DSD and the future busiess of small to medium studios
Old 23rd December 2002
  #1
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DSD and the future busiess of small to medium studios

In one of Fletcher's earlier posts, he predicted that Sony's
SACD/DSD will win out the high resolution format wars.
I'm not smart enough to know whether DVD-A or SACD will
win, and don't think I care short term.

But I am interested in Fletcher's and EveAnna's views on what
the impact of this will be on the middle tier (and lower tier)
of the business. All of the affordable editing software, and
D/A and A/D convertos are setup for PCM, and won't work
with DSD. Even some of the not too affordable A/D convertors
like the HEDD and Apogee that Fletcher sells will
become "under used".

I don't see this change having much, if any, impact on EveAnna's
products, they are nearly all high end analog. But Fletcher
and the rest of the industry sell a lot of PCM stuff.

So, what does the crystal ball of our moderators say?
Thanks
Old 23rd December 2002
  #2
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i wondered the exact same thing talking to michael after he got back from the surround sound conference.

in essence, if SACD were to "win" it would not only effectively push out all small/medium studios that were digital based but also push out all small/medium/boutique labels with sony's proprietary format... there is also a DSD/SACD authoring "problem"

although its DVD-V decks that are in 80+million homes in america and making their way into cars now. not SACD decks. the only benefit SACD has is the dual layer for people who still use CD players. although i believe one can put a 24/96 uncompressed signal on DVD-V [that might be misinformation, but 24/48 im sure is possible]

furthermore... 95% [possibly more] people dont even give a shit about audio "quality" [as shown by the popularity of MP3] so SACD just on the sales of back catalog is going to be a difficult marketing movement on Sony's part.

its going to be an interesting shakeout to say the least over the next few years.
Old 23rd December 2002
  #3
Moderator emeritus
 

I don't know that SACD will necessarily push out small to medium studios - it seems to me that even if you're recording 44.1-16 bit, if you mix in the analog domain, then the resulting mix is compatible with SACD. For that matter, I would think that even a 44.1 16 bit master could be converted into SACD. So there might be a loss in absolute quality - that doesn't appear to be an issue for those who frequent small studios...
Old 23rd December 2002
  #4
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sony is "suggesting" that DSD production should take place in the analog domain. if one is working PCM [16/44.1... or any rate up to 24/192] then there is absolutely no reason to put out an SACD.
Old 23rd December 2002
  #5
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DSD is being primarily pushed as a release format, not a production format. There is a dual layer DVD-A spec being released shortly that will allow DVD-A to have a red book layer as well. I don't think it will change business at the studio level at all, and from a manufacturers standpoint this transition is pretty easy to adapt to.
Old 24th December 2002
  #6
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i also heard that sony would be the only ones manufacturing SACD... i dont know if thats just a rumour i heard [due to their paranoia of piracy and so forth...] or just plain false information [please correct me, and let me know who else will be manufacturing]
Old 24th December 2002
  #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by alphajerk
i also heard that sony would be the only ones manufacturing SACD... i dont know if thats just a rumour i heard [due to their paranoia of piracy and so forth...] or just plain false information [please correct me, and let me know who else will be manufacturing]
I don't worry about this.
Even if Sony is the only manufacturer today, that is OK, there
is no demand, no "backlog". If, and it is a big IF, the format
becomes popular, others like Sonopress will make it.

But the sales claim is that Sony is going back to the original
analog masters and creating the DSD product. Free from
all the errors and uglyness of PCM. This claim is picked up
by at least the high end audio buff books (TAS, Audiophile,
etc.)

I really want to hear from Fletcher and EvaAnna.
We can start another thread for general DSD/SACD/DVD-A
paranoia.
Old 24th December 2002
  #8
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Quote:
posted by fishtop_records:
But the sales claim is that Sony is going back to the original
analog masters and creating the DSD product. Free from
all the errors and uglyness of PCM. This claim is picked up
by at least the high end audio buff books (TAS, Audiophile,
etc.)
Yes, I've heard this too, apparently it's somewhat true.

The DSD mastering gear rejects "illegal" audio - that is, clipping digital audio.

Digital convertors filter out information above 20Khz. But you can still create >20K harmonics if you clip while processing your audio in the digital realm, such as with heavy limiting.

The DSD mastering gear at your friendly neighborhood DSD mastering house gives you an error message when it detects that "illegal audio," and cancels conversion. It refuses to take your business, and your friendly neighborhood DSD mastering guy or gal will give your mix back to you and say, "Sorry, but you gotta remix this without any clipping and then bring it back to me and we'll try again."

So you have to go back and remix that stuff cleanly, sans heavy limiting, take that mix back to your friendly neighborhood DSD mastering house, and hope the machine doesn't reject your stuff again. Inevitably, those mixes will have greater dynamic range, because you relied less on artificial limiting.

