and not really that good at vocal T_T However, I do heard significant differences between the album version and single version. Though it is just the bass for me, but it still prove there are audible differences.



#2 CAiTlin_Beat

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 05:32 PM

I'm no expert on this kind of software but this was brought up on aramatheydidnt before. The album quality is very low compared to the single quality because they tried to compress so many songs onto a single disc.



#3 Krusha

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 05:38 PM

To be fair, if "single quality" is to be mentioned, I will have to point out something that I really dislike: The core of this article: https://en.wikipedia...ki/Loudness_war

 

So many of AKB48's singles are overblown, and full of clipping. Just listen to 10nen Zakura. It's gruesome in this regards, and it's a pity because it ruins the songs and make them harder to enjoy. Interestingly enough, this phenomena is not found as much on the stage recordings as much as on the singles.



#4 Ares13

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 07:02 PM

ok .. dunno nuts .. not even sure I am talking about the correct idea ..

but I would think .. this give some value to the singles .. if not people would be waiting for the album which is a compilation of singles ..lol

lol noob talk ...

 

anyway .. recently ..I been getting into this audio stuff ..still learning to be a wota audiophile ? .. getting a beginner portable setup and all ..

its actually cheaper to be a audiophile then a wota ..LOL

 

but I ask my friend who has been in this for some time .. and he tells me there is no point having the music in raw format ..

we enjoy music and not analysis music ..

makes lots of sense to me now considering our ear are not a audio checker software .. right?

 

But for quality reason .. I always try to buy the CDs as much as possible instead of downloading them ..



#5 Krusha

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 07:15 PM

There's no value to be had anywhere with a degraded quality of the said product. 

 

For what it's worth, and it's not as if I have top of the line ultra audiophile equipment, I have decent enough equipment: 

 

PC: Soundcard: Asus Xonar STX Essence -- Headphones: Audio Technica ATH M50

Portable: Cowon D2 -- Headphones: Audio Technica ATH M50 -- IEM's: FutureSonics Atrio M5

Source material: CD

 

So what I then am listening to is not a poor rip, nor am I listening to the music with inferior equipment. It is then rather annoying to know that you have actually purchased CD's - which is the best source you can get your hands on - and the sound is (or rather can be) inferior compared to what it could've been. 

 

In fact, and this is absolutely hilarious: I have albums of rather extreme Norwegian metal, and they actually have better sound production than a lot of AKB48 singles. There's absolutely no reason why the studio/sound engineer should blow up highs, and give us a CD - be it album or single - with blown highlights, clipping, and otherwise sound artifacts due to loudness boosting. No reason at all, because the music is now ruined. If you want to listen to your music loudly, you have the volume button for that.

 

 

 

its actually cheaper to be a audiophile then a wota ..LOL

 

Step over to HeadFi and read up on what it takes to have a good soundsystem from A to Z and you may end up rethinking that idea.

 

What your friend says is true to some degree.

 

Indeed, we use our ears to listen to music, and enjoy the music, not analyze sine waves, differences in hertz and what not, but there's a difference between a well-produced song and a poorly produced one.

I honestly cannot enjoy listening to songs that are as bad as 10nen Zakura in terms of production, solely because it sounds painful after some time. So I'm not so interested in graphs and analytical data of this decibel vs. that decibel, I just want the studio producers to stop blowing up the sound, and let it be. That is actually for the best.

 

Edit: 

 

Having said all of this, make no mistake: This is not a problem only AKB48 is hit by now and then. This is an epidemic in all of pop music. Sadly.



#6 vaj

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 04:23 AM

I'm no expert on this kind of software but this was brought up on aramatheydidnt before. The album quality is very low compared to the single quality because they tried to compress so many songs onto a single disc.

hi shiroi, I bring up this matter because as I said this seem to not only affect the album but it seem to affect all the CD after 1830m as well. as i stated in my first post, i rip my most recently purchased single "So Long" and "Sayonara Crawl" and they both failed Audiochecker.

 

anyway .. recently ..I been getting into this audio stuff ..still learning to be a wota audiophile ? .. getting a beginner portable setup and all ..

its actually cheaper to be a audiophile then a wota ..LOL

 

but I ask my friend who has been in this for some time .. and he tells me there is no point having the music in raw format ..

we enjoy music and not analysis music ..

makes lots of sense to me now considering our ear are not a audio checker software .. right?

hi ares, i agree with ur friend saying that enjoying the music is the best way. that's y I said I will try to do the ABX test with Foobar when I am free to test and see whether does them really have any differences.

