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Audio @ 1 bit 5.6 MHz on Blue Ray could save the day... Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 4th September 2008
  #31
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Quote:
So this has now been shown to be false by Bruce who has apparently done the impossible!
Nothing of the sort has happened...In this case, BluRay is either a storage medium with DSD files on it or we're talking about a 'DSD Disk'. As has already been said, DSD is not part of the BluRay spec. Big difference.

PS3SACD.com FAQs: DSD Disc guide

In case you're interested...

One of the very first 16 track DSD recordings was done 'wild' across two Pyramix 8-channel DSD recorders and the 'slate' was (I believe) a small battery wired to a momentary switch and all sixteen inputs. That level of 'sync paranoia', while amusing, turned out to be unnecessary, as time-code proved adequate for mixdown. You can hear the finished product - it's Chick Corea's "Rendezvous in New York" SACD and the music is gorgeous.

I've talked to the Korg engineers in charge of the MR-1000 and they've apparently had many requests for a multi-track version...

Cheers,

Graemme
Old 4th September 2008
  #32
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Originally Posted by zenmastering View Post
Nothing of the sort has happened...In this case, BluRay is either a storage medium with DSD files on it or we're talking about a 'DSD Disk'. As has already been said, DSD is not part of the BluRay spec. Big difference.

PS3SACD.com FAQs: DSD Disc guide

In case you're interested...

One of the very first 16 track DSD recordings was done 'wild' across two Pyramix 8-channel DSD recorders and the 'slate' was (I believe) a small battery wired to a momentary switch and all sixteen inputs. That level of 'sync paranoia', while amusing, turned out to be unnecessary, as time-code proved adequate for mixdown. You can hear the finished product - it's Chick Corea's "Rendezvous in New York" SACD and the music is gorgeous.

I've talked to the Korg engineers in charge of the MR-1000 and they've apparently had many requests for a multi-track version...

Cheers,

Graemme
Great link Graemme, thanks for including that. I'm about half way through reading it. I really wish you could burn a full fledged 1 bit 5.6 MHz disk for playback on a Sony Blue Ray but I guess it's just not going to happen. Why Sony didn't include DSD audio playback as part of the Blue Ray spec is beyond me, a stupid move on their part. I'm seriously considering trying to contact Apple about future support for DSD. This format sounds too good to go by unnoticed.

That's good news about Korg getting that type of feedback. Hopefully they'll be smart and make a 16, 24 and 32 track version that can record in full resolution. Another feature that would be important for gearslutz like me is to be able to bypass the pres so I can use my custom boutique pres unimpeded.
Old 4th September 2008
  #33
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Originally Posted by bcgood View Post
Another feature that would be important for gearslutz like me is to be able to bypass the pres so I can use my custom boutique pres unimpeded.
Yes, bypass the pres AND the converters!

Yes, I'm using Blu-ray as a storage medium for DSD files. To reiterate Graemme, I said
Quote:
Originally Posted by DSD_Mastering View Post
You can play these DVD discs on the PS3 and the Tascam DV-RA1000
not Blu-ray!


Regards,
Bruce
Old 4th September 2008
  #34
the Korg MR-1000 is my next purchase but if it's not supported then screw it. Does it sound good when you use it for 2 track pcm recorder? I was going to iehter buy the korg or a black lion sparrow to use in front of my masterlink.

Do most mastering houses take the dsd format? I am recording my album at 96k then I would mix it down to the korg.
Old 4th September 2008
  #35
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Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
DSD is the only digital format I have heard that sounds analog. Whatever that is, tape and vinyl get it. DSD, if not right there is close enough that it is acceptable considering the ease of storage, playback, and lack of vinyl artifacts. PCM is like the cartoon version in comparison.
Yep, I feel the exact same way. 1 bit 5.6 MHz DSD/WSD is the only digital format I've heard that reminds me of high end analogue recordings. It contains all the subtle nuances and depth that remind me of these recordings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nu-tra View Post
the Korg MR-1000 is my next purchase but if it's not supported then screw it. Does it sound good when you use it for 2 track pcm recorder? I was going to iehter buy the korg or a black lion sparrow to use in front of my masterlink.