So there are actually SACD releases that were recorded digitally. But obviously an analog tape recording wouldn't have to worry about getting an error message from the DSD convertor. And all the SACD releases would seem to have really good dynamic range, because you can't limit the bejeezus out of your mixes like you can for Redbook CDs.

But steering back to the original topic: Format wars and their effect on recording studios...

My call is: There is no format war, and certainly nothing for recording studios to worry about in that regard.

DSD is essentially 1-bit PCM. The whole notion that it's this alternative to PCM was concocted in some PR office. And DSD has other issues as well. A well-mixed recording, digital or analog, sounds better to my ears on Redbook than it does on SACD. (Notice I didn't even mention DVD-A.)

What I'm personally seeing is not a format war looming, but rather a format market developing, and the market so far is populated by:

1) Redbook
2) mp3
3) SACD
4) DVD-A
5) vinyl
6) cassette
7) minidisc

You know, just looking at that list makes me feel happy that I'm in the content business, and not the delivery business. All we have to argue over is analog verses digital. Can you imagine if there were five more variables added to that equation??

And on that note, HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYBODY!!!
Old 24th December 2002
  #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by fishtop_records
others like Sonopress will make it
ill have to ask this guy i know that works for them here.... they started right here in town......

maybe you arent into the paranoia aspect of this, but it will affect the middle to lower end of the studio business. at least digital based studios that will probably be better off moving towards DVD-V [NOT A... which is probably DOA now that the V players are making their way into cars now and over 80 million players in households, also the biggest selling consumer electronic product of all time]
Old 24th December 2002
  #10
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Well, I just bought a SACD player and listened to the remasters of the Rolling Stones in PCM and DSD. I have to say the PCM CD does not touch me the same way the tunes did when I heard them for the first time, a loooong time ago on a cheap vinyl record player, but the SACD DSD version did. It was not so much the sound as a certain feel that came across from the SACD, hard to describe.

Now what??? Sell all the PCM gear at the studio and replace it with DSD gear (not even possible yet) or stick with the PCM stuff, knowing there is something better out there? rollz

Merry Christmas y'all
Old 24th December 2002
  #11
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Here's the solution: Record digitally to PCM, mixdown through analog to a 1" two track, and master DSD. It's so simple.....
you can commit to three formats at once
Old 24th December 2002
  #12
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Quote:
posted by mwagener:
Now what??? Sell all the PCM gear at the studio and replace it with DSD gear (not even possible yet) or stick with the PCM stuff, knowing there is something better out there?
Micheal,

Don't hold your breath waiting to make that choice. DSD is a single-bit PCM signal which is virtually impossible to edit or process.

When SACD mastering houses edit or process DSD signal, they convert it to multi-bit signal (usually 8-bit), process the audio, and convert it back to single-bit DSD.

There is and will be no such thing as "DSD gear" for recording studios, outside of mastering to consumer-end product.

As for your Stones SACDs, what you're liking about them is the third-order harmonic distortion that the single-bit convertor introduces into the audio, which some folks find "pleasing." A single-bit convertor, since it's not dithering the audio, is in a constant state of clipping, which colors the sound and lends SACD it's characteristic tone. You could run your Redbook CDs through an Aphex aural exciter and get the same effect. Or you could not...but with SACD you don't have that choice. The distortion introduced by the single-bit convertor cannot be removed.

But hey, you're enjoying your old Stones records, and that's what counts.
Old 24th December 2002
  #13
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Thanx for the ecouraging words guys, maybe I don't have to "sell the farm"

Eric, at the Surround Conference in LA, Genex was showing this 48 track DSD recorder for about $ 20,000, maybe that's the first step into that direction?
Old 24th December 2002
  #14
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48 tracks DSD with converters? for only 20K.....

that sounds hella cheep...

did you getto hear it, or was it just in the talk phase?
Old 24th December 2002
  #15
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No didn't hear it, they didn't have speakers or a mixer hooked up there. But I did see the unit (lights on)
Here is thelink
Old 25th December 2002
  #16
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Quote:
posted by mwagener:
Eric, at the Surround Conference in LA, Genex was showing this 48 track DSD recorder for about $ 20,000, maybe that's the first step into that direction?
In a word, no.

Remember: The Genex piece is still just a recording deck.

You can't mix/EQ/edit/FX your audio in DSD, without converting it to mult-bit PCM. So you're just adding noise to your audio with an unnecessary step by recording to DSD. Seems kinda redundant, especially for a "high-end" kinda guy like yourself!

Theoretically, one could use a box like the Genex to record classical or jazz sources. But again that seems redundant when one could record those sources to multi-bit dithered PCM instead.

Like atticus suggested, if you're really hell-bent on hearing your mix in DSD, simply master to it.

