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Does analog gear really sound "better", or is it just a learned response?
Old 30th June 2020
  #4591
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vernier's Avatar
A n a l o g ! ! !

Old 30th June 2020
  #4592
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horowizard1's Avatar
 

It's a learned response because it sounds better. The eye is much slower than the ear which is why 24 FPS worked for film. However, the logic of more detail perceived as harsh is flawed, since Digital is always a re-assemblage of snap shots stored as numbers and there will always be limit to that. Analog has no limits to it's frequency range. The detail is infinite and you really hear the difference on boutique Stereo Systems.
Old 30th June 2020
  #4593
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zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by horowizard1 View Post
Analog has no limits to it's frequency range. The detail is infinite
False.

Quote:
and you really hear the difference on boutique Stereo Systems.
Which only a very tiny percentage of people have. I agree that if you’re end product is going to be played on high end systems, then you should use the very best you can get your hands on, but last year’s album of the year Grammy winner was recorded on in Logic using a UAD Apollo interface and is most likely getting played on Beats headphones, or worse. Sounds pretty good on my mid level home system via Apple Music.
Old 30th June 2020
  #4594
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Stoneblack's Avatar
 

'Grammy winner'
Old 30th June 2020
  #4595
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Liquidaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
This is the cockpit of the F-35 fighter jet, about the closest thing to a "spaceship" that you have even a chance of ever sitting in. I would imagine that as technology moves forward, such machines will look more and more like this:



and less and less like this:





...
Seems like too much bells, whistles and plugins in the first cockpit, what's the fun in automated target finding? I'd rather have a Spitfire with a Royce Merlin engine, some lethal old metal beast that kicks like a horse.

Why would I want an Abrams tank with a Playstation controller? Let me find the bastards in my Sherman and blow their candles out with a fat round, while the oil inside is burning my legs. That's war baby!

A Tesla?! These things look like cheap toys.

I have stopped investing in digital, not because it's "inferior". Rather because it ain't worth anything in ten years time. No more money wasting on converters too. Nobody cares. I sold my old Lexicon reverb because it was falling apart. Only have a few 1176 compressors, LA2A, my 4000 and no plugins besides some reverb. That's 4 analog items and I haven't had any complaints, plus my head is clear. No windows no menu's.

It's all very subjective but this is what works for me.
Old 30th June 2020
  #4596
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Sharp11's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by horowizard1 View Post
It's a learned response because it sounds better. The eye is much slower than the ear which is why 24 FPS worked for film. However, the logic of more detail perceived as harsh is flawed, since Digital is always a re-assemblage of snap shots stored as numbers and there will always be limit to that. Analog has no limits to it's frequency range. The detail is infinite and you really hear the difference on boutique Stereo Systems.
Wow!!Only two posts in and you hit the goldmine of promoting the "digital stair steps" fallacy - I think robert82 has been awaiting your arrival.

Old 30th June 2020
  #4597
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xlon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
Funny how the so-called "neutral" writer just so happens to be repeating and reinforcing a loaded inanity that needs to die. What a coincidence.

Some people are calling a saxophone a "blow horn". Not me of course, I would never call a saxophone a "blow horn". I was just neutrally reporting on the fact that some other people use the term "blow horn" to refer to a saxophone. But that's silly, a saxophone is not a "blow horn". Who would call it a "blow horn"? Not me. I am neutral.
Yes, finally you got it!
Old 30th June 2020
  #4598
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donnylang's Avatar
The correct answer is:

What’s the difference?
Old 30th June 2020
  #4599
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert82 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by art felton View Post
Due to discrete steps digital processing involves small amounts of computational error.
Paging Monty . . . .
Sure:



I guess it's already been posted a few times in this thread. It's never enough...
Old 30th June 2020
  #4600
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Crazy4Jazz's Avatar
 

It always struck me how well recorded and mixed music sounds good on any playback system. Quality is not system dependent. There are limitations with respect to volume, frequency range and distortion but otherwise we can all hear differences regardless of what system we have. I suppose we can ask ourselves why that is if we really want to be honest.
Old 30th June 2020
  #4601
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art felton's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Back to school, you!
You probably do not take into account that I am writing about digital processing versus analog processing and not about digital recording and playback. Digital recording and playback is perfectly fine. Processing with plugins is a different matter. Stacking a number of plugins one on top of the other is asking for trouble.
Old 30th June 2020
  #4602
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art felton's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cabirio View Post
Sure:



I guess it's already been posted a few times in this thread. It's never enough...
You do not take into account that I am writing about digital processing versus analog processing and not about digital recording and playback. Digital recording and playback is perfectly fine. Processing with plugins is a different matter. Stacking a number of plugins one on top of the other is asking for trouble.
Old 30th June 2020
  #4603
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art felton's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
Did you graduate from Art Felton's School Of Digital Nonsense ?
Art Feltons’s School Of Digital Nonsense. I like that. How do you suppose a digital plugin works? It performs calculations. It must decide what to do with the least significant bit of each and every sample. It will have to place it up or down. When you stack a few plugins one on top of the other and they do not know what the others do with the least significant bit you end up with edgy gritty sound.
Old 30th June 2020
  #4604
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It's noise. Noise accumulates. Digital noise accumulates. Analog noise accumulates. As far as noise is concerned, stacking plugins only differs from stacking hardware in the amount of noise accumulated. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to estimate the orders of magnitude involved in each case.
Old 30th June 2020
  #4605
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Sharp11's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by art felton View Post
Art Feltons’s School Of Digital Nonsense. I like that. How do you suppose a digital plugin works? It performs calculations. It must decide what to do with the least significant bit of each and every sample. It will have to place it up or down. When you stack a few plugins one on top of the other and they do not know what the others do with the least significant bit you end up with edgy gritty sound.
It's ok, you've been out ill-informed by more recent digital theorists. It could be a fun day.
Old 30th June 2020
  #4606
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
It's ok, you've been out ill-informed by more recent digital theorists. It could be a fun day.
Ok, I lied: it isn't really noise. If only there were a way of making it look like noise...

Edit: just to clarify, I was addressing his concern that "It must decide what to do with the least significant bit of each and every sample", so what he's talking about is quantization noise.
Old 30th June 2020
  #4607
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
I was a subscriber from when they were a "small" book, to when they went to a full-magazine size and then back again. Read Dune as a serialized story.
Right. I think I might have a couple copies of the big format slick -- but it was the little, pulp style pocket book size that represented my era.
Old 30th June 2020
  #4608
Quote:
Originally Posted by art felton View Post
You probably do not take into account that I am writing about digital processing versus analog processing and not about digital recording and playback. Digital recording and playback is perfectly fine. Processing with plugins is a different matter. Stacking a number of plugins one on top of the other is asking for trouble.
To be honest, I've kind of always felt that way about processing effects in general, since well before my adoption of digital.

But others have noted that the freedom to use copy after copy of a plug-in effect on a given project (and potentially do that with a whole bunch of different plugs) can tempt one to just throw too much spaghetti at the wall in the first place
Old 30th June 2020
  #4609
Quote:
Originally Posted by xlon View Post
Let’s rap this up in good standing!
Being a SciFi fan myself just goes to show that we are decent folk
Best Wishes,
M
Old 30th June 2020
  #4610
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by art felton View Post
Art Feltons’s School Of Digital Nonsense. I like that. How do you suppose a digital plugin works? It performs calculations. It must decide what to do with the least significant bit of each and every sample. It will have to place it up or down. When you stack a few plugins one on top of the other and they do not know what the others do with the least significant bit you end up with edgy gritty sound.
What are you talking about? I think you should spend some time talking to a software developer before writing such nonsense.
Old 30th June 2020
  #4611
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art felton's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
What are you talking about? I think you should spend some time talking to a software developer before writing such nonsense.
If I am so completely wrong please explain to me where problems
arise when you use a number of digital processors in sequence or do you think there aren't any?
Old 30th June 2020
  #4612
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Sharp11's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DMFraser View Post
This has been debated ever since the first digital gear hit the market. The answer comes down to "it depends".

Good digital will sound better than crappy analog gear. but mediocre digital gear will be outclassed by good analog gear. While top notch digital gear is very good as is top notch analog gear.

As a designer of professional audio gear for decades, my conclusion is that for digital gear to match or exceed good analog gear, the sample rate has to be at least 96kHz, preferably 192 kHz. The bit depth has to be 24 bits or higher. Any compression must be lossless compression.

The original CD spec of 44.1k 16 or 18 bit sampling is easily outclassed by good analog gear. But SACD quality is a close match to top end analog gear though the two will sound different. Not a lot different but shall we say in different sorts of excellence. Lossy file compression like the original MP3 methods definitely reduce the quality of a signal no matter the original sampling rate or bit depth. But the newer compression methods operated in a lossless mode are very good.

The original MP3 format was developed in the days when hard drive space was very expensive. As that is no longer the case, there is no reason to use a lossy compression format any longer.