Do most mastering houses take the dsd format? I am recording my album at 96k then I would mix it down to the korg.
Most of the mastering engineers I know have the capability to accept DSD. I think you should get the Korg MR-1000 Nutra, just whip it good. For some reason in digital it seems very important to capture sound at the highest possible resolution. When you are tracking and don't need to record more than two tracks at a time I would highly suggest using the MR 1000. Then you can use the Audiogate software to convert to 16/44 or 24/88 for editing in your daw.
Old 4th September 2008
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcgood View Post
run one left and right to the korg recording at 1 bit 5.6 MHz and the other left and right go to a lavry gold or whatever at 24/192 PCM. Now do a double blind ABX test and see which one comes out on top.
The problem is that (afaik) the test you propose simply isn't possible in a true ABX scenario. There isn't a system available that can achieve instantaneous, inaudible switching between DSD and "normal" PCM. Without this, an ABX isn't possible, and without this, all judgements about quality are purely subjective.

I had this come up in a session only yesterday - the customer had a DAT and CD copy of the same source, and was concerned they sounded different. We discussed the various reasons this might be the case, and to check for differences recorded both onto SADiE. Listening to the captures via SADiE's output through the System 6000, we both felt that the DAT, which we played second, sounded better - more clarity in the mids, slightly warmer etc. However based on past experience, I explained to the customer that we could well be fooling ourselves.

Sure enough, when lined up in SADiE the tracks nulled completely, and flicking between them in a blind test, we couldn't hear any difference.
Quote:
I know that I could hear the difference
That's easy to say. How have you done an ABX test, then ? If you have a way to achieve this, please share, I'd like to try it.
Quote:
can you, who knows?
Exactly ! Who knows ? The test isn't possible. My opinion is that I can't. I know I couldn't reliably hear the difference between the analogue ouputs of a Sony SACD player and a 24-bit 96kHz PCM capture of it, listening to Dark Side Of The Moon (surely a benchmark anaologue recording) or Acoustic Triangle (which is a pure DSD resording, end to end), but the test was far from rigourous since level-matching the outputs had to be done by ear.

Here are a few things I know I can hear - meaning I've blind tested myself:

Level and EQ differences of +/- 0.2 dB
Azimuth errors of < 1 sample
Absolute phase errors
48kHz vs 44.1kHz
24-bit vs 16-bit dithered
Dither on/off
Differences between dither types
Differences between two identical CD players, level-matched to < 0.1 dB

IF there is an audible difference between an SACD and a 24/96 recording of it's analogue playback, then in my opinion it's smaller than all the above differences. I put all the differences people have heard down to the converters and defective testing methodology. Of course I could be wrong...

How rigourously have you tested your own listening abilities ?
Quote:
I know many of you have invested a lot of money in very expensive AD/DA that is exclusively PCM based. Get over it, don't let that cloud your judgment.
That's not what I'm saying. Based on my own experience of SACD so far, I don't hear enough of an improvement over "normal" PCM to warrant spending money on it.

A campaign to educate people about higher-quality audio on DVD or BD - count me in. But personally I think DSD is a red herring, not least because SACD never achieved a wide market. (Due to the SACD / DVD-A "format war", sound familiar ? Grrr...)

Ian
Old 4th September 2008
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
Just because you are paranoid, that doesn't mean that they aren't out to get you.
Nice phraze
Old 4th September 2008
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
But that you can't prove it, and that it is subjective, doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.
You're absolutely right, which is why I didn't say that. The same argument applies to mind-reading, and I don't believe in that either.

To be clear, I am passionately commited to high-quality audio - the highest possible. But I don't find the theory that says DSD is better convincing. In fact, I find much of the marketing highly dubious, if not insulting. Saying something is "just like analogue" doesn't make it true.