 

audiophile is no way cheaper than a wota unless the wota type that u refering to buy the same CD at a large amount of quantity. if the wota is just like normal level, like I will only at most buy the different version of the same single like A,K,B type each 1. audiophile is way more expensive. when u jz started audiophile, u may not feel so. but after u get poison by the fact that everything does affect sound quality, I tell u that the amount u spend on the stuffs is no way cheap. even my cables alone now can buy a new tv. and there is no going back, u wont really feel like listening to your average setup anymore.

 

 

It is then rather annoying to know that you have actually purchased CD's - which is the best source you can get your hands on - and the sound is (or rather can be) inferior compared to what it could've been. 

yup, that is my feeling now. if they only affect the album quality, then it is still acceptable. but it affect the single after 1830m album as well. but as I said earlier, it affect the wave on the song as Audiochecker shown. but is this changes audible? will have to let ABX test to prove it.



#7 Tsurugi_Ken

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 05:33 AM

I'm thinking they tried to minimize the size to an acceptable level in order to make room for under girls, extra tracks and instrumentals, but they fucked up the process, minimizing the overall audio quality despite the CD being able to carry more. Which would explain why some single CDs haven't even had their full capacity filled.

 

Which leads me to the question: since CDs are close to obsolete anyway, why not use DVDs and lossless audio now? After all, most cars nowadays have DVD players, and you can hook up a miniature one if your car's audio system is too old anyway.

 

And have the DVD extras be in full 1080p on Blurays instead.

 

Sure they'd have to up the costs a bit if they do it right now, but in a few years it should be quite possible.

 

Time passes by and changes should happen to take advantage of this. Otherwise we'll be forever stuck in primitive technology.



#8 vaj

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 06:26 AM

I'm thinking they tried to minimize the size to an acceptable level in order to make room for under girls, extra tracks and instrumentals, but they fucked up the process, minimizing the overall audio quality despite the CD being able to carry more. Which would explain why some single CDs haven't even had their full capacity filled.

 

Which leads me to the question: since CDs are close to obsolete anyway, why not use DVDs and lossless audio now? After all, most cars nowadays have DVD players, and you can hook up a miniature one if your car's audio system is too old anyway.

 

And have the DVD extras be in full 1080p on Blurays instead.

 

Sure they'd have to up the costs a bit if they do it right now, but in a few years it should be quite possible.

 

Time passes by and changes should happen to take advantage of this. Otherwise we'll be forever stuck in primitive technology.

I think I never seen a single that fully utilize the space given yet XD

 

CD are no way close to obsolete when delivering audio only and CD is loseless 16bit/44.1khz audio. SACD and DVD-A which able to store higher quality audio are not making a hit because there is argue that most human ear cant hear the differences after 16bit/44.1khz quality. And normal DVD player that don't specially have DVD-A feature will only play DVD-A as normal DVD and unable to fully utilize it capability. For normal user, maybe u wont really mind. But for hifi user that owned a thousand dollar CD player that only use was to play stereo CD, to upgrade his current CD player to a SACD or DVD-A capable player that most claim unable to hear audible differences, do u really think he will upgrade? That is why CD is still the mainstream for audio only format.

 

However, for video format, I really do wish that they could change to BD ASAP XD.



#9 Tsurugi_Ken

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 07:00 AM

I've seen quite a few, though most of them were singles from American music.

 

Anyways, I meant to refer to uncompressed audio, but I was too busy gawking at the Bokura no Eureka dance version video to keep track of what I was saying. But yeah.

 

With quality-geared audio devices you can hear the distinct differences even without having sharp ears, but I guess that relies more on the equipment output than the disc itself. In my case, I bought a Yamaha receiver and 7.1 surround sound set (went for Klipsch instead of B&W because of the price disparity in relation to quality, now I feel somewhat regretful) and hook it up to my laptop with all the uncompressed audio just to listen to music in the living room (I don't watch or play anything in the living room since all my gaming stuff is inside my own bedroom). I think the main problem is that you need high-end gear in order to be able to hear the difference in quality clearly, which sucks for people that don't have money. So I guess it'll take a lot longer for DVDs to become the standard for audio-only.

