**Since the release of The A/B CD in 2001, other audio comparison products have appeared on the market. To understand why The A/B CD is the only accurate, unbiased and complete audio comparison resource available, please check out the FAQs page on The A/B CD website**
About The A/B CD
It's understandable that there are many questions regarding what makes a recording sound the way it does. Popular opinions regarding sound quality differences between things like analog and digital recording began propagating around the birthdate of the audio CD. It's gotten to the point that nowadays, everyone "knows" or at least has heard things like "analog sounds warmer than digital"
And yet to this day, the fact is: very few people have actually heard an accurate side by side comparison of the two. This can lead to misconceptions as to what makes a recording sound the way it does, resulting in recordings that don't live up to expectations for mis-identified reasons.
The only logical and educational way to decipher what determines a recording's sound qualities -out of the infinite number of variables that make up a recording path - is to break down the complete recording process into individual components and then present accurate multitrack comparisons of the different competing formats of those components such as tube versus solid state.
This is exactly what The A/B CD does.
Five years in the making due to the technical challenge of presenting accurate, useful comparisons of all the major components that make up a complete recording path, The A/B CD allows you to hear and decide for yourself what type of things make a big difference and what type of things make little difference in a recording's sonic quality.
Please keep in mind, the MP3 soundclips described
here only play a small snippet from each of their corresponding tracks as they appear on The A/B CD.
Track 1 -This "A" soundclip was mixed using a Mackie analog mixer (equipment A). On The A/B CD, it is followed by the same 12 second section of 24 track music as mixed through the Yamaha hardware digital mixer (equipment B).
Track 3 - This "A" soundclip is from one of the tracks that compares a 2" 24 track analog recorder to a 16 bit 24 track digital recorder. On The A/B CD, it is followed by the same section of 24 track musical performance as recorded on the other 24 track recorder (equipment "B") . Two other tracks on The A/B CD show how a metal rock group and an acoustic folk rock group sound when recorded using analog vs. digital 24 track recorders.
Track 19 - This soundclip plays the complete A/B comparison from track 19. Counter 0:00 "A" Shows the imaging and tone of a real drum kit recorded with close & room mics. Counter 0:08 "B" Shows the imaging and tone of the same performance when only the close mics are used in the mix. If you're using a microphone to record, then you need to know how influential the acoustics of a room can be. The A/B CD delivers this prerequisite experience.
Computer based recording is happening, but many questions still surround the sound quality of computer recording systems. Can a computer make a recording that sounds as good as it's hardware counterparts? The A/B CD lays all the cards on the table regarding the sound qualities of computer recording. From the sound quality of a stock 16 bit computer sound card versus a 24 bit professional audio interface to a software plug-in reverb vs. an industry standard hardware reverb. The A/B CD subsequently compares the same hardware reverb to a real acoustical environment .The Track 22 webclip to the left shows the hardware reverb (equipment "A") vs. the computer "plug-in" reverb (equipment "B") comparison.
Understanding what makes a recording sound the way it does would not be possible without also studying how different levels of musicianship and different designs of similar musical instruments effect a recording's sound quality. For example, The Track 24 webclip plays a comparison of a Line 6 POD amp and speaker model versus the same performance as played through a real Marshal 50 watt amp & 4X12 speaker cabinet mic'd with a Shure SM57 mic.