Years ago I was sceptical about the audibility of many of the factors I listed in my previous post. My intuition said that the differences between dither types wouldn't be audible on 24-bit files, and neither would the absolute phase of the audio. But people I respected said they were, so I tested to the best of my abilities, and sure enough - they are.

However my intuition also says that differences between data-identical CDs and DSD vs 24/96 would are also inaudible. People I respect say they are, so I've tested to the best of my abilities, and so far I can't hear the differences.

Does this mean there aren't any ? No. Does it mean my intuition is sometimes way off-mark ? Yes. But does it mean I'll blindly believe the people who say that DSD is obviously better, even though they won't describe their testing methods and claim to be able to hear better than me, without any evidence one way or another ? No. Look, the Emperor has no clothes...

But I may well be wrong, and it's just my opinion. If people still want to record in a medium which unnecessarily uses masses of hard drive space, allegedly can't be processed without destroying the voodoo, wastes masses of bandwidth on unfeasible quantities of useless out-band noise and has no realistic mass-market release format - why shouldn't they ? There is a well-established niche of people making superb recordings using DSD, some of whom are close friends - more power to them !

Ian

PS.
Quote:
Just because you are paranoid, that doesn't mean that they aren't out to get you.
Who ? Where ? Did they tell you that ?
Old 4th September 2008
  #39
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The test I proposed is possible Ian. The difference between DSD and PCM isn't subtle. It's not a good sign for you if you can't hear the difference between the two. DSD is quite a bit better or I wouldn't be going through the trouble with this thread in the first place. I have nothing to gain, I don't sell gear. All I care about is good sound.

Cheers
Old 4th September 2008
  #40
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Originally Posted by bcgood View Post
The test I proposed is possible Ian.
Fantastic ! Please let me in on the details, I want to try it so I can hear the difference for myself.

Ian
Old 4th September 2008
  #41
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Originally Posted by ianshepherd View Post
Fantastic ! Please let me in on the details, I want to try it so I can hear the difference for myself.

Ian
Here's a test, take a stereo matched pair of DPA 4041's or Earthworks QTC-40's set up in a nice recording space perhaps recording an instrument with a wide frequency range such as a piano, going into a stereo Earthworks 1022 pre. Then have the left right out from the 1022 go to a split XLR cable, (With 1 female and 3 male per left and right channel.) Then run one left and right to the korg recording at 1 bit 5.6 MHz and the other left and right go to a lavry gold or whatever at 24/192 PCM. Finally, run the last stereo pair to an Ampex ATR-102.

Now play the three files back at the same time through the same monitoring system, switching between all three intermittently (I shouldn't have to describe how to do this in detail, anyone familiar with ABX should know how to set this up properly.) I know it wouldn't necessarily be easy but nothing of value is usually easy. Let the "Pepsi Challenge" commence!
Old 4th September 2008
  #42
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You have completely different AD & DAs for each format in that comparison. You'd be comparing a whole lot more than just PCM vs. DSD.

I'd be interested to try the following:

First, get the same converter (so you have the same analog front end, at least) to convert an analog source to high res PCM and DSD. Now sample rate convert both recorded versions to the other format. I.e. the DSD to high res PCM and the high res PCM to DSD. Now compare the 4 versions double blind and try to identify the versions.

That is of course not a test to find specific differences as it doesn't and can't completely single out recording format, but I do believe that conclusions could be drawn from this test: IF we hear a difference, what versions differ - and what does that tell us as to where the difference comes from.
Old 4th September 2008
  #43
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I agree, bcgood there are way too many variables in your suggestion.

But the Korg MR1000 offers an interesting possibility because it plays both DSD and PCM, plus offering conversion software. So the same signal (let's use Schoeps or B&K mics please, and run them through a desk rather than a splitter cable !?) could be recorded to one MR1000 as DSD, and another as PCM. These could then be played back more or less in sync, and the outputs compared.

I don't think converting the PCM to DSD would be necessary, in the first instance, since supposedly the noise generated by this conversion is the main limiting factor on processing DSD.

