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Analog vs Digital...the last word Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 15th September 2011
  #61
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You guys realize tape recorders and analog synths doesn't grow on trees right ? They don't occur in nature,they're man made. The notion that differences in air pressure being converted into electricity used to magnetically align iron oxide particles is somehow more natural than anything else is simply absurd.
Old 15th September 2011
  #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3phase View Post
I once heard the interesting theory that the sensitivity to digital sound artefacts is genetic and that there are certain people that really dont get a difference while having elsewise perfect listening while others feel alienated on a psychoacoustic level by artefacts that are theoretical below the borders of human perception.
I believe this. We get evidence of that in the VCO vs DCO threads. Some people just don't hear the difference, while others do.

Some people believe an emulation of VCO-drift is the same as the real thing, others can still hear the difference.

I can hear those differences, yet there are times when I can't hear if something is in (western-style) tune or not. I tend to naturally want to gravitate to eastern-style gamelan tunings when harmonising anyway, so I'm not too bothered about perhaps being incapable of writing Western pop standards.


I remember a few blind tests in this forum, and us analogue big-ears guessed right...so we're not imagining it either, and clearly digitizing music makes no or little difference to the inherent sound character. It's at source is where the magic is made, and this is why we keep debating it. The "at source" reason also explains why all those great acoustic sample DVD's sound like the real thing...nothing to do with the digital medium it's saved on, everything to do with how the sound was created.


I want to do another blind-test thread myself because my synths cover pretty much the whole spectrum:

- VCO mono (Dark Energy)
- VCO poly (Polysix)
- DCO poly (Alpha Juno 2)
- VA poly (Virus KB)
- digital ROMpler (JV-1010)
- hybrid (Microwave I)
- wavetable (Wavestation A/D)
- soft (will borrow my mate's Legacy or something)


Unless someone wants to do the thread with their own synths...I'll happily join the guessing


I should probably state that I don't necessarily believe analogue is better than digital...but it's certainly different and I believe digital synths would be better served creating their own types of synthesis rather than fighting a losing battle by attempting to emulate analogue sound.
Old 15th September 2011
  #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nkf View Post
That's utterly nonsense. Your trick or error is to separate information from the physical domain. With this little trick you can build argumentations for whatever you want. Analog recordings and digital recordings are capturing information on physical carriers, whatever the medium is.
You of cause can see any media that can store music as a carrier of information.. true..

but how is that information stored and retrieved?

On analoge media its energetic processes.. the original waveform itself is transfered into electronic waveforms thru a microphone.. easiest to understand on a dynamic mike.. where the airpressur wave actually creates electricity by the movement of the coil in the magnetic field.. ..in the electronic domain the waveform can be amplified or filtered.. but allways the original waveform, or what is left from it, is directly controling the current flow and therfore is present in the produced output ac voltage.

All this processes need the suplly of external energy sources to create the amplifikation. but the output is the result of a multiplikation.. but its an analog process..like in the mechanical domain. its no calculation. Like mechanical gears a direct translation.. And this process has losses.. and noise builds up.. external energy just heating up the room..only a little percentage actually really used to magnify our waveform...
Than the storage :

1) on tape.. iron molekules get moved around analog to the waveform...
resolution not infinite .. freq response rather poor.... however.. this is the moment where our former waveform can be seen as stored information.. before we had a lighspeed fast process.. now the waveform is stored.. like a mamoth in ice somehow..

2) same on the record cutting. the waveform directly moves teh cutting needle that engraves the wave form directly into a laquer plate... like glaciers moved moutains the grooves are cutted into the carrier as diorect representation of the waveform.. but with brute force thru electric amplification cutted in to a hard material.. really frozen in time

We have stored an electro mechanical energy. Is this information now? yes.. in a format we cant understand.. because its the waveform itself..with losses.. no mathematical formular that would allow a computer to recalculate the event.. and to replay it we have to apply energy to melt the ice..rotate the record.. and let the playback needle bounce against the sharp edges in the grooves of the record.. and this needle directly creates electricity again out of that mechanical energy and this in the end drives our speaker in another electromechanical process.. Is there still some caruso inside?

