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Where do our guest mods see recording going in future? DAW Software
Old 2nd February 2003
  #1
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Where do our guest mods see recording going in future?

Tape?

Pro Tools?

DSD?

What is your gut feeling?
Old 2nd February 2003
  #2
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"we're on the road to knowhere"

????

Old 2nd February 2003
  #3
Little Labs
 
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In my humble opinion ...
Analog tape should stick around for it is still the best archive medium. If the professional world doesn't follow this, we will be in big trouble and generations of music will be lost. Steve Albini at the tape op conference went into detail on this and as much as he can be a litte full of it in some matters, I think he is dead on on this one.

I think DSD will win the battle with PCM, but so much of why the CDs don't sound as good as SACD is purely handling, not the bandwidth or bits. JVC XRCDs for example basically all they are is someone following through all the way to the plant to make sure every step is done right. The difference is sometimes remarkable. But then if you have someone like James Gutherie who is a detail freak anyway, he will blow our minds with SACD and what it is capable of. He is remixing Dark side of the Moon in SACD surround at the moment and I can assure you it'll be a treat. All original analog right up to the SACD mix medium. I bet Allan wouldn't of done that. Now if they could just find the damn Live at Pompei tapes.

Pro tools yeah yeah it's all good perhaps they will have a DSD version then the PCM will be obsolete and everyone will have to buy a new rig. Mark my word on that one. It's funny how multitrack machines were sooo expensive and the pro tools system in comparison is so cheap. But the analog machines of the Seventys are just being retired now and some refurbed. I can tell you the HD rig you are using now will not be in use in ten years.

thats my opinions ...for what it's woof

Jonathan
Old 3rd February 2003
  #4
Quote:
Originally posted by littlelabs

But the analog machines of the Seventys are just being retired now and some refurbed. I can tell you the HD rig you are using now will not be in use in ten years.
Jonathan
Yeah, in some ways you still can't beat a 2" 16 track for recording drums. That's my opinion anyway.
I agree with you about digital not retaining it's value - both monetary and as a tool. The same thing happened with keyboards. A Memory Moog is still worth $2500 but a DX7 maybe $150.
What digital stuff like Pro Tools has done is take high end recording out of the exclusive domain of expensive studios. I guess I should be grateful for that.
Old 3rd February 2003
  #5
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I get a 'next big thing' vibe from mutitrack DSD.
Old 3rd February 2003
  #6
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Steve Smith's Avatar
 

I think Multirack DSD will take off if we can get back to real people making music, when microediting isn't nessasary to make a record ( note: I am not dogging editing, just making a point)

One of the most exciting things about DSD for me is the lack of editing ability, that may sound dumb, but I think that some of the players and producers out there need a kick in the arse to actually work for a great take.
Old 3rd February 2003
  #7
Lives for gear
 

I think it's amazing how much the pro audio world has come to exist in a remote Ivory Tower. It really is more about pro gear lust these days than about music, IMO. A tendency that is fed to the max by two things. The pro audio manufacturer's need to up the specs to sell more gear and the audio pro's need to keep up with/beat the Jones. Digital audio plays beautifully into this syndrome, since every single aspect can be proscribed with, in fact is defined by, a number. Specmanship nirvana.

While we're all hanging out discussing the "need" for 192KHz, DSD, etc, a full 99% percentile of the consumer is clearly stating that even a 44.1/16 Redbook CD well exceeds the ability of both their ears and their playback equipment's ability to discriminate. The 1% described as audiophiles (actually more like .1% likely) are so tweaked, they're paying a grand for an AC power cable. Still not about music, really.

Keep in mind that I'm a producer and mixer with a number of pretty decent credits. Making things sound as good as possible is how I get paid. So I'm not dissing the concept of sounding better, as an absolute. That's craftsmanship and it is the tie that binds true professionals on a forum such as this. Commitment to craftmanship is the source of respect, given and received.

But we have come to a point of seriously diminishing returns in the quest for better gear, at least in terms of sonic performance, though there will always be room for improved functionality. We're already past what the vast majority of consumers can possibly appreciate. Reality currently demonstrates this. As long as a kid can hear a song in a form that doesn't actually distract from the emotion generated, he/she is satisfied. Remember cassettes? Remember 8 tracks? Didn't stop me from loving the music.

