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Have the higher sampling rate and bit depths cured the digital monster? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 5th August 2014
  #1
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Have the higher sampling rate and bit depths cured the digital monster?

Its been discussed a lot but the moving towards higher sample/bit recording seems to defeat the shortcomings of CD. I'm happy at 96/24. It'll never sound the same as tape but in it's difference does it stand as and equal?
Old 5th August 2014
  #2
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what "digital monster" would that be?

DAWs have been working at 96k for over 15 years now. If you have "come around" to liking it, I would first look to your own self for the reasons why.


Quote:
It'll never sound the same as tape
yes some people "love tape", and some people love the sound that comes through the wires of their microphones just as it is. It is even possible, I am told, to love both in different situations.
Old 5th August 2014
  #3
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To me, tape recordings and digital recordings and sound coming through wires just as it is are three different things. Tape has its problems but I can listen to it forever. Digital recordings irritate me after a short time (hi-res digital takes longer). And sound coming through wires is fantastic, as long as there's someone making nice sounds and I don't stay so long I wind up with a DUI.
Old 5th August 2014
  #4
This? Again?

Done. Done. Done.

I like tomatoes. You like tomah-toes. Preference is what it is. The self-annointed golden ears have weighed in with their subjective valuations on all sides, the science is -- for those with some vague degree of science and math literacy -- pretty clear and mostly inarguable as science. But preference is preference and some will prefer one sound and others another and many will want one sound for certain projects and another sound for others.

We COULD have yet another 4 or 5 hundred post go-round with all the same arguments, evidence, fanciful conceits and bizarre imaginings as usual -- or we could actually talk about something interesting and pertinent to recording practice. Because, let's face it, precious few people will change their minds in the wake of yet another discussion in this collapsed vein, and fewer still will likely be able to make a cogent rationale for that change of mind. Let's be real.
Old 5th August 2014
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
And sound coming through wires is fantastic, as long as there's someone making nice sounds and I don't stay so long I wind up with a DUI.
Love it!


Tape sounds great, so does digital, hell when recorded, mixed, and mastered properly 44.1/16 sounds plenty good.

Aside from the audiophile guy with the $10,000 cables who even needs or rather wants 192k??? I say its overkill and requires sample rate changing when done. (i know i only speak for my self here)

Dont get me wrong I'm all for high fidelity but 99.9% of us would be hard pressed to repeatably choose a 96/24 over a 48/24 in the average listening environment.

Now I do have serious beef with Mp3 and other compressed formats. The whole downloadable compressed audio for the mainstream (yes I'm looking at you apple) has changed, or I like to think ruined the concept of an album, album art, listing of credits, ect forever. But its the times we live in boys.

I'd like to think that as technology and storage mediums get more advanced then higher fidelity digital music would become mainstream, but history gives me the notion it will be the opposite and eventually everyone will be able to have 1 billion songs (that sound like ass) on their phone.

To the OP. I could run sessions a 192, but rarely work above 44.1 and sometime 88.2. I do buy into the simple division of the sample rate concept, but thats not based on anything scientific. It just seems logical in my small brain to divide by 2.

Bits, 16 vs 24 vs 32 surely has its advantages. But sometimes letting a 2 buss mix truncate as it goes from the console, in the converter, and then literally has the "bottom" 8 bits chopped off | truncated as it hits the CDR machine sounds just fine. Sometimes better than taking that 24 bit capture back into PT and using dithering and all that.

Plugins are where higher sample rates certainly do make sense.

Bottom line for (me anyway) is anything 24/44.1 should really be plenty of fidelity. The most important thing is whats happening in front of the mics, and the way they are captured.

A ****ty performance thats poorly mic'd will sound no better at 192/32, and perhaps no worse than the same performance at 44.1

Carry on!

Old 5th August 2014
  #6
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44/16 has more detail than tape or vinyl and most people can't hear the difference between it and higher sample rates, so i'd say for the time being we're good.
Old 5th August 2014
  #7
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Not to be confusing analogue vs digital! The shortcomings of CD were leveled at the thinness of the sound and the shrillness of certain frequencies. The public ,by virtue of marketing, had this grand vision of CD quality as something as a be all end all destination that was less than the promise delivered. However if you make a CD it is ultimately the CD sample/bit. We know all this.

But you're tracking at say 96/24 and CD need not be considered. Does the result defeat the shortcomings of the CD format? Are engineers more likely to step back and say "now that's more like it" this is what it should have been from the beginning?
Old 5th August 2014
  #8
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i have a lot of cds and none of them sound thin or shrill unless that was the intention of the producer
Old 5th August 2014
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
This? Again?