So except the time on our carrier we have an all energetic analog process. And what we had stored on our carrier is the direct result of applied brute mechanical energy.. like an micro earthquake that errects moutains...CAn the information that got stored by this process be seen as kinetik energy?

The answer to that question makes the whole theorie bull**** or not..
And as i understood a physics professor i talked once to regarding the topic there is no quick or easy answer on that one.

And thats enough for me to see it as kinetik energy and not plain information. It holds an information.. but as the direct result of energetic processes..

Of cause we can argue about wether this is just an phantastic micro/macro cosm analogy to look at the process as a thermo dynamic thing..
I am an artist i am allowed to do so..and the truth? which truth?
In the audio world? where evrthing has teh best possible sound nature can provide just to see an update next year that has an even better sound nature can provide?...

Analoge versus digital? A technology that dont leaves us much choices.

Is there really the option that it can sound as good as analog processing one day?

Its not very fast.. sluggish slow in realtion actually.. but processores get faster.. lightspeed fast one day?

There is a significant difference between the digital process and the analoge one..

in the moment a waveform gets digitized we leave the energetic domain.. we actualy describe the waveform in numbers. Each sample gets a numeric value.. you could write them all down by hand if it wouldnt be so many.. you can copy this information unlimitetd times without losses because no energetic or mechanical processes are involved.. its actually like a mathematical formula..

Oner that allows to render a new waveform according to that plan.

IS that really the same thing? As fascinating the niquist theorem is.. A rather 3 dimensonal event as a waveform..that in all other storrage media actually has a 3 dimensional component.. voltage and phase relations over time.. air pressure and frequency over time.. cut depth and velocity over time..

versus absolute level readout over time...

thats enough to have a complete reproduction and all what we miss is our beloved noise and distortions .. Plus a lot of digital high freq artefacts and stuff that colour the sound in evil ways...

thats the official version.. and probably the truth..

But i wanted to put the rather philosophic spotlight on the fact that we have to very different type of storrage processes here.. an mechanical one.. and an informational mathematical one..

so i think its valid to claim that digital data has somehow left our physical cosmos and when it gets reconstructed we just hear a ghost track that might miss something... buuuhhhhh ..
isnt that a nice tail from the analog crypth ?
Old 15th September 2011
  #64
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Record your Vinyl record with a very good 24 Bit converter at a reasonable input level,
dither and burn an Audio CD. Do you hear any loss?


thanks
Old 15th September 2011
  #65
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zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by niklasni1 View Post
Yeah, sound from a digital source run through a digital->analogue converter isn't really analogue at all. Your speakers know the difference and aren't vibrating when you run digital sound through it, they're jumping in tiny little steps directly from one position to the other whilst sticking their middle finger up at physics. Believe the hype and get adjusting that 2" tape deck of yours.
Hahaha. Too funny. Screw physics!
Old 15th September 2011
  #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3phase View Post
As fascinating the niquist theorem is.. A rather 3 dimensonal event as a waveform..that in all other storrage media actually has a 3 dimensional component.. voltage and phase relations over time.. air pressure and frequency over time.. cut depth and velocity over time..
Great, now all we need is 3d microphones and 3d speakers and we're laughing.
Old 15th September 2011
  #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhollmusik View Post
I believe digital synths would be better served creating their own types of synthesis rather than fighting a losing battle by attempting to emulate analogue sound.
While i agree that digital synths should look for their own ways as with yamahas FM synthesis I actually want the analoge emulation attempts to get much better.. .. Its good that the digital fraction trys to proove that its really just the result of some distortions and can be emulated..

We anyway have to work earlier or later in the digital domain.. Thats just the sad destiny of the majority of music you do produce .. MAybe once in a while you can do a direct cut on vinyl for sentimental reasons.. but the 21th century is digital.. so this technology has to learn as much as it can about analoge sound phenomenons..

Sofar i never have heard a recording of a good analoge syntheziser that really touched me as much as the real event... As soon i listen behind my converters something is lost... maybe they are just not good enough? theoretical there shouldt be a difference between the real sound event and the recording.. but there is one.