 

With regard to blurays, thankfully AKS has already started moving towards them for full concerts, but we have yet to actually get blurays for a TV series (like Geinin for example) or extras such as PVs. Hopefully that trend changes soon enough. I hate it when it's horribly pixelated especially when you want to take screen caps.



#10 vaj

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 07:24 AM

I think u wont be seeing DVD-A as mainstream cause it seem to lose to SACD in the hi-res format war. With sony backing SACD and the capacity of SACD is almost the same as DVD-A with single layer 4.7gb and double layer 8.5gb, I don't see DVD-A gonna be mainstream XD

 

I actually still prefer a stereo amp for listening to musics. I actually don't think B&W low end speaker is worth to buy. I will only consider B&W for their CM9 and PM1. I think low end speaker, Mission MX5, Kef Ls50 and such is better XD What DAC are u using? Have u tried jplay before? It's working like a charm for me ^^



#11 Tsurugi_Ken

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 08:36 AM

I don't think much people aside from those in the know are aware that the SACD even exists though. Though I guess since Sony's backing it up, it'll get seen more often when the time comes, but right now, a lot more people would commonly stick with what is familiar with them. But yeah, I'm not particularly fond of either, so which ever direction it goes, I don't mind as long as I get good quality.

 

Foobar2000, tampered by my brother who's more knowledgeable about it, has always been what I've had on my PC since I first heard of it. I've tried jplay and just bought it recently though.

 

My PC's geared more for graphics and performance than audio so I should definitely buy myself an external DAC (like the cheap yet useful Fiio Alpen-E17 for starters, and maybe move on to something more Schiit later on, lol). The laptop is honestly crap, so I'd definitely benefit from it too.



#12 vaj

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 08:52 AM

u said u got an av receiver right? which mean that u are not a portable guy. Alpen is definitely not suitable at all. Alpen is built with portability as 1 of the main point. Try something like hrt music streamer 2 or odac. if u are interested to know more, u can pm me.



#13 dev-null

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 12:24 PM

ShiroiChanUK, on 12 Jun 2013 - 6:32 PM, said:
The album quality is very low compared to the single quality because they tried to compress so many songs onto a single disc.



Tsurugi_Ken, on 13 Jun 2013 - 06:33 AM, said:
I'm thinking they tried to minimize the size to an acceptable level in order to make room for under girls, extra tracks and instrumentals, but they fucked up the process, minimizing the overall audio quality despite the CD being able to carry more.

Erm... Audio CDs (Compact Discs) contain uncompressed CDDA data only (Compact Disc Digital Audio which is 16 bit PCM/ 44,100 Hz). So there's no magical compression that makes room for more music to be added. The amount (length) of music you can add is simply limited by the storage capacity of the disc (around 80 minutes max.)

Don't mix it up with Video DVDs, etc. who support such kind of lossy compression (decrease quality even more to gain capacity for more stuff)


Anyway... to "compress"/ mastering data to the CD format (sampling original RAW material to the CD's 16 bit PCM) can affect the CD's audio quality depending on settings and method used. But that has no impact to the play time and storage requirements of the tracks on the discs. :)

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#14 Tsurugi_Ken

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 01:07 PM

u said u got an av receiver right? which mean that u are not a portable guy. Alpen is definitely not suitable at all. Alpen is built with portability as 1 of the main point. Try something like hrt music streamer 2 or odac. if u are interested to know more, u can pm me.

Yamaha RX-V567 from back in 2010. Was meant for watching movies, and I know is terrible for audio. Still, since the actual living room is set up as a sort of entertainment room, I kept it that way. I should replace it with something more suited to music, but I don't have money right now. It's one reason why I was looking at external DACs. I see that the Alpen shouldn't be bought unless I just use headphones and my iPhone, but I wanted to try something (anything) out. I'll have a look at the music streamer. I took a look at the odac a few weeks ago, and it seems pretty nice for the price too.

 

Might have to go to my nearby electronics shop and try some things out soon. I fear the annoying salesmen, so I'll try to act like I speak little English.

 

 

 

ShiroiChanUK, on 12 Jun 2013 - 6:32 PM, said:
The album quality is very low compared to the single quality because they tried to compress so many songs onto a single disc.



Tsurugi_Ken, on 13 Jun 2013 - 06:33 AM, said:
I'm thinking they tried to minimize the size to an acceptable level in order to make room for under girls, extra tracks and instrumentals, but they fucked up the process, minimizing the overall audio quality despite the CD being able to carry more.

