Originally Posted by axisdreamer
Mike at ATR explained it to me in one sentence. Tape holds way more information then digital can.Digital can't store anywhere near as much of the audio picture as tape does.Would that be called resolution? I don't remember the term he used at the moment?Thats why tape sounds so magical.Hard drive technology can't hold near as much info as tape.
I'm not necessarily buying any argument that brings us back to the whole steps versus continuous line myth. I respect Mike and ATR, but I don't agree with that statement. I'm a mechanical engineer by education/profession. There are very specific reasons why electronics (or anything physical) that people design and build do and don't do certain things. The cause of the artifacts I'm talking about can be traced to analog circuitry, or digital circuitry, and its implementation. There's no voodoo involved. It's physics. As "engineers" I feel we should attempt to understand it.
Quint--while on a subjective and emotional level I may agree with your assessment of how analog tape handles spatial stuff and "realness", I don't want to admit that as a scientist/engineer until I can understand technically what is happening to those aspect of the audio when its converted.
Originally Posted by Quint
I most likely agree. I'm pretty sold on the idea that it's not a problem with the math but I'm still not %100 sure. It's probably gotta come down to implementation but where that breakdown in the implementation occurs is the real question. The thing is though that top of the line converters use analog components every bit as good or better than the classic tape machines that everyone holds up as the best so I don't think implementation of the analog compenents themselves, in the analog realm, is the problem.
The problem's gotta lie where the analog is actually converted into digital, which would either point to the converter chips themselves or to the methodology (sample rate, clocking, jitter, filtering, aliasing, etc.) which is used to encode digital on these chips, DSD vs PCM being an example of this debate.
Now I'll say this though, I notice that things tend to sound better when I use higher sample rates. Why exactly is that? That would seem to point a finger in the direction of less than infinite resolution, which tape has and digital does not. This creates quite the quandary because my scientific side wants to say that the math should be perfectly fine, yet I still hear a difference.
Consider this: most tape decks still being used were made in the 80's. It's 2010. Let's say that's 25 years that analog technology has had to improve and evolve. Everyone always points to how many leaps and bounds are being made with digital technology, but seems to forget that analog is still improving and evolving as well. The capacitors and op amps you can buy today are heaps better than what was available in 1981. That's why I rip that stuff out and replace it! The new stuff definitely sounds better to my ears! All my tape decks are totally modified. They are way more hi-fi than stock. Another point of clarification: "analog tape" doesn't have to imply "vintage" or "wooly" sounding. That sound goes in the trash with the TL072's and the MCI 2001's. Actually I sell the 2001's to the guys with MCI consoles.
Regarding your observation of sample rates... you may want to consider that higher sample rates use more sonically benign filters that are less steep and introduce less "badness". That's a technical term. So it may be filter implementation you are hearing and not anything to do with resolution or the sample rate itself.