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Why Does Modern Digital Not Sound Better Than 80s Digital?
Old 5th February 2019
  #811
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burns46824 View Post
Cassettes can sound as good or better than CD, in my experience. Then again, I'm using excellent cassettes, excellent converters, and excellent cassette players when making/playing my mixtapes. Very few people are in the same boat.
Correct, some 25 years ago I found out that top quality cassette beats or equals DAT, nothing controversial in this claim, despite the typical knee-jerk responses.

I would more or less always sing, whistle, drum and rap along to cassettes in my first two cars, the sound was so inspiring, whereas I play cd's in my big assed German car maybe once a year nowadays, before I turn it off. No singing.. lol
Old 5th February 2019
  #812
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
The cassette was a horrible format.

CD should be very much better than it is - it's only because everything is compressed into oblivion due to the "loudness wars" that CD sound's bad.

If you did only light compression (or no compression at all) CD would sound wonderful.

If you used the same compression on a CD that you do for vinyl, the CD would wipe the floor with vinyl with all the horrible vinyl distortions. `It's only because record companies b*gger up the CD that vinyl is having a resurgence.
I disagree. Most of the cds I listen to are from before the loudness wars etc, and you know what? They still sound like cds. The typical loudness from modern day mastering is more or less necessary due to the ever diminishing size of playback devices. A low level master with not enough compression won't translate on 99 percent of playback devices. It's the consequence of 30 years of bean-counting.
Old 5th February 2019
  #813
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crosscutred's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timesaver800W View Post
Correct, some 25 years ago I found out that top quality cassette beats or equals DAT, nothing controversial in this claim, despite the typical knee-jerk responses.

I would more or less always sing, whistle, drum and rap along to cassettes in my first two cars, the sound was so inspiring, whereas I play cd's in my big assed German car maybe once a year nowadays, before I turn it off. No singing.. lol
I agree with this, my experience of playing master tapes to store them "tails out" while I get on with other tasks often gets me dancing and singing along. Same with vinyl.
Digital playback at any resolution rarely gets me excited, on a subconscious level, in the same way. I don't know what is lost during conversion, but something is.

I have an idea it's about infrasound, but I'm not sure I've got the energy for the inevitable chorus of "but Nyquist/Shannon...."
Old 5th February 2019
  #814
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timesaver800W View Post
Correct, some 25 years ago I found out that top quality cassette beats or equals DAT, nothing controversial in this claim, despite the typical knee-jerk responses.

I would more or less always sing, whistle, drum and rap along to cassettes in my first two cars, the sound was so inspiring, whereas I play cd's in my big assed German car maybe once a year nowadays, before I turn it off. No singing.. lol
Whaaat !

Cassettes are HORRIBLE compared to DAT.

Cassettes have wow, flutter, noise, print-through, etc... Horrible!

To like cassettes better than DAT all you are saying is that you like distortion.

A well-recorded DAT can be virtually indistinguishable from the actual performance.
Old 5th February 2019
  #815
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crosscutred's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post

To like cassettes better than DAT all you are saying is that you like distortion.
Errr, yeah. You can buy pedals for it you know.
Old 5th February 2019
  #816
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Silvertone's Avatar
I’m with John on this one.

Even if a cassette sounds decent at first it will not after multiple plays.

So tired of the claim that CD’s are inferior to... fill in the blank.

CD’s sound way better than streaming, yet I’ll bet the majority of people posting in this thread stream music... I don’t, I cannot stand how it sounds.

I’ll listen to vinyl but that isn’t superior either... just different.

Hold onto your CD’s cause 30 years from now when the nostalgia phase kicks in they’re gonna be worth a fortune. lol

What’s old is new again... some things never change.

Or

“What’s in is out, what’s out is in, if you don’t know that where have you been”



Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
Whaaat !

Cassettes are HORRIBLE compared to DAT.

Cassettes have wow, flutter, noise, print-through, etc... Horrible!