I guess this is now a sort of rant. But that fact is, you can't buy a new piece of gear that sounds bad enough, in talented hands, to hurt you commercially. Heck, not even Pro Tools


We got good enough gear now, fellers. What we needs is mo' better music.


Regards,
Brian T
Old 3rd February 2003
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Just reread my post above. Sounds kind of cranky.

It's not aimed at anyone in particular. Certainly not at Jules or the guest mods. Just sort of thinking out loud about things that seem illogical to me on a macro level.

I wanted to clarify that.


Regards,
Brian T
Old 3rd February 2003
  #9
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
Quote:
posted by littlelabs:
I think DSD will win the battle with PCM
littlelabs,

I wonder if you could expound on that somewhat.

What do you find to be the key advantage of DSD over PCM?

You mentioned mastering to DSD from analog. What about multitracking in DSD? Do you see practical advantages?

Thanks in advance.
Old 3rd February 2003
  #10
Gear addict
 
mdbeh's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by littlelabs
... but so much of why the CDs don't sound as good as SACD is purely handling, not the bandwidth or bits. JVC XRCDs for example basically all they are is someone following through all the way to the plant to make sure every step is done right.
Interesting. Can you elaborate a bit?

Thanks,
Brian
Old 3rd February 2003
  #11
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by BrianT
Just reread my post above. Sounds kind of cranky.

not at all.... ****, if the players talent would of progressed as much as the gear designers, we might actually have some incredible music to record with said gear.
Old 3rd February 2003
  #12
Quote:
Originally posted by BrianT
Just reread my post above. Sounds kind of cranky.
Ditto Alphajerk.
I thought it was very measured and I agree with you 100%.
The other little way these manufacturers enslave us in the endless upgrading cycle is by ending support for previous versions.
As far as hardware is concerned, parts become obsolete, repairs become as expensive as total replacement/renewal.
On the software front, if you want to keep the same computer the newer software is too cpu consuming. If you want to get a new computer the old software wont run on it.
I do think you were being a bit harsh on producers and engineers though. I'm a musician and in the old days I used to be 'on' for a whole take. These days I usually run down a couple of takes, give 'em a few alternate fills and endings and they edit it from that. So I think it's more likely that groups of musicians are less able to perform to their best on one take than the guys on the other side of the glass are at fault.
Old 3rd February 2003
  #13
Little Labs
 
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DSD on the consumer end I believe will win over DVD-A just because they are doing a good job with the dual layer discs like with the rolling stones catalog. The DVD-A people could do the same thing but are a bit slow at getting on the boat.

As far as what sounds better the hi bit hi bandwidth PCM or DSD some say PCM some say DSD, and that is the mastering guys I know who have those sou-pah ears say. Anyway DSD has advantages in its one bit architecture and although new, it will be easier to implement especially on the D to A side where you can just about use a capacitor to roll off the clock and hear music.

The other question about the handling and XRCD. If you do a lot of digital copies from this to that problems due to clocking jitter etc.you will notice sonic degradation. The first time I heard the aardsync properly used it was startling how much better things sounded using that as a clock. When the CD manufacturing plant is handed the U-matic or worse the exabyte from there on it's out of control of the enginner mastering guy artist etc. Check this out: http://www.xrcd.net/Shopping/process.asp

Jonathan
Old 3rd February 2003
  #14
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matucha's Avatar
but don't forget about low end, most people don't hear the difference, or hear but don't care... this is the majority, most of them doesn't have really bad audiosystems and most of them download MP3s. This is the marketplace...

Musicians? Most of "modern" music is created in project studios or "bigger" project studios and I don't expect these people to go and buy a whole new rig for DSD. Not at the high prices...

But DSD is pushed hardly nowadays, so anything is possible, even SACD and CD-A records, where CD-A are cliped and attentuated for demonstration of inferiority of CD-A to SACD...

Don't get me wrong, I'm for the best sound standard, but this is a reality. Will DSD follow Beta?
Old 3rd February 2003
  #15
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Steve Smith's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by alphajerk
not at all.... ****, if the players talent would of progressed as much as the gear designers, we might actually have some incredible music to record with said gear.