Done. Done. Done.


May I mention CONVERTER!!!!
Old 5th August 2014
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Lawson View Post
Not to be confusing analogue vs digital! The shortcomings of CD were leveled at the thinness of the sound and the shrillness of certain frequencies. The public ,by virtue of marketing, had this grand vision of CD quality as something as a be all end all destination that was less than the promise delivered. However if you make a CD it is ultimately the CD sample/bit. We know all this.

But you're tracking at say 96/24 and CD need not be considered. Does the result defeat the shortcomings of the CD format? Are engineers more likely to step back and say "now that's more like it" this is what it should have been from the beginning?
a 96/24 CD would be cool or do they already have them?

I know people get all sensitive on the internet when you mention 96, but it is the optimal sample rate. I think 70khz is the optimal but since 96 is the closest on actual units you have to go with it, if you want that extra something. It's worth the extra disk space. But I think more important than sample rate is the quality of the _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


Perhaps it's more important to track and mix at 96 than it is to have your end format in 96.
44/24 is probably fine for a listening format
Old 5th August 2014
  #11
96/24 format audio has been around for many years, since the mid-late 1990s. It's sometimes called DVD-A (though not all music on DVD takes full advantage of the capabilities -- AND there have been a number of 'exposes' showing that not a little of the material sold in higher data capacity formats is simply material prepared for 44.1/16 CD and then dumped into the higher capacity format. The 'tell' in such analyses is SNR at or less than ~90 dB CD-A level and HF content that doesn't extend much above 20 kHz. Such findings suggest that a number of 'HD' releasers have taken advantage of naive consumers by just selling them the same old content in a 'new, improved' container. Surprise, surprise.
Old 5th August 2014
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Lawson View Post
But you're tracking at say 96/24 and CD need not be considered. Does the result defeat the shortcomings of the CD format? Are engineers more likely to step back and say "now that's more like it" this is what it should have been from the beginning?
For tracking, 24 bit is great, but it's not needed for playback except in extreme cases. Likewise, you may want to go with higher sample rates when tracking and mixing, especially if using plugins that sound better at higher sample rates, but 44.1 is fine for playback.
Old 5th August 2014
  #13
Based on the thread so far, we're almost certain to get another full round of Neil Young/Pono discussion, so let's just sweep aside a frequent point of misinformation bandied in such discussions: there is nothing new about the audio formats the Pono player will be capable of playing. Music is already available at double and quad sample rates and 24 bit dynamic depth -- and the lossless FLAC format that can help reduce the (huge) size of such files (by as much as 40-45% of file size) with no loss of music data has been around for a number of years, as well. Ditto portable, high end players with quad-rate capable converters, which used to cost over a thousand dollars, but which have fallen in price to be competitive (or cheaper) than the projected list of the Pono player. So, with all due respect to Neil, those interested in what he claims are 'superior sounding' formats could already be experiencing them.

In fact, those who have moved beyond considerations of the arguability of audible improvement and are producing music at HD rates may well want to look into the Bandcamp online store which allows indie artists and labels to upload and sell anything from 44.1/16 on up -- basically, any signal that can be contained in a FLAC format.
Old 5th August 2014
  #14
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I'm curious about 24 bit playback, I realize the playback itself may not require 24 bits, but converting the master from 24 to 16 requires truncation therefore wouldn't we presumably lose quality? dither and noise shaping is still not perfect. Not sure if it can be.
Old 5th August 2014
  #15
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Unfortunately they haven't cured the cheap, underpowered anemic line stages found in most converters.
Old 5th August 2014
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Unfortunately they haven't cured the cheap, underpowered anemic line stages found in most converters.
This is my biggest gripe of low end A/D D/A. This where they cut corners. I mean it's pretty obvious in the sense that, a good stereo line amp is a few hundred dollars yet miraculously these prosumer converter manufactures have found a way to make a converter, including a "quality" pair of line amps, a power supply and clock for $400...??? It's simply not possible without sacrificing something somewhere in the system. 8 channel converters for $1000 ?? hmmm add it up... it's not possible with high-quality through and through.