To like cassettes better than DAT all you are saying is that you like distortion.

A well-recorded DAT can be virtually indistinguishable from the actual performance.
Old 5th February 2019
  #817
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

I went digital in 1983 as it was so very much better than analogue.

I record classical and used to use a ½-track open-reel recorder at 7½ or 15 ips.

In 1983 I went digital with a Sony PCM-F1, added CLUE later; about 10 years later I got a pair of Fostex D-10 DAT recorders. I added computer editing shortly after.

I went 24-bit with the Foxtex FR-2 and bought my Nagra VI when it first came out and added an AETA 4MinX later.

I always found digital far better than analogue - no more minor speed variations that would mess up the sound of a piano - in fact I have had comments that people who have been playing my piano recordings on their CD player have had comments: "I didn't know you had a piano" the recording was so realistic. No more tape hiss or print-through or degradation with use.

Very much better.

But I always used the best microphones I could and invested in microphones first over stuff that goes out of date quickly (Yes I know my DAT recorders were over £2k each when I bought them and are worth about £2 now ).

But my microphones have increased in value.

Vinyl is horrible and so distorted - I have a cut master here - played just once and it is amazing how much gets lost between the cut master and the pressed vinyl LP.

Digital can be absolutely wonderful - providing it is recorded properly and not destroyed in the mastering process by the bean counters.
Old 5th February 2019
  #818
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Yannick's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
I always found digital far better than analogue - no more minor speed variations that would mess up the sound of a piano
This is exactly why digital recording is superior.
The piano.
Old 5th February 2019
  #819
Gear Addict
 

The only analog I miss not having access to is quality analog. Wide track width quality analog tape machines. For rock and other styles of music it sometimes does something euphonious with the saturation and compression. Beyond that I don't miss cassettes, noisy wow and flutter things they were. I grew up making mixtapes etc, best quality chrome tape, no Dolby (hated the lack of top end) printed hot. No matter what you tried though that narrow track and crawling tape speed was impossible to overcome. Never mind the cruddy transports. Also grew up with vinyl, and the cleaners, static guards etc it took to make a record play half quietly. Bought the quality pressing when I could blah blah.

Forget it, CDs when done right blew the socks off of those delivery mediums. 24 bit digital sounds just a tiny hair better. Of course everyone listens to MP3s now which is almost like the cassettes of the modern age. At this point with cheap data storage and fast streaming you would think we could finally go to at least lossless audio coding (ie FLAC)
Old 5th February 2019
  #820
Gear Guru
The best cassette recordings I ever made were with a portastudio using the full tape width and running at the highest speed possible. Making protection masters was an incredible PIA and expensive in tape costs. Conversion is a necessary evil these days, good luck distributing analog!.......
Old 5th February 2019
  #821
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
I went digital in 1983 as it was so very much better than analogue.

I record classical and used to use a ½-track open-reel recorder at 7½ or 15 ips.

In 1983 I went digital with a Sony PCM-F1, added CLUE later; about 10 years later I got a pair of Fostex D-10 DAT recorders. I added computer editing shortly after.

I went 24-bit with the Foxtex FR-2 and bought my Nagra VI when it first came out and added an AETA 4MinX later.

I always found digital far better than analogue - no more minor speed variations that would mess up the sound of a piano - in fact I have had comments that people who have been playing my piano recordings on their CD player have had comments: "I didn't know you had a piano" the recording was so realistic. No more tape hiss or print-through or degradation with use.

Very much better.

But I always used the best microphones I could and invested in microphones first over stuff that goes out of date quickly (Yes I know my DAT recorders were over £2k each when I bought them and are worth about £2 now ).

But my microphones have increased in value.

Vinyl is horrible and so distorted - I have a cut master here - played just once and it is amazing how much gets lost between the cut master and the pressed vinyl LP.