However there is no single definitive answer. Other than do not use the old 44.1k/16 bit sampling rate. Or even 48K. Drive space is so cheap that slow sampling rates or less than 24bit depth is a waste of your time. Master recordings can even be 32 bit to preserve all the dynamic range. Overkill is better.
And a brand new Hyundai easily outclasses a 15 year old Mercedes ... so what?

16/44 is more than enough resolution for a sampling reconstruction filter to calculate what single possible path there can be to connect the space between two samples (snapshots), and recreate the waveform exactly as it was before sampling. Look at a waveform on an oscilloscope - it should look the same coming out of a DAC as it did going in ... if it looks different, it will sound different. if it looks the same, it will sound the same.

I record and master at 24/48 because the television/film industry I work in requires me to deliver at that spec, but there have been many times when I've accidentally spent a day recording and mixing at 16/48 (often because I've discovered an old drum or piano performance of mine ripe for sampling) and not known it. It sounds great, and I can't hear any difference - not a spec of difference between 24/48 and 16/48. Still, I have to upsample the result for my clients.

That may be because in my early 60s, my hearing tops out at 12k @-18db, (with volume, I can hear higher), I don't know if I even have the dynamic range available to me that even the lowly 16/44 provides. The youngest person, with pristine hearing up to 20k still has 4.1 k he cannot hear in a 16/44k recording. That's assuming there's a microphone that has recorded information up to 20k and beyond - yes there are mic's that record higher frequencies than 20k available, but are not common.

96 and higher sample rates are just overkill - I know there are people who claim to have super - magical hearing and can detect things that aren't measurable, but I think they're full of crap - one famous mastering engineer (in his 60s) even repeatedly failed his own double blind tests after making a claim he could hear way down (80 or so db) into the noise floor. He proved he couldn't, but insisted he could and the measurement tools, and blind tests HE devised were faulty.

Objectively, digital sound done right will have higher fidelity than any analog recording, it will sound transparent, it will null even after repeated copies - yes it may be impossible to replicate Alvin Lucier's masterpiece "I'm Sitting In A Room" with digital equipment, such is the fun of analog's quirks, but there's no question digital processes offer the highest fidelity and most transparent listening experience available today - and at a cost/value ratio that has ********ized the entire industry - for better or worse.
Old 30th June 2020
  #4613
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Sharp11's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by art felton View Post
If I am so completely wrong please explain to me where problems
arise when you use a number of digital processors in sequence or do you think there aren't any?
The onus is on you to make your case, not for him to disprove your theory.
Old 30th June 2020
  #4614
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
The onus is on you to make your case, not for him to disprove your theory.
You still batting people about this nonsense topic? lol Doesn't it get boring?
Old 30th June 2020
  #4615
Gear Addict
 
MandoBastardo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cabirio View Post
It's noise. Noise accumulates. Digital noise accumulates. Analog noise accumulates. As far as noise is concerned, stacking plugins only differs from stacking hardware in the amount of noise accumulated. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to estimate the orders of magnitude involved in each case.

We come to gearslutz for the signal, but we stay for the noise.
Old 30th June 2020
  #4616
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And all those Groupies... (ah the 60's/70's!)
Chris
Old 30th June 2020
  #4617
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zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by art felton View Post
If I am so completely wrong please explain to me where problems
arise when you use a number of digital processors in sequence or do you think there aren't any?
Here, have some reading so you get a base knowledge of what we’re talking about.

https://sonicscoop.com/2013/08/29/wh...robably-wrong/

You’re probably hearing something that has more to do with poor gain staging. Of course, you’re just as likely to have issues with stacking multiple analog devices... maybe even worse, considering how analog noise stacks up.
Old 30th June 2020
  #4618
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robert82's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MandoBastardo View Post
We come to gearslutz for the signal, but we stay for the noise.
With your permission, this is now my new sig line!
Old 1st July 2020
  #4619
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
Exactly - on an oscilloscope, a sine wave going in >sampled> reconstructed, is a sine wave coming out.

In short, it sounds like whatever you've recorded.
Oscilloscope is not the best tool for identifying artifacts of digital conversion. High definition spectrum analysis is much more revealing. A couple of years back I did a lot of spectrum analysis of various in the box plugins for some classes I was teaching at a university. I was surprised to see nearly everything I tested generated some aliasing that went well into the audible range. Depending on the frequencies of the original signal sometimes the aliasing affected the low frequencies as well as the high. Some plugins were not too bad but some were really terrible. However nothing I tested was completely clean. I'm sure this low level aliasing has some impact on the perceived 'harshness' of digital sound in the real world.
Old 1st July 2020
  #4620
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I remember Oscilloscope well. When I first saw "Laurence Of Arabia", on the big screen.
Chris
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