Obviously this isn't still a proper ABX test, since that would require seamless, inaudible switching and perfectly synced files, but it would be interesting, nonetheless. It all depends to some extent on the quality of the analogue circuitry in the Korg, of course. I guess the same thing could be done with two SADiE or Pyramix systems ? These could also be synced together very accurately, too.

So, who has the time and money to burn...?!

Ian

PS. Using the Ampex as X is a fun idea but differences in playback speed would ensure it sounded different, regardless of any other factors
Old 4th September 2008
  #44
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I've been able to compare 192kHz against 2.8 DSD in the last year, with a fellow engineer doing a 1/2" transfer of 3 songs through both.

Admittedly we were using different convertors for PCM & DSD duties, UA2192 & Merging Sphynx respectively.

Neither of us were reliably able to tell which was which for 2 of the tracks, both piano based pop arrangements.
We had more luck with the quieter string quartet based song where we were both able to distinguish between the convertors more often than not.
The only difference we noted was a very slight smoothing or blurring of the high mids which turned out to be the DSD.
Strangely, neither of us could pick a favourite of the one track we were able to tell the differences on and both came away feeling generally nonplussed by the DSD convertor.

When you factor in the inability to manipulate DSD files, it all starts to seem like a fairly pointless (for the moment) exercise.

I do wish we had done direct comparisons to the tape machine to determine which was more accurate.
Old 4th September 2008
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
Wow, how about a Korg portastudio type machine doing DSD? THAT would be something. thumbsup
That my friend would be Awesome! I hope they make it happen.

As for the test Ian, good idea just using the Korg unit. I'm not sure I like your idea of using a desk as you say. Each channel on a console can be quite different.
Old 5th September 2008
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkRB View Post
Admittedly we were using different convertors for PCM & DSD duties, UA2192 & Merging Sphynx respectively.
<snip>
Strangely, neither of us could pick a favourite of the one track we were able to tell the differences on and both came away feeling generally nonplussed by the DSD convertor.
The converters are always the stumbling block. Let's put this is perspective - most people agree that the overall difference between DSD and "normal" PCM is less than between competing high-end A/D & D/A converters - that's pretty subtle.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcgood View Post
I'm not sure I like your idea of using a desk as you say. Each channel on a console can be quite different.
Really ? I think that depends on the board, although it's a test I've never bothered to do. I don't like the y-cable though, but I'm sure there's a passive spiltter which will do a better job.

DSD vs. PCM ? Moving the mics will make a far bigger difference.

Ian
Old 5th September 2008
  #47
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Originally Posted by bcgood View Post
It's amazing all the corporate road blocks that come up keeping a new, good technology from having a chance.
From my understanding, Sony introduced SACD because the patents on CDs were running out. In other words, it was a commercial corporate decision that brought it to life. As SACD failed commercially, a similar corporate decision closed the tap.

(Note: I am avoiding any comments about the real or perceived advantages of SACD ).

Alistair
Old 5th September 2008
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ianshepherd View Post
DSD vs. PCM ? Moving the mics will make a far bigger difference.
And if each channel on a console can be quite different and people live with that fact everyday, why bother with SACD anyway? Either it brings a truly perceivable improvement in a proper double blind test or the increased resource usage makes the whole exercise questionable. Isn't engineering always about reasonable compromises?

Alistair
Old 5th September 2008
  #49
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Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
And if each channel on a console can be quite different and people live with that fact everyday, why bother with SACD anyway? Either it brings a truly perceivable improvement in a proper double blind test or the increased resource usage makes the whole exercise questionable. Isn't engineering always about reasonable compromises?

Alistair
Hmm... You are saying a test isn't worthy of running just because a single piece in the chain of a proposed setup is making an educated judgement hard. I would suggest just modifying the test setup before declaring it invalid.

If I read your argument correctly, you are essentially suggesting that all labs and scientifically controlled setups are inherently invalid because the results to be found could not be determined - and thus in immediate consequence would not make a difference - in the real world.