Digital can be absolutely wonderful - providing it is recorded properly and not destroyed in the mastering process by the bean counters.
+1 John but the perfection of the digital is a nightmare for the market.
Old 5th February 2019
  #822
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dinococcus View Post
+1 John but the perfection of the digital is a nightmare for the market.
No, the nightmare for the market is that you can clone it on your laptop.
Old 5th February 2019
  #823
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
No, the nightmare for the market is that you can clone it on your laptop.
I don't talk about label but brands of DA.
Old 5th February 2019
  #824
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dinococcus View Post
I don't talk about label but brands of DA.
This goes on the list of quotes for my rotating-monthly GS sig. Thanks.
Old 5th February 2019
  #825
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertone View Post
CD’s sound way better than streaming, yet I’ll bet the majority of people posting in this thread stream music... I don’t, I cannot stand how it sounds.
Agreed.
Old 5th February 2019
  #826
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timesaver800W View Post
Correct, some 25 years ago I found out that top quality cassette beats or equals DAT, nothing controversial in this claim, despite the typical knee-jerk responses.
I have also compared high-quality cassette to CD. Cassette sounds just as good, but warmer. I still love CD, though. Go buy a Sony D-303 and thank me later.
Old 5th February 2019
  #827
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
Yes, early CDs sounded good most of the time if they were correctly mastered. Later re-masters just got worse and worse as they were compressed too much and the music was lost.
This is why I collect earlier Sony 1630 mastered CD's. That was before the squashing engineers took over. Some of those earlier discs are impressive. Compare a 1630 mastered "Electric Ladyland" from the 1980's to the later MCA versions where the top end is gone and the compression is full up = ruined Hendrix.
Old 5th February 2019
  #828
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertone View Post
So tired of the claim that CD’s are inferior to... fill in the blank.
When I fill in the blank, I put "stuff that's never been digital."
Old 5th February 2019
  #829
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tymish View Post
Of course everyone listens to MP3s now which is almost like the cassettes of the modern age
I hope not - I find MP3 so horrible I can't listen to it at all.

I have no MP3 files at all.
Old 5th February 2019
  #830
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whippoorwill's Avatar
Tape, even cassettes, with modern opamps or discrete technology and metal or high ips tapes can sound excellent.
Cassettes can have about 70db S/N with gentle soft clipping at the extreme top. 1" tape run at 30ips can have more S/N than you need and any noise heard is beautiful and velvety. A lot of my go-to reference recordings were made to tape, stuff by Roy duNann, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, Kavi Alexander, Steve Albini, Fred Plaut, Hudson Fair, Attila Faravelli, some Billie Holiday, etc.

Georges Quellet made his first tape machine out of meccano bits. I couldn't make a WAV player from first principles to save my life.
Old 5th February 2019
  #831
Gear Guru
Cassettes also break and aren't fun to fix......
Old 5th February 2019
  #832
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ardis View Post
Cassettes also break and aren't fun to fix......
plus you never find mp3s stretched out for a quarter-mile along the highway!
Old 6th February 2019
  #833
Quote:
Originally Posted by whippoorwill View Post
Tape, even cassettes, with modern opamps or discrete technology and metal or high ips tapes can sound excellent.
Cassettes can have about 70db S/N with gentle soft clipping at the extreme top. 1" tape run at 30ips can have more S/N than you need and any noise heard is beautiful and velvety. A lot of my go-to reference recordings were made to tape
Yep. My "homemade" cassettes sound killer. People have to keep in mind that commercially produced cassettes from the 70s-90s were dubbed at hi-speed, so the sound quality could never be very good. Also, heaven knows what the playback source was on any given mass-produced cassette.

I also have a 1" 2-track ATR-102. I've found the front end (where/how the console is plugged into the tape machine) has more to do with sound quality than the sonic difference between 1" and 1/2". I'm an AAD guy.
Old 6th February 2019
  #834
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by burns46824 View Post
Also, heaven knows what the playback source was on any given mass-produced cassette.
At a company I worked for that did a lot of major-label cassette work, the loop bins were usually given a 7.5 ips 1/4" dub of the mastering-session "EQ'ed Copy." The system ran at 10X normal speed and backwards.
Old 6th February 2019
  #835
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
Whaaat !