Erm... Audio CDs (Compact Discs) contain uncompressed CDDA data only (Compact Disc Digital Audio which is 16 bit PCM/ 44,100 Hz). So there's no magical compression that makes room for more music to be added. The amount (length) of music you can add is simply limited by the storage capacity of the disc (around 80 minutes max.)

Don't mix it up with Video DVDs, etc. who support such kind of lossy compression (decrease quality even more to gain capacity for more stuff)


Anyway... to "compress"/ mastering data to the CD format (sampling original RAW material to the CD's 16 bit PCM) can affect the CD's audio quality depending on settings and method used. But that has no impact to the play time and storage requirements of the tracks on the discs. :)

 

 

I certainly have mixed it up. But then what is the issue regarding the audio quality of the mentioned AKB CDs? Faulty writing equipment? If there is a disparity when comparing them with the other CDs and the audio problem only happened somewhat recently, then it was either a mess-up that they didn't bother fixing, tools that went bad they didn't bother changing, or a conscious decision to give people lower quality music in my opinion. The last one shouldn't be the case, and if it was the first one, then they should've fixed the issue already.



#15 vaj

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 02:51 PM

But then what is the issue regarding the audio quality of the mentioned AKB CDs? Faulty writing equipment? If there is a disparity when comparing them with the other CDs and the audio problem only happened somewhat recently, then it was either a mess-up that they didn't bother fixing, tools that went bad they didn't bother changing, or a conscious decision to give people lower quality music in my opinion. The last one shouldn't be the case, and if it was the first one, then they should've fixed the issue already.

 

I finally did some ABX test, and it seem that I am able to hear audible differences in the bass though I am unable to hear audible differences in the vocal. I wonder anyone am able to hear any audible differences in the vocal?



#16 Ares13

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 04:53 PM

LOL ... I am not sure the discussion is going the right direction ...
and I got to google like 90% of what you guys are talking about ... but its interesting as I am still at the noob learning phase of this .. :)

anyway .. I do have a certain standard when it come to listening to music ... maybe it come from the time when I was in school and I use to run the AV for the school and the sound for the school during school event shows .. just that I put it aside when i grew up and never really learn much about it ..

anyway my sound system at home is shameful ..lol its just a sony bluray home theater with a bunch of random speaker I can connect it with ..
basically .. my PC use hdmi out to the sony bluray home theater for the sound and hdmi out to my 55" HD LED 3D TV ..lol
so obviously I love HD stuff ..lol

anyway .. I am a portable person .. because in Singapore ..most of us live in small apartment call flats ...
and if I am to blast any sound system .. I would find my neighbors of the whole block or the police at my door ..

coincidentally .. I was thinking about getting the Fiio Alpen-E17 .. hmm maybe I should rethink ..
recently .. I have upgraded my portable audio setup to ..Sony MDR-1R headphone and FiiO E07K ANDES amp
from my old setup of Philips x O’Neill STRETCH TR55LX headphone and GoVibe amp ..
my player is my old iphone4 which i connect with a LOD cable .. now I am using Samsung galaxy S4 as my phone which i sometimes also use as my player..
I just ordered and still waiting for my Shure SE215 limited edition to come to upgrade from my a-JAYS ..

 

next on my shopping list is a classic ipod ..with the 160G so I can try out those raw files which require more space against what my friend told me not to do ..lol

anyway .. you guys are lucky .. in my countries .. there ain't much of this kind of good stuff around .. >.<
most people here care more about look and I am quite certain most are carrying imitation fake beats dr.dre.

but I still got to support many idols so .. i got limited budget ..lol
but anyway .. i went forward with all this .. is because of the music i listen to ..which is all japanese idols ..
its actually a different kind of music ..which always don't seem to sound right for me ..
Thats why Í am doing all this now .. to find that perfect sound to me for japanese idol songs ..
i am not sure .. but strangely for this i find that the lower mid end headphone earphone seem to do better than high end ones ...
maybe its the player , amp or phone ...

or maybe its because the CD quality ? .. :unsure:
its something I never think about .. thats why this topic is interesting to me ...