Firstly, the assumption itself is incorrect, I believe. My mastering suite acoustics let me hear (and make changes depending on) details that I couldn't clearly identify in a typical home HiFi setup. Yet the changes I make will be apparent even in such a setting.

Secondly, I believe that real world concerns should not necessarily be applied at the research stage, because it would stop tests and procedures in its tracks that otherwise, in the end, can have signifficant effect on the real world.
Old 5th September 2008
  #50
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Originally Posted by 24-96 Mastering View Post
Nice phraze
Woody Allen thumbsup

j,
Old 5th September 2008
  #51
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Originally Posted by 24-96 Mastering View Post
Hmm... You are saying a test isn't worthy of running just because a single piece in the chain of a proposed setup is making an educated judgement hard.
Not at all.

Quote:
I would suggest just modifying the test setup before declaring it invalid.
I'm not declaring the test invalid. On the contrary.

My point is that if there is an audible difference between two channels on an analogue desk, it should be recalibrated. If there is no audible difference between the channels, it can be used to yield valid test results for the participants in that specific setup.

For instance, if engineers in a particular studio want to know if it is worth it for them to upgrade the equipment to DSD (and leave all other parameters of the studio unchanged) going through a well calibrated analogue desk should be enough to make a decision.

If there is no audible difference between the channels (in every day use) and there is a negative test result (no audible difference between DSD and PCM) then the difference between DSD and PCM is most likely inaudible to the test participants in that specific setup.

Also, if engineers in a studio can live with the fact that the channels in their analogue console all sound different and don't have an issue with that, why bother going multi-track DSD anyway? Surely recalibrating (or replacing) the console would be a better investment?

Quote:
Firstly, the assumption itself is incorrect, I believe. My mastering suite acoustics let me hear (and make changes depending on) details that I couldn't clearly identify in a typical home HiFi setup. Yet the changes I make will be apparent even in such a setting.
But what if the test would yield a negative result? What if you could not hear a difference between DSD and PCM (all other parameters being identical) in your mastering suite? Wouldn't you conclude that it isn't worth going DSD from a sonic perspective?


Alistair
Old 29th September 2008
  #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcgood View Post
So this has now been shown to be false by Bruce who has apparently done the impossible!

It's always easier to be a naysayer and say what can't be done than to try and think out of the box. That's all I'm trying to do here. In a mastering forum this should be an easy sell as I would think ultimate audio fidelity would be something that all mastering engineers would be for. Yes I know many of you have invested a lot of money in very expensive AD/DA that is exclusively PCM based. Get over it, don't let that cloud your judgment. Also understand that most tests that compare PCM to DSD wheren't recorded to DSD originally they where recorded with either tape or PCM which negates any determinations based on the final results!

Here's a test, take a stereo matched pair of DPA 4041's set up in a nice recording space going into a stereo Earthworks 1022 pre. Then have the left right out from the 1022 go to a y so that the left has two xlr outs and right has two xlr outs. Then run one left and right to the korg recording at 1 bit 5.6 MHz and the other left and right go to a lavry gold or whatever at 24/192 PCM. Now do a double blind ABX test and see which one comes out on top. I know that I could hear the difference, can you, who knows?

As far as syncing the Korg unit's, it is possible. I could post schematics that I've designed to do just that.
Please post the schematics...and accept our thanks for your contribution. Is there a way to tap into the digital stream of the Korg to convert that to MADI with a contraption of some sort?

If people from Korg are reading this, we would like to see a Korg WSD multitrack.
Old 29th September 2008
  #53
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in the spirit of the thread title....

... the ONLY thing that is going to save the industry is making the ISPs responsible for policing piracy. Impossible - you say I agree....so seeing as we can't do that - that's why I'm on board with UK gov lobbying of PRS collection reform within ISP providers. No more of the £10 a month internet - pay a blanket PRS levy and piracy becomes a none issue...