To like cassettes better than DAT all you are saying is that you like distortion.
Guilty! l love distortion! Most of my mixes I'll push every track to the edge of distortion. Some people will call it mush - others will love the vibe. This is what's wonderful about the broad church we call "music".
Old 6th February 2019
  #836
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Yannick's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
plus you never find mp3s stretched out for a quarter-mile along the highway!
You could make an mp3 on a data cassette, at 1 mbps max (will sound great !) and THEN throw it out of the window on the highway
Old 6th February 2019
  #837
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
what a thread ?????? some wild stuff here.

i had Nakamichi cassettes back in the 80s. and Tascam porta studios with cassettes....

well the Fostex R8 analog 1/4 inch sounded much better when i got one of those. way better in every way.

then i got on Studer 24 track 2 inch, and every other 2 inch, which sounded even better again.

digital is as good as the idiot driving it. no better and no worse. crap recordings/crap engineer and great recording/ great engineer.

i totally agree with Silvertone.

CD sounds better than MP3, streaming, Data disks, whatever.

i hate it when i spend 10 hours mixing and hear all the fidelity, and then when i dub the master down to MP3, all the detail goes away.

as for Dat machines i had 4 in my last commercial studio. relics from the 90s. Dat is as good as CD sonically, but a cd is less prone to error during playback. after a few years the Dat heads get dirty and tape errors arrive. i replaced a couple of Dat heads, but still consider it a less than perfect medium in terms of error rate. my new studio has no DAT recorders at all.

Buddha
Old 6th February 2019
  #838
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG BUDDHA View Post

i hate it when i spend 10 hours mixing and hear all the fidelity, and then when i dub the master down to MP3, all the detail goes away.


Buddha
Now I even mix check with cell phone speakers. Never mind Auratones. Don;'t know the data but I bet the most popular listening methods today are earbuds and tiny bluetooth speakers. Of course back in the 60s tiny transistor radios were all the rage. Seems like with all the improvements in audio the listeners end has actually gone downhill in fidelity. People actually used to buy hi-fi's. Now unless it's for a movie with rumble boxes for sound effects it's pretty limited out there.
Old 6th February 2019
  #839
Quote:
Originally Posted by burns46824 View Post
Exactly. That's one huge advantage of analog. Has to do with frequency response with cassettes (not as flat up high as digital)...but also the way transients are handled compared to digital.
I'm listening to a mix tape on my yellow Sony Walkman as I type this with the volume cranked as high as my ears can stand. At 46 years old, still cranking the volume to the max that I can stand, just like I did 20 years ago in college with my tapes which also sounded fantastic. At the highest volume I can withstand it still sounds damn good, and makes me only want to dance even more. It all sounds spacious, and that live room environment. I used to go running with my digital Zoom Recorder and it always hurt my ears after 1.5 hours of running listening at high volume. Never with tape. Never. I was initially impressed with the Zoom recorder at all the little tiny things I could hear but after an hour listening I was really glad to stop listening and let my ears rest and they even hurt from the high resolution, and I didn't need to listen to the sound of incredibly high pitch shimmering bells, seagulls shriek, wind and breaking glass to enjoy the music. With tape I can crank up the volume and it sounds even better, not so much with digital (just hurts). I run for hours (training for a 50k ultra) with a bulky Walkman, yes it's lower resolution but warm, and yes it has hiss. But the spaciousness and warmth, without distracting excessive high end. And just 1 single shrilly sound/note will ruin an entire song for me. It makes my day literally and I've gone running for hours with music recorded to CD, on SD card, and tape but I personally now chose tape hiss and all. And for my car also.
Old 6th February 2019
  #840
Gear Guru
With my tintinitus I live with tape hiss all the time......
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