Analoge synths under a sequencer are pretty revealing.. because you can compare the original soundsource with the recording in a direct A/B.. with acoustic musicans not really possible.. of cause we have slight sound variations too.. but the difference is more substancial than that...
maybe i really just need better converters... Problem..they are pretty good allready.. And the test had similar results in the studios with the best converters money can buy.. seems that theese better converters are not on the market yet.

I actually would prefer that digital technology nails the analog one regarding sonic qualitys. Regardless wether we talk about recording technology or electronic instruments.. That would be perfect...

Just when? When there would be a synchronity between the development of digital sound technology and the analoge one..with a start with bells patent in 1876...and we are in the year 1911 now.. we would need at least another 25-50 years to have it really nice
Old 15th September 2011
  #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jupiter8 View Post
Great, now all we need is 3d microphones and 3d speakers and we're laughing.

oh laugh.. but you actually have
Old 15th September 2011
  #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3phase View Post
oh laugh.. but you actually have
Have what ?
Old 15th September 2011
  #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeProducer View Post

Record your Vinyl record with a very good 24 Bit converter at a reasonable input level,
dither and burn an Audio CD. Do you hear any loss?


thanks

sure you do.. just witnessed the digital conversion of some very expensive jazz records in ricardo villalobos studio...that is very well amplified and tuned down to 20 hz.. the speakers 100000.- and teh converters dont ask me but the best he could get for an unlimited budget..record player EMT over a custom preamp for 20000.- ... the difference on the digitized version was quite significant in relation to the record.. On my home system the digitzed file was very good thou.. just the direct camparison over his big cans was not so promissing. Pefection is tomorow.. not yet available.
sorry.. I am as sad as you about that
Old 15th September 2011
  #71
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This subject is a very complex topic, and a lot of the nay sayers like the guy above saying record your vinyl to cd and it will sound the same. They completely over simplify the whole subject area.

The truth of the difference is NOT that digital CAN'T sound like Analogue, excluding sub sonic and super high frequencies frequencies of course it can.

The FACT is that it inherantly DOESN'T sound like analogue, and the truth behind that is a little bit like CG work in movies, and the uncanny valley effect.

The very fact that at somepoint in its life physics and physical components have acted on the sound in small ways is what we pick up on, small distortions are added and lots of other little tells.... these effect are subtle and most people couldn't pick out in an A/B test as our ears are not subjective enough for us to make that call, but subconciously we know, we feel it, if you will.

Just like when you see a good CG human face in a movie, they have gone to great lengths to put in all the minute detail to make it look real, but you can still tell!!! but as time goes by the recreation is getting better and better.

Even hardware DIGITAL synths have more of these effects from there components on them than softsynths. Softsynths only have WHAT they add themselves via algorhythms written by the people who make the softsynths. (which might I add are getting better and better each month) what fx you spent time adding,(and you always have to SPEND TIME making soft synths sound good imho) and the physical effects of the D/A and equipment you run it through to your monitors.

The effects I speak of are many, complex and all effect the audio in tiny differing ways, thats why its taking so long to figure out how to recreate these effects in the pure mathematic environment of a computer. No doubt they will get there but there not there yet.

You can capture these effects in digital, that over simplification is missing the point, you need to have this sound to capture it and thats whats most important.

You could look at it like this, Analogue systems small or large...do a lot of unintended processing which we like the sound of, in music the most important things to get right are the small things, the minute things and the unquantifiable things, thats why this un intended additional noise however small IS nice and important and it is wrong to completely dissmiss it with a over simplified idea.

So In my humble opinion you are cheating yourself if you think theres no important difference.
Old 15th September 2011
  #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3phase View Post
sure you do.. just witnessed the digital conversion of some very expensive jazz records in ricardo villalobos studio...that is very well amplified and tuned down to 20 hz.. the speakers 100000.- and teh converters dont ask me but the best he could get for an unlimited budget..record player EMT over a custom preamp for 20000.- ... the difference on the digitized version was quite significant in relation to the record.. On my home system the digitzed file was very good thou.. just the direct camparison over his big cans was not so promissing. Pefection is tomorow.. not yet available.
sorry.. I am as sad as you about that
aha, and where were you, in his room or on youtube?

Not sure if Villalobos really represents the high end audiophile listener.
There is so much acting involved in this business. Do the test yourself.