$5,000 converters are not snakeoil, you get what you pay for. Especially critical mastering processes making a master for duplication.
Old 5th August 2014
  #17
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as theblue said 96/24 and even higher are already available as consumer formats via a number of popular music distributors... and 99.9% of musicians and listeners don't bother with them because there's no appreciable difference. it's not even a little bit like going from dvd to 4k, 60fps video, which is indeed a night and day difference that most end users can notice themselves after a few seconds without needing to do an A/B comparison or other mental gymnastics to convince themselves that they notice something different; it should be pretty obvious when moving to a 'higher quality' format that you are indeed getting something higher quality. you can double, triple, quadruple, the amount of audio information in a file and it won't make a difference to virtually anybody, not even experienced recording engineers (unless they opt to do 40 a/b tests until they maybe, no, yes, maybe hear a little bit of difference in the tail end of the reverb at the quietest part of the song, etc.)


also as theblue said this is a repeat of the pono thread, and i'm sure dozens of other threads about bit rate/sample rate over the years. if anyone cared, it would have happened by now. no one cares, because it's hard to persuade somebody with 'there is a difference, you just can't hear it'
Old 5th August 2014
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepingbag View Post
as theblue said 96/24 and even higher are already available as consumer formats via a number of popular music distributors... and 99.9% of musicians and listeners don't bother with them because there's no appreciable difference. it's not even a little bit like going from dvd to 4k, 60fps video, which is indeed a night and day difference that most end users can notice themselves after a few seconds without needing to do an A/B comparison or other mental gymnastics to convince themselves that they notice something different; it should be pretty obvious when moving to a 'higher quality' format that you are indeed getting something higher quality. you can double, triple, quadruple, the amount of audio information in a file and it won't make a difference to virtually anybody, not even experienced recording engineers (unless they opt to do 40 a/b tests until they maybe, no, yes, maybe hear a little bit of difference in the tail end of the reverb at the quietest part of the song, etc.)


also as theblue said this is a repeat of the pono thread, and i'm sure dozens of other threads about bit rate/sample rate over the years. if anyone cared, it would have happened by now. no one cares, because it's hard to persuade somebody with 'there is a difference, you just can't hear it'

With audio It's probably noticeable if you recorded the material. If you are just a consumer and have no point of reference, sure you won't hear a difference. I think we can all listen to our 96/32 mixes in protools and hear a difference when we listen to the bounced 44/16 bit version. It's not going to sound as open. Sure it's debatable but it's not the same as a consumer hearing a mix for the first time. They don't know what it sounded like in the DAW. With video it's different in the sense that all film cameras and DV cameras are very very similar in the way they sample. Pixelation/aliasing is immediately noticeable to the average person. For some reason with Audio it's different. The sampling algorithms are the same for both audio and video. The eye must be more sensitive than the ear with noticeable artifacts.
Old 5th August 2014
  #19
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If you are just a consumer and have no point of reference, sure you won't hear a difference.

...which is why it doesn't make sense as a consumer format
Old 5th August 2014
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chainrule View Post
a 96/24 CD would be cool or do they already have them?
Wel have DVD-A's as stated already, and we also have SACD's, containing DSD streams which can either be 2.8MHz or 5.6MHz, all at 1 bit.
I don't really now how converters work, nor how DSD works, nor I have a DAC capable of decoding DSD, but I do have a couple of SACD's I've encoded to 88.2/24 PCM WAV's using a high end sample rate converter (saracon from weiss), and they sound noticeably better than their CD counterparts.
Thing is, they'd probably sound just as good if their CD counterparts contained data at that sampling rate and bit depth.
Quote:
Originally Posted by chainrule View Post
Perhaps it's more important to track and mix at 96 than it is to have your end format in 96.
44/24 is probably fine for a listening format
I concur - 24bit vs 16bit makes a difference I can hear when listening to the same track in both formats, but I don't think I'll be able to tell a 16bit from a 24bit audio stream if they contained different stuff.

Also until you incur in distortion due to aliasing, which happens when tracking only, even 42kHz would be just fine.
Quote:
Originally Posted by chainrule View Post
I'm curious about 24 bit playback, I realize the playback itself may not require 24 bits, but converting the master from 24 to 16 requires truncation therefore wouldn't we presumably lose quality? dither and noise shaping is still not perfect. Not sure if it can be.
Yeah, but the loss in quality isn't that much.
Again, I can hear it if I listen to the same thing, first in one resolution and then in the other one, but that's pretty much it.

Also come on, nothing is perfect, and 16bit will never sound as 24bit, but even as of today the difference is pretty small.
Old 5th August 2014
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepingbag View Post
If you are just a consumer and have no point of reference, sure you won't hear a difference.

...which is why it doesn't make sense as a consumer format
I dunno. The difference is, the majority of people view DVD and TV shows on high def televisions. How many people listen to music with high def systems? with subs and high quality crossovers in an acoustically treated room?? not many.