Brian, Alpha, that is whata I was trying to get at, well said.
Old 3rd February 2003
  #16
Gear nut
 
verbular's Avatar
 

Hi,

I do agree 100% about CD pressing issues. Two perspectives I can offer is that of CDR's, where different media brands sound different. Some people even say certain batches sound different, but I haven't experimented that far, personally. This is something that most people can experiment even at home at relatively low cost. There also seems to be an issue with which CD burner, but I don't know enough to elaborate.........

I also had an occasion where a known engineer allowed me to copy a certain work that he was involved in, a classic album by worldwide standards (I'd be shot dead by mentioning it). The copy was made from a reference CD that was made at the mastering facility upon it's reissue. I already had the same album that came from the same master, but mass-manufactured. I quickly comapred the sounds of both, and even at that point, could tell that there were sounds one could hear in the former, and made it far more enjoyable an experience.

I do know certain people that are very much into the details of CD manufacturing, but personally am not that well versed.

As for DSD, I've only heard it once briefly, but was somewhat in shock to it's audio fidelity, it wasn't "charecterless", but I was stuck on words on how to describe it, and my initial gut reaction was "****, what the f**k am I going to do with this then?!" it seemed like PCM was almost a mini disk recording........not that radical I suppose, but the lack of definitive charecter with DSD did get me thinking.

DSD has current limitations, but some progressive people here are starting to use the systems and SACD players are slowly starting to become popular. An 18 year old girl won't know what it is, but a 30 year old man with a bit to spend does. I'm sure with systems like the Pyramix, things will start to change slowly.

Analogue, I just love. It's a shame that there aren't many machines running properly here (Japan) and fewer assistants who can align them properly.
Old 3rd February 2003
  #17
Jax
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What about the fact that DVD players already have a strong foothold in the consumer market? You can't go to Blockbuster and rent a DSD, for that matter I don't believe you can rent an audio only DVD, but the point is that many people already have the technology in their homes to play DVD-A in their homes. There is no stretch for them to buy a DVD just for listening, but there may well be a drawback: there in no music video or other visual feedback to accompany every song on the disc. I believe DVD will cause an even greater demand for multimedia presentations to accompany the audio, and DVD will be the "next" format. It practically already is.

If we look at other evidence to support the multimedia explosion, video games are clearly outselling CD's, and these days video games have become a multimedia entertainment device. They are linked to the internet for online gaming, and slews of bands have recorded soundtracks, and/or lent tracks from their records to "enhance" a gaming experience. Seems to me, all the methods of entertainment that can be digitized, will be, and they will increasingly be played over the same medium at the same time.
Old 4th February 2003
  #18
Little Labs
 
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[QUOTE]What about the fact that DVD players already have a strong foothold in the consumer market? You can't go to Blockbuster and rent a DSD, for that matter I don't believe you can rent an audio only DVD, but the point is that many people already have the technology in their homes to play DVD-A.[QUOTE]

Only the newer and the more expensive DVD players will play DVD-A. The SACD/CD hybrid discs will play in any player. What I thought was cool about the Abkco Stones reissues is thet didn't even say SACD on the packaging they just played SACD in a SACD player, CD in a CD player. Put DVD-A in Amazon you have to dig deep to find one with SACD they have lots.

I'm an audio guy when it comes to the video end I like to use my mind but...I'm old. Pong is still my video game of choice. yuktyy
Old 4th February 2003
  #19
Little Labs
 
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[Jonathan, you mentioned that the DSD D/A's were relatively easy to implement. Does this mean that lower-end consumer players will keep more of the benefits compared to PCM? I mean, I think we've all heard PCM, even 16/44.1, that sounds great, but it usually involves $$$ converters. Can DSD get closer to that with the cheap stuff?]

I believe in theory yes, but I don't claim in any way to be an expert in this area. Someone who I consider absolutely brilliant in this area is Ed Meitner. Here is an interview link from positive feedback magazine on the subject which is very insightful. It also makes a very good argument for DSD as an archive medium.
http://www.positive-feedback.com/pfb...r.rev.8n2.html

-Jonathan
Old 4th February 2003
  #20
Smart Research
 

Quote:
Originally posted by littlelabs
In my humble opinion ...
so much of why the CDs don't sound as good as SACD is purely handling, not the bandwidth or bits. JVC XRCDs for example basically all they are is someone following through all the way to the plant to make sure every step is done right.

Jonathan
Agree with this....as I understand it you cannot actually verify data in any regard through the chain to pressed CD's. The only way is to submit your project on Exabyte.....really ???