#17 vaj

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 01:07 AM

LOL ... I am not sure the discussion is going the right direction ...
and I got to google like 90% of what you guys are talking about ... but its interesting as I am still at the noob learning phase of this .. :)

anyway .. I do have a certain standard when it come to listening to music ... maybe it come from the time when I was in school and I use to run the AV for the school and the sound for the school during school event shows .. just that I put it aside when i grew up and never really learn much about it ..

anyway my sound system at home is shameful ..lol its just a sony bluray home theater with a bunch of random speaker I can connect it with ..
basically .. my PC use hdmi out to the sony bluray home theater for the sound and hdmi out to my 55" HD LED 3D TV ..lol
so obviously I love HD stuff ..lol

anyway .. I am a portable person .. because in Singapore ..most of us live in small apartment call flats ...
and if I am to blast any sound system .. I would find my neighbors of the whole block or the police at my door ..

coincidentally .. I was thinking about getting the Fiio Alpen-E17 .. hmm maybe I should rethink ..
recently .. I have upgraded my portable audio setup to ..Sony MDR-1R headphone and FiiO E07K ANDES amp
from my old setup of Philips x O’Neill STRETCH TR55LX headphone and GoVibe amp ..
my player is my old iphone4 which i connect with a LOD cable .. now I am using Samsung galaxy S4 as my phone which i sometimes also use as my player..
I just ordered and still waiting for my Shure SE215 limited edition to come to upgrade from my a-JAYS ..

 

next on my shopping list is a classic ipod ..with the 160G so I can try out those raw files which require more space against what my friend told me not to do ..lol

anyway .. you guys are lucky .. in my countries .. there ain't much of this kind of good stuff around .. >.<
most people here care more about look and I am quite certain most are carrying imitation fake beats dr.dre.

but I still got to support many idols so .. i got limited budget ..lol
but anyway .. i went forward with all this .. is because of the music i listen to ..which is all japanese idols ..
its actually a different kind of music ..which always don't seem to sound right for me ..
Thats why Í am doing all this now .. to find that perfect sound to me for japanese idol songs ..
i am not sure .. but strangely for this i find that the lower mid end headphone earphone seem to do better than high end ones ...
maybe its the player , amp or phone ...

or maybe its because the CD quality ? .. :unsure:
its something I never think about .. thats why this topic is interesting to me ...

 

hi, i am just from ur neighboring country malaysia :D for iem headphone, give final audio design a try, they got nice bass that wont mix up with the vocal ^^ I still like the sound from FAD heaven 4^^ the more expensive FAD maybe better never try them yet XD i am more of a hifi guy than a headfi guy ^^

 

it's interesting that u found that cheaper headset sounded better, maybe its the DAC limitation or mayb u can try iFi iUSB power to condition the USB power ^^

 

ya, tis went the wrong direction for a while but well... i did update with some info saying after i did an ABX test i am able to hear audible differences in the bass of the song from the album version vs the single version. but for the vocal part, I don't seem to hear any differences yet



#18 Ares13

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 03:58 PM

^.. great .. if you ever come by Singapore ..drop me a message .. so can talk about this stuff .. i really like to learn more ...
Ok .. I will give it all a try .. but I got to take my time .. as I just splash money on the Shure .. gonna be a while before I can get another one ...

Anyway .. ok .. I will take your word for it ... time to rip Hashire Penguin from the single instead on relying on the 1830m album version .. :)

#19 Perseus~HADES~

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Posted 13 August 2015 - 04:19 AM

I hate to revive a dead topic, but I do hate the fact that quality of their audio sucks A LOT.

 

If you compare "Ponytail to Shushu" from AKB48 to either SNH48's or even JKT48's, there's a noticeable different of quality, SNH's sounds more "clear" and less like someone messed with an audio equalizer. Even the official PV has low quality for AKB48.

 

Another is "Everyday Kachuusha"; Compare AKB48's to SDN48's version (despite having a slightly different arrangement), SDN48's is definitely a lot more "clear" as well.

 

Just my two cents. :-) 



#20 dev-null

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Posted 17 January 2016 - 09:24 PM

Is it just me or is the audio quality of Iwasa Misaki's latest single Gomen ne Tokyo really bad? While waiting for my disc to arrive I downloaded the MP3 rip here on the tracker and it really sounded crappy (especially with the A Side "Gomen ne Tokyo"), so I thought the files were perhaps some transcode or stuff. But when my discs arrived and I did my very own rips directly from the disk, albeit my results were better, I'm still rather unsatisfied with the audio quality. I love the song, but I somewhat fail to properly enjoy it because all the distortion.

 

 

For crying out loud… it's Enka… should deserve some more respect than to by treated like your average Pop…  :noo:


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