I have to admit I find it amusing, that after all these years of dragging the audio industry kicking and screaming to increase the wordlength of our digital audio for the sake of fidelity, to see engineers find fashion in a single-bit format, not to mention calling it "super-audio" with a straight face.
Old 25th December 2002
  #17
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alphajerk's Avatar
 

if it has 48 channel out you could easily mix it... just mix on an analog board.

who needs to edit...
Old 25th December 2002
  #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by alphajerk
if it has 48 channel out you could easily mix it... just mix on an analog board.

who needs to edit...
OH MY GOD, YOU CAN DO THAT????

( remember when players could play?)
Old 25th December 2002
  #19
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alphajerk's Avatar
 

although i wonder if you can even punch in on a DSD recorder?
Old 25th December 2002
  #20
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Yep, gapless punch in and out ( so they claim)
Old 25th December 2002
  #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by alphajerk

although its DVD-V decks that are in 80+million homes in america and making their way into cars now. not SACD decks.
That's the key:

The unprecedented public acceptance of DVD-V is the largest impediment to the establishment of high-resolution audio formats,

BECAUSE:

The public's embrace of DVD-V has and is saturating the market with players that lack, by and large, high-resolution audio capability (aside from the stop-gap hi-res of DVD-V, but that's not what we're talking about). With regular audio DVD-V players becoming so firmly entrenched, regular buyers will not buy a second player with DVD-A or SACD capability until it's time to toss out their current players. In other words, the first and second generation DVD-V players spread like a disease, and established themselves before audio refinements had a chance to get on board. It will take an entire product cycle of several years before hi-res audio crawls its way out of Tom Jung's audio outhouse and into regular people's living rooms.

BTW, friends in retail tell me that consumers who are buying this stuff prefer SACD over DVD-A for a variety of reasons.

Merry X-Max

-MattiMattMatt
Old 29th December 2002
  #22
urumita
 
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I've tried to create threads on this without success. Here it goes. I've already been asked to record in this format, piano trio, japanese jazz label, willing to pay for someone who knows.
The technology is here, it doesn't cost that much more, than high end digital and less than high end analog. It just takes my lazy ass self to learn yet another format.
If someone (who pays) believes that one format is better than another, he's correct. Having this equipment will bring me more business,(?) most of this stuff does PCM as well, better than most of the stuff that's there already. For me it's almost a no think. System that does both at high quality etc... bye-bye DD and MacOS, seeya...
the problem now is that there are no intimate control surface formats that aren't MIDI based. How do the sony pre s. rate against th DD Control/24 pre s.?
My idea of a small to medium "studio", not the home or project variety, should be able to stand the weather. It's just diversity. If you have to work with those who demand a certain perceived quality there's almost no choice as to what to do.
Study, I hope it goes better than the switch to digital and learning how not to use compression anymore, or maybe I can go back to my old nasty ways. waddayatink about this, they say don't believe evryting you read. But who are they?
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Old 1st January 2003
  #23
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Oh yeah, VHS won over Beta but Beta is still being used as a pro format. The discussion might be: is DSD really better for recording, editing and mixing professionally, does it give us back that je ne sais pas quoi, will it work better as an archiving standard, will the entities that pay for recordings demand it even if it sounds like shit etc...? Besides Genex there's Pyramix that has editing software with lots of DSP. Genex creates files for 48 tracks in raw DSD, nobody supports the editing of these files, yet!
The consumer can use whatever format it wants to. Just because the cassette was the most popular once doesn't mean that every studio started recording solely on cassettes. DVD V plays CD, people have massive CD collections and there are lots of CD players in cars. It's not the best format but I don't see it disappearing overnight and I don't see how other high resolution mediums will reach more than the elitists. MP(?N) How long do you think it will be before you download a movie from the internet and keep it for ever mastered on something that's not out yet.?No dedicated players, no media that will be outdated or damaged. No factories that create pollution etc... Just pure files and the viewing and listenig hardware connected to your computer.
Then I see that the ultimate consumer format could be made for the masses.
Old 2nd January 2003
  #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by Curve Dominant
As for your Stones SACDs, what you're liking about them is the third-order harmonic distortion that the single-bit convertor introduces into the audio, which some folks find "pleasing." A single-bit convertor, since it's not dithering the audio, is in a constant state of clipping, which colors the sound and lends SACD it's characteristic tone. You could run your Redbook CDs through an Aphex aural exciter and get the same effect.

The RS remasters sound allot better than the old CDs even on a regular player, but on SACD / DSD they were fantastic to my ears. It's actually the closest i've come to feeling I was in the room, listening to the mix coming off the multitrack, that i've heard off of a digital format.

Probably better than the vinyl :eek:, although I haven't compared the two.

So you've allready decided PCM sounds better than DSD? The tone off of the DSD sounded to me nothing like an "Aural Exciter", it just sounded (almost) like I could have been listening to the analog masters.