All facets of digital interpolation or fudging end up less benign, than a bit less signal to noise on analogue media.

BrianT...so there's still some big room for improvements...but please dont retract a word !!. Your view sorts out the men from the boys !.

Commercial format wars are the bain of our future....there is still room for big 'functional' shifts in recording practice I think, but I think Brian T's points mean the scope for unilateral acceptance of any new production format unlikely beyond a newer commercial release format. Abbey Road were heard grumbling recently that they must now preserve for ever a warehouse full of every format tape, plus the relevant machine used to make it since the 3M digital appeared in the 80's.

anyone know of the 'audit' trail through mastering for DVD-A ? If I look at the data off a commercial release, is it demonstrable as the original file?

Last Rant....Paul Frindle in my view is one of the most talented audio designers in any medium. With some 20 patents to his name, and the Sony Oxford console, his view is that more is not by a long chalk better. The potential for cumulative algorythmic errors (here I'm totally at sea) is amplified by quantity, not diminished. We all would think that more numbers define a signal more accurately. Should we assume this ?. Oh, and he says one bit is an intellectual red-herring....

Al.
Old 4th February 2003
  #21
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
I would like to chime in to the effect that I agreed totally, word for word, with BrianT's post. Bri, I didn't think you came off as cranky to the least. I found your insight highly realistic. Sometimes pure realism seems biting and caustic - so be it.

DSD:

I have no problem with it as a mastering format. Some like the sound of it, and if that facilitates their enjoyment of music, then "tally-ho" with SACD. If peeps are willing to buy my music on SACD, I'll have it mastered to SACD.

But audio engineers have to understand that processing a 1-bit signal is virtually impossible, hence "DSD-Wide." DSD-Wide is conversion from 1-bit to multi-bit PCM for the purpose of processing. All DSD processing utilizes this process. So if Mr. Paul Frindle did indeed state that "one bit is an intellectual red-herring," (and I have no reason to doubt that he did indeed state that), he may have been referring to the fact that DSD is not actually a true alternative to PCM. As I understand, DSD is actually single-bit PCM.

To wit, Mr. Ed Meitner states:
Quote:
don’t forget that every A to D converter that you see on the market today starts off as a DSD modulator. So then you have the DSD signal on the A to D that just goes to the PCM down sampler or decimator and gets turned into PCM, so the life of the audio in the digital world really starts off as a one-bit signal.
I read the interview with Ed Meitner that Jonathan "Littlelabs" posted the link to a couple of years ago. If you read that interview, you'll notice that Mr. Meitner suggests repeatedly that conversion of any kind adds noise to a signal. By Mr. Meitner's own logic, it would seem that recording to DSD, then converting to "DSD-Wide" (multi-bit PCM) for processing, then re-converting back to DSD for mastering, is counter-intuitive to that logic.

This is why it bewilders me that audio engineers would consider DSD as a recording format, because it adds unnecessary conversion steps to the signal chain. Perhaps this is the "red herring" Mr. Frindle was referring to.

The SACD product in itself, on the other hand, has its merits (according to taste, of course). My personal feeling is that SACD was a potentially interesting product, the marketing of which was poorly implemented by Sony. They tried to market DSD as "different" from PCM (which it is not), and SACD as "revolutionary" (which it is clearly not, as explained by Mr. Meitner himself).

If Sony had marketed the SACD for what it truly is: "CD's Colored To Resemble Your Old Vinyl Records," I bet they would have had a bonanza on their hands. They wouldn't be able to press the damn things fast enough.

Instead, they printed postcard circulars for stacking at hi-fi stores, hawking the 1-bit conversion (which cannot be dithered, so what engineer will be impressed by that??), and the off-the-scale sampling rates (and what exactly does the average consumer know about sampling rates when even many pro audio engineers cannot grasp that issue??). What a mess.

If anyone from Sony is lurking here, it would behoove you to email me, so I can re-configure your marketing of this badly-adrift product.
Old 4th February 2003
  #22
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malice's Avatar
 

Brian : ditto, a thousand times

Eric : one of the best and more understandable post about DSD I read ...