Quote:
The truth of the difference is NOT that digital CAN'T sound like Analogue, excluding sub sonic and super high frequencies frequencies of course it can.
what is the problem with subsonic frequencies and high frequencies?
A CD goes lower down than anything else. And the audio spectrum is beyond what I can hear.

Quote:
The very fact that at somepoint in its life physics and physical components have acted on the sound in small ways is what we pick up on, small distortions are added and lots of other little tells.... these effect are subtle and most people couldn't pick out in an A/B test as our ears are not subjective enough for us to make that call, but subconciously we know, we feel it, if you will.
Thats why I say: record an already recorded analog source, a Vinyl, tape, whatever.
There you have your little distortions brought to the digital media.
Old 15th September 2011
  #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jupiter8 View Post
Have what ?
the way a membrane moves to transform electrical into acoustical energy and the other way aroaund is everything else than 2 dimensonal..

As the airpressure waves in a room are everything else than 2 dimensional.

Sound is a multidimensional phenomenon. Some people even think it´s the force that holds the universe together and the source of gravity... but that might be science fiction
Old 15th September 2011
  #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeProducer View Post
what is the problem with subsonic frequencies and high frequencies?
A CD goes lower down than anything else. And the audio spectrum is beyond what I can hear.
I was refering to the fact that digital systems only record data for a SET frequency band, not that I am saying that would make a huge difference> I was pointing out it was one of many many, small differences in a VERY complex situation which cannot really be brought down to one simple argument.
Old 15th September 2011
  #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3phase View Post
the way a membrane moves to transform electrical into acoustical energy and the other way aroaund is everything else than 2 dimensonal..

As the airpressure waves in a room are everything else than 2 dimensional.

Sound is a multidimensional phenomenon. Some people even think it´s the force that holds the universe together and the source of gravity... but that might be science fiction
So in microphones that have only 1 dimension in/out resulting in less or more voltage going thru a cable who's only properties change is more or less voltage going into a speaker cone who can only move in one dimension, analog somehow more accurately captures what is going on beyond that 1 dimension ?
I find that somewhat hard to believe.
Old 15th September 2011
  #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3phase View Post
Sound is a multidimensional phenomenon. Some people even think it´s the force that holds the universe together and the source of gravity... but that might be science fiction
one of the dimensions is called BELIEVE
Old 15th September 2011
  #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeProducer View Post
Thats why I say: record an already recorded analog source, a Vinyl, tape, whatever.
There you have your little distortions brought to the digital media.

Yes mate, exactly you would capture one specific "performance" if you will of the analogue distortions. Obviously another thing to take into account is that they are always varying.

For instance sampling a old jupiter synth, each time you hit the key it'll sound slightly different, so a lot of companys now sample the same keys 3 or 4 times and round robin and still then your only capturing 3 or 4 snapshots of the true variation.
Old 15th September 2011
  #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeProducer View Post
aha, and where were you, in his room or on youtube?

Not sure if Villalobos really represents the high end audiophile listener.
There is so much acting involved in this business. Do the test yourself.
he actually represents the audiophile listener in archetypical ways.. would you spend 20000.- on a preamp just to digitize expensive jazz records ?

however.. independent from the preamp his speaker setup is nice.. very nice and revealing. and i was present in the room on multiple occasions where digital technology failed to really reproduce what was there in a 1:1 fashion as it promisses..
Old 15th September 2011
  #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FeelAudio(Matt) View Post
Yes mate, exactly you would capture one specific "performance" if you will of the analogue distortions. Obviously another thing to take into account is that they are always varying.

For instance sampling a old jupiter synth, each time you hit the key it'll sound slightly different, so a lot of companys now sample the same keys 3 or 4 times and round robin and still then your only capturing 3 or 4 snapshots of the true variation.
Mate, did you know that Vinyls sound best when you play them the first time?