... next week - we take down the other music industry killer - colleges....
Old 29th September 2008
  #54
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Let's face it

As nice as DSD sounds it is impractical as production and final delivery format.
A thing as simple as a digital volume control is impractical at DSD Rate. But why try to go to DSD while we did not squeeze more out of PCM. There is a lot of sound quality that could be gained with some more attention to the filtering within the AD converter. We could go a lot closer to mr. Nyquist specifications. And when we are done there are some low frequency jitter specs that could be better. (that includes DSD)

Because digital audio processing is not going to go away. And DSD processing is still not a practical option. I think better PCM is the way to for the near future.

And linear PCM or DSD at 96k still sounds bad when clipped to squares and amplified by cheap amps
Old 30th September 2008
  #55
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Originally Posted by just.sounds View Post
But why try to go to DSD while we did not squeeze more out of PCM. There is a lot of sound quality that could be gained with some more attention to the filtering within the AD converter.
We did... it's called DXD 24/352.8kHz.. 4 times the bandwidth of SACD.


Regards,
Old 30th September 2008
  #56
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I don't know about the future of anything like Blue Ray ... but I did some tests with a Busman Audio AD modded ($175) Korg vs. the Pacific Micro AD and the Mytek 8x192 AD. Printed a rock mix to each from analog 2" 16 track MM1200 w. Flux heads ... to the Korg at 5.6 then converted with supplied software to 24/44.1 vs. PCM 24/44.1 The Korg was just better. It's not perfect, but it's more musical at the mixing stage, no smear so great depth. DSD is a pain, but it sounds great.
Old 30th September 2008
  #57
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Originally Posted by lucey View Post
I don't know about the future of anything like Blue Ray ... but I did some tests with a Busman Audio AD modded ($175) Korg vs. the Pacific Micro AD and the Mytek 8x192 AD. Printed a rock mix to each from analog 2" 16 track MM1200 w. Flux heads ... to the Korg at 5.6 then converted with supplied software to 24/44.1 vs. PCM 24/44.1 The Korg was just better. It's not perfect, but it's more musical at the mixing stage, no smear so great depth. DSD is a pain, but it sounds great.


Awesome to hear your impressions Brian. I was actually waiting to hear from you because I knew you liked your Korg & DSD in general but it's great to hear what you used for the comparison. I've actually talked to Bruce about doing some tests at his place when I go up to Washington in hopefully the next couple of months.

It's great to hear that others feel the same way that I do about this technology. I still need to look into that mod. What benefits do you think the Busman Audio AD modification provides to the Korg?

I still want to pair an Anamod ATS-1 with the Korg for a quasi tape experience.heh
Old 30th September 2008
  #58
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Originally Posted by bcgood View Post
What benefits do you think the Busman Audio AD modification provides to the Korg?
More open on top, flatter bottom. Not so analog sounding as stock, closer to perfect but not perfect. Still with no PCM artifacts. Everyone one of my clients who has done the mod preferred it.
Old 30th September 2008
  #59
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Originally Posted by lucey View Post
More open on top, flatter bottom. Not so analog sounding as stock, closer to perfect but not perfect. Still with no PCM artifacts. Everyone one of my clients who has done the mod preferred it.
Interesting... I would like to compare between two units. One modded and the other stock so that I could decide which one I liked better.
Old 19th June 2009
  #60
Gear Nut
Audio @ 1 bit 5.6 MHz on Blue Ray could save the day

Hello BC,
I'm glad you are so excited about the korg at 5.6. It sounds so good.........I don't know why you are going through the trouble of discussing this with these guys. Michael Bishop and his team have been doing DSD for quite some time.(Formerly Telarc,now 5/4 productions.) The audio quality they have put out is phenominal.Robert Friedrich ;one of the members on his team, records,mixes,and masters using DSD and it sounds great. The recordings I have heard just sound so musical using this format .Keep capturing at 5.6 and improve your signature sound. I know, I love it. I own 2 korg units, 1 modded and the other stock. I also use pyramix and use all the current high end converters. YOU ARE HEARING A DIFFERENCE!!!!!!!!! I'm glad you are hearing it.
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