To extand those two subject, my concern about evolution of gear and technology is that I fear sometimes that thoses so called "improvments" are ruining little by little the sound quality.
I remember this Mitsubichi 32 tracks prodigy replacing the studer in the control room, and the frutration that I felt after one week sessions, I remember myself struggling to put the studer back, I remember the coming of protools rig, and every clients who only wanted to work with it, I remember the replacement of the SSL by that OXFORD OR3 etc ...
What I mean here, is that evolution of gear in studios are more dictated by fashions than by quality improvement, and I fear DSD will be one more episode of this syndrom.We are discussing about the validity of DSD multitrack over PCM, but in reality, we will follow demands more than common sense. In other words clients, record companys guys that often don't have more clues about technology than the basic consumers to whom they are selling records will make US invest in DSD if they are convinced it IS the medium to use in the 21th century, even if it is absurd.
Same story is repeating over and over again...

malice
Old 4th February 2003
  #23
Little Labs
 
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I was just crawling into bed and saw some action going down on this thread. Perhaps I am missing the point, but sometimes I find it difficult to determine in posts the emotion of the writer. But anyway, as I write this half asleep. Putting up your dukes to Sony I think misses where Sony was going. >Now Don't throw bottles at me< The DSD was developed for the final step in mastering SACDS. Where it really shines is on these reissue type deals like the Stones. "CD's Colored To Resemble Your Old Vinyl Records"maybe, actually I don't think so, but it sure seems to give a lot of people wood. It is a consumer end listener format. I am aware of the drawbacks of DSD signal being converted to manipulate if used in that capacity. Can't blame Sony if the buzz word of DSD is getting out of hand and people start asking for product that really won't be anything more than DSD out, with all kinds of nasty conversion in-between. Digi-design doesn't care. But as DSD sits unconverted it is a decent medium hence the archiving advantages. The less conversion we all agree the better, so if the one bit is stored as that, it is less converted. Formats Shmormats who needs another, I'm not waving any flags here and I'm with what Brian says here as well. I think discussions here enlighten alot of people, boys, men, women and girls to the limitations of a format in this case DSD.

Now I'm going to sleep ...good night
Old 5th February 2003
  #24
Smart Research
 

Quote:
Originally posted by malice
To extand those two subject, my concern about evolution of gear and technology is that I fear sometimes that thoses so called "improvments" are ruining little by little the sound quality.

malice
Agreed.....creative use, operational ability, which then become comercial pressure on facilities to invest, decides what gear sticks. Audio quality, except in minority areas, comes second. An ineditable recording format ? mmm....

Al.
Old 5th February 2003
  #25
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Cool thread guys!

Old 5th February 2003
  #26
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Basically it's like this: The DSD conversion is now 64x44.1 kHz at 1 bit recorded to disk (soon to be 128x SR, the Meitner converters do it now, maybe he knows something?), from disk you can easily convert it to any format you'd like, it's just math processed by a computer. You can process this signal in a mathematical way and reconvert it to DSD (64x or 128x) for listening, no converter, no decimation filter, no anti-aliasing. In fact from the initial conversion there are no physical converters to be had, just math. This makes the sum of errors law less pertinent, no? The quality would depend on the changes made during its stay in multi-bit land.
To me first impressions are more influential than agonizing pain staking scientific double blind mumbo jumbo. I heard soloed channel recordings of musicians that I know and have heard in front of my face, and admittedly under less than ideal circumstances. I really liked it, I recognised the player right away, the saxomophone sounded just like that, square waves and all, (this is the point, DACs redrawing high frequency square waves as sine waves).
I've always liked digital for its quietness, I even like ADATs for this, but there's something I've been missing.
For consumers, Let it be. Betacam won out over VHS on the professional front. Maybe it'll go the same way with this. But I think I remember something about a low priced universal disk reader coming with BluRay, and I think more attention should be paid to this topic, as it concerns the consumer, the pro and data storage. Better is always better.
Old 5th February 2003
  #27
Lives for gear
 

Did you guys ever hear the behind the scenes story on the VHS/Beta technology?

It's an amazing story, but I'll not take the time to tell it if it's known hereabouts.


Regards,
Brian T
Old 5th February 2003
  #28
Jax
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Here's one vote for the VHS/Beta story. I haven't heard it.
Old 5th February 2003
  #29
Hey, take it over to www.vidslutz.comtut

Just kiddin'
Old 5th February 2003
  #30
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Second vote - I want storiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiies
heh
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