Made that experience often enough. The bass is often slightly sucked out, it looses a little bit of the punch. As well as the very crisp heights. So its good to take a snapshot of the fresh Vinyl and conserve it forever.
Old 15th September 2011
  #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3phase View Post
however.. independent from the preamp his speaker setup is nice.. very nice and revealing. and i was present in the room on multiple occasions where digital technology failed to really reproduce what was there in a 1:1 fashion as it promisses..
That's what he tells the rest of the world. But if so, why not every mastering engineer is using them?
Old 15th September 2011
  #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeProducer View Post
Mate, did you know that Vinyls sound best when you play them the first time?
Yes completely, another little physical process going on in terms of vinyl recording specifically there, they fall apart hehe entropy.
Old 15th September 2011
  #82
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Not much, but in his defence i think it gives people a little bit of an insight into how complex the analogue world is. And how much stuff is going on.

So over simplify and discount at your peril hehe.
Old 15th September 2011
  #83
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Argh, sorry I deleted my questioning the relevance of the vinyl thing, but then I got the take-a-snapshot point
Old 15th September 2011
  #84
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you'll never separate the anal from the analogue.
Old 15th September 2011
  #85
nkf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3phase View Post
but allways the original waveform, or what is left from it, is directly controling the current flow and therfore is present in the produced output ac voltage.
First you wrote 'always original waveform' and then 'what is left from it' ... I think you should decide which route you go. The waveform is quantized, grained and whatever not only with tape but also thru physics on a molecular basis. The waveform you see as drawings is a graphical model it's not the physics itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3phase View Post
because its the waveform itself..with losses..
The 'waveform' in your thinking seems to be like a god like entity which emanates in and/or thru analog technical processes. I think this is were the nonsense starts. IMO you have to overcome this irrationality.
Waveforms are not transferred into other physical media they get 'stored' analog in an inflexible manner. That means ANALOG (German: entsprechend) to the original waveform, for using this storage to rebuild an approximation of the original waveform in the future. So in fact analog or digital technologies are storing 'your' waveform as an informational representation, just that digital storage can be much more precise and allows better manipulation (editing).

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3phase View Post
And thats enough for me to see it as kinetik energy and not plain information. It holds an information.. but as the direct result of energetic processes..
I think you made a word puzzle for yourself here ... if something has no information it is noise, chaos, random ... if something is brought into state of orders, no matter if it is magnetic particles or pits on a CD or whatever analog or digital, it holds information.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 3phase View Post
so i think its valid to claim that digital data has somehow left our physical cosmos
No.
Old 15th September 2011
  #86
nkf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3phase View Post
and i was present in the room on multiple occasions where digital technology failed to really reproduce what was there in a 1:1 fashion as it promisses..
Which doesn't prove anything as long as there is no scientific test with a thesis and some rigorous setup. It seems there is always the cardboard character called 'digital' that fails and falls down ... because it is staged like that ... (self fulfilling prophecy)
What is compared to what and why?
Old 15th September 2011
  #87
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If it sounds good, it IS good.

Perfectionism is overrated and highly restrictive in today's society
Old 15th September 2011
  #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nkf View Post
Which doesn't prove anything as long as there is no scientific test with a thesis and some rigorous setup. It seems there is always the cardboard character called 'digital' that fails and falls down ... because it is staged like that ... (self fulfilling prophecy)
What is compared to what and why?
but what is when everybody in the room wants the digital recording to win? Than there should be a tendency for the test to be positive, right? ...
When you spend so much money on converters and need to digitize the records for dj sets or own masters you actually want the digital to be as good as promised.

But the digital conversions just wasnt as good as the original. In quite obvious ways.. Actualy rather a day night thing than the subtile question wether you can hear esoteric audio cables or not... A thing where ricardos studio is actually also pretty good to give answers. on propper studio symetric linelevel devices.. no..

Actually a test where your selfhypnosis theory should produce a pro monster cable result..

I think its actually a difference when people that are not easy to impress and are trained to listen to quality differences do such tests.. when i can spot a clear better or worse i really trust my ears.. when its subtile ok.one can argue.. but wasnt subtile at all.
Old 15th September 2011
  #89
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Vinyl and MP3 are both better than CD.
Old 15th September 2011
  #90
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just want to add to be fair that the digitizing of vinyl is one of the most demanding tasks because we have subharmonics in the <10hz range and overtones above 20 k out of the needle dance thru the grooves..

however actual digital formats promise us that that is beyond the borders of our reception and dont matters..
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