With TV you don't have such requirements, so quality is immediately noticeable to the naked eye. With music I bet if you listened on great monitors, great power amps in a great room the average person could tell the difference between 96/24 and 44/16. Hopefully the engineer can since these are presumably the condition he monitors in daily. The music is only going to sound as good as its playback system, playback system is a bottleneck so to speak.
Old 5th August 2014
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Unfortunately they haven't cured the cheap, underpowered anemic line stages found in most converters.
Old 5th August 2014
  #23
I'll join Doc on seconding Bob's observation...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Unfortunately they haven't cured the cheap, underpowered anemic line stages found in most converters.
The best digital side technology is wasted when fed by crappy analog input stages and/or fed out to crappy output electronics. Most smartphones can store and play back full CD quality audio -- but what comes out the analog line out often sounds pretty lame. Ditto the built-in audio on your laptop, desktop, tabletop stereo, etc.

Of course, there may well be exceptions to this in the form of individual devices that deliver superior analog-side electronics but, sadly, overall, the sound from cheap devices -- and some not so cheap home entertainment products -- is not what it could or, we'd like to think, should be.


Would that the consumer electronics industry would concentrate on better support for the CD-A format, delivering devices that measured up to that potential, instead of pushing for new formats (in order to sell new devices and new media) while still neglecting the fundamentals of basic audio quality. Why 'waste' high resolution digital formats on crappy analog output stages?
Old 5th August 2014
  #24
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Quote:
This where they cut corners. I mean it's pretty obvious in the sense that, a good stereo line amp is a few hundred dollars.
this is where people with no understanding tend to speak the loudest. power starved line stages? say I want a line stage at absolute theoretical thd and noise
I'd simple use a single opamp video driver with a extremely clean buffer.

were talking less then 10 bucks a channel and thd 0-20khz in the .004% range.

that is clean and accurate where the money comes in is the aesthetically pleasing sounds. Transformers, tubes etc. all that colors the sound, but low noise and clean is cheap and easy to do from the application pages from most chip companies.
Old 5th August 2014
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chainrule View Post
... the majority of people view DVD and TV shows on high def televisions. How many people listen to music with high def systems?
When it comes to most series TV, trust me, you don't want to.
Old 6th August 2014
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doulos30 View Post
this is where people with no understanding tend to speak the loudest. power starved line stages? say I want a line stage at absolute theoretical thd and noise
I'd simple use a single opamp video driver with a extremely clean buffer.

were talking less then 10 bucks a channel and thd 0-20khz in the .004% range.

that is clean and accurate where the money comes in is the aesthetically pleasing sounds. Transformers, tubes etc. all that colors the sound, but low noise and clean is cheap and easy to do from the application pages from most chip companies.
Old 6th August 2014
  #27
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Detail and noise specs

20 bits. That was the point that was enough for me. When I got a Gina card and switched to Cool Edit Pro from the dithered 18 bit DA38 I FINALLY actually could record a quick demo for a band and just pick off the cuemix and not secretly mix it for half a day and call it a cuemix. Same pre VLZ Mackie*8buss front end/mixdown . After 20 bits I didn't hear much difference as bit depth went up. Although at my own rig I seem to be able to hear the difference between 24 bit vs 32 bit floating point. THAT difference is not a positive for my work. There seems to be higher contrast between the silence and the sound (imagine the stars against a much darker backround). If I were recording Steely Dan I'd use it...but I ain't Steely Dan and I definitely don't like it.

The digital monster question remains the same for me from 16 bits up. I view it as a constant that decent gear attenuates.
Old 6th August 2014
  #28
jrp
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That´s a point i was thinking as well. Building an accurate line amp is not expensive at all. OPA3132, NE5532, DRV134 all cost just few bucks.
A linear supply comes to a few more. But not 100s.
But the thing is:
- You need a supply and electrical surrounding that keeps any noises out - difficult on a phone...
- Companies try to go as cheap as they can. A few bucks is too much.
- If it is cheap most people won´t belive it sounds good anyhow. Placebo plays a huge role on this stuff...

Lots of manufactors simply don´t care.

I think there is a price called out if you can hear differences regarding dithering. Noone seems to...
The amp with the analog meter sounds warm. The one with a single blue led sounds punchy and accurate.

I record in 96/24 couse i want to mix and mess with the data. For that i am a real beliver.
Old 6th August 2014
  #29
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The problem with converters is that you are putting an analog stage in close proximity to what amounts to a radio station. According to an old friend one of the most common problems is RFI draining power from the analog stage supply. An old mastering trick is to build a converter from a chip manufacturer's evaluation board. Many people think they trounce commercial products made with the same chips.
Old 6th August 2014
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrp View Post
Building an accurate line amp is not expensive at all. OPA3132, NE5532, DRV134 all cost just few bucks.
yeah these ICs sound great too, especially if you use the example circuit on the datasheet.
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