The reason being I think small changes like +2-4dB of DR in compressed recordings using the RIAA EQ are very much based on the resolution of the emphasis and de-emphasis filters. JR_Audio made a comment on this and I had a look at the accuracy of the RIAA curves I made. Indeed, mathematically essentially perfect curves <+/-0.1dB add very little DR extension, maybe only 1dB whereas "looser" accuracy like +/-0.5dB through the audio band could give +2dB with the DR Meter with some idiosyncrasies depending on the song and which frequencies the RIAA inaccuracies lie.
The problem is that these are simulations done on a computer with accuracy of 32-bits. As I said in the original article:
In real life, things are more complicated. Even without a significantly better source master, for the final vinyl mix, small changes can be done to the signal such as mixing all the bass frequencies up to 100Hz into mono or taming of the high notes along with the RIAA curve. The results might be more pleasing or euphonic (see this article on mixing for vinyl and how much work potentially needs to be done). On playback, other physical factors are also involved such as the tracking force of the cartridge/tonearm or idiosyncrasies of the cartridge and accuracy of the phono pre-amp. Also, post-processing such as noise/click/pop reduction would add another variable for the results from "needle drops". If you look at a number of different vinyl rips, it's quite common to see slight DR variation depending on the equipment and technique used (typically another DR +/-1dB is not uncommon).
Indeed, I noticed this afternoon playing with Audition just how easy it was to artificially inflate DR values! For example, mixing all low frequencies <100Hz as mono. I played around with this using Lorde's Royals song using a lowpass filter to isolate those low frequencies and then mix them back into the highpassed upper portions as mono... Even though the sound wasn't significantly different when volume matched, it was not difficult at all to get a DR8 original 24/48 HDTracks version up to DR13. As I noted in the original article, I believe this is just the result of removing peak limits and clipped portions, allowing the calculations to extend these portions with the DSP operations.
Given the effect I saw, ultimately I think there's no conclusion one can draw between what's measured on a vinyl rip and knowledge/proof of whether truly new masters are being used unless specifically told about it!
I guess after trying this for awhile, I realized just how sensitive the DR Meter can be. Ultimately it is useful as a tool to explore the average dynamic range of albums and especially pick out very poor masters with strong peak limiting. It's also useful to determine if 2 pressings are exactly the same.
Anyhow... I might review this later if anything clears up for me in the days ahead; just really hard to post something unless good conclusions can be reached.
I'll leave you with the last bit of the post however...
One example of a vinyl remaster that's truly the "definitive edition" is Stadium Arcadium by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. As usual for Vlado Meller the CD's mastering engineer, the dynamic range compressor was stuck at "11" resulting in a sick album with an average DR5. The vinyl release had proper mastering treatment by Steve Hoffman resulting in a DR12 average. That's the kind of difference one wants to see between CD and vinyl to be sure of truly better vinyl source material.
Have a good weekend everyone. Now go enjoy the music and the weekend... Careful about the Pono droppings this week. :-)
Speaking of Pono, check out all the new "limited edition" Pono players you can get on Kickstarter today with one's favourite band named on the unit! Wow, looks like they're going all out on moving as many virtual units as possible sight-unseen except for a few pictures and ear-unheard... It'll be interesting to see what the final product reception will be like when shipped. (I'm also very curious about the objective measurements!)