Quote:
But hey, you're enjoying your old Stones records, and that's what counts.

Well exactly, I hate to see people trying to 'prove' that equiptment or formats sound bad through technical information.

We all know that that's a load of
dfegad

Audio is so subjective you just have to listen.

If I was only interested in specifications, I'd probably have a studio full of Mackie stuff, having read their ads!

But out of interest, why do say DSD is in a 'permanent state of clipping'?
Old 2nd January 2003
  #25
Gear nut
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Curve Dominant
. You could run your Redbook CDs through an Aphex aural exciter and get the same effect.
Complete rubbish.

You remain a rigorous proof for the Little Knowledge = Dangerous Thing Theorem.
Old 2nd January 2003
  #26
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Quote:
posted by nick:
So you've allready decided PCM sounds better than DSD?
Nick,

Who or what gave you the impression that "DSD" is not "PCM"??

DSD is 1-bit PCM. DVD-A is 24-bit PCM.

That is the only significant difference between DSD and DVD-A.

The sampling rates between those two formats differ, but not in any way that would have any impact on the audio quality.

1-bit verses 24-bit...but 1-bit is supposed to be "Super Audio"?? I know, Nick, I felt the same way when I first delved into this ...a bit like Alice, tumbling down the Rabbit Hole...not knowing what to expect next.

Quote:
I hate to see people trying to 'prove' that equiptment or formats sound bad through technical information.

We all know that that's a load of...

Audio is so subjective you just have to listen.
Agreed. That is why I went to the trouble to conduct an A/B/X test between SACD and Redbook, for my own ears, in an acoustically sealed and treated room, on $4K monitors, at a high-end audio outlet here in downtown Philadelphia. To my ears, SACD sounded clearly inferior. Your mileage may vary.

Quote:
If I was only interested in specifications, I'd probably have a studio full of Mackie stuff, having read their ads!
Good point...That having been stated, why do you take Sony's claims about DSD on face of their ads? If you feel the need to get "under the hood" of the Mackie stuff, why not apply the same engineering standards to DSD? Because if you had, you would know the answer to your next question...

Quote:
But out of interest, why do say DSD is in a 'permanent state of clipping'?
Ahhh...good question, Nick.

You know that DSD is audio that is converted through 1-bit delta-sigma modulation, right? Right.

So, Nick, my question to you is:

How do you dither a 1-bit signal?

Nick,

Please bear in mind: I'm not trying to fight with you here. All I am offering you is the truth, nothing else.

Ignore that question, and you will wake up tomorrow. believing whatever you want to believe.

Or: Find the answer to that question, and you'll see how far down the rabbit hole goes.
Old 2nd January 2003
  #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by Curve Dominant
Good point...That having been stated, why do you take Sony's claims about DSD on face of their ads? If you feel the need to get "under the hood" of the Mackie stuff, why not apply the same engineering standards to DSD? Because if you had, you would know the answer to your next question...

I don't take their claims at face value... my judgment is based what i've heard so far.

I'm really not interested in specs as a means of assesing the sonic qualities of things. I think Fletcher said "I don't record specifications".

Quote:
How do you dither a 1-bit signal?

I know you may think I am contradicting myself by asking this, but again out of curiosity: what, in basic terms, is the great importance of dithering in the context of 'SACD' mastering?
Old 3rd January 2003
  #28
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Curve Dominant writes: "DSD is 1-bit PCM. DVD-A is 24-bit PCM."

I don't think it's quite that simple.
Old 3rd January 2003
  #29
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Quote:
posted by Geetar:
quote:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Curve Dominant
. You could run your Redbook CDs through an Aphex aural exciter and get the same effect.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


Complete rubbish.

You remain a rigorous proof for the Little Knowledge = Dangerous Thing Theorem.
Geetar,

You've made quite a splash with your first post on Gearslutz, I have to admit.

A puerile personal insult, followed by a distinct lack of on-topic follow-up information. A bit bored and uninformed, are we?

My condolences.
Old 3rd January 2003
  #30
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Quote:
posted by nick:
I don't take their claims at face value... my judgment is based what i've heard so far.

I'm really not interested in specs as a means of assesing the sonic qualities of things. I think Fletcher said "I don't record specifications".


quote:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
How do you dither a 1-bit signal?
------------------------------------------------------------------------
I know you may think I am contradicting myself by asking this, but again out of curiosity: what, in basic terms, is the great importance of dithering in the context of 'SACD' mastering?
nick,

Yes, you are contradicting yourself, quite blatantly.

On the one hand you are condescendingly lecturing me about the irrelevence of technical issues to our craft. Then you turn around and ask me to take the time to school you about technical issues related to our craft.

What's it gonna be, son? Because I already feel like I'm talking to a brick wall.
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