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Does analog gear really sound "better", or is it just a learned response?
Old 1st July 2020
  #4621
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MandoBastardo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by robert82 View Post
With your permission, this is now my new sig line!
Permission granted. Not that you needed to ask. It's only going to be buried in the noise anyhow...
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Old 1st July 2020
  #4622
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
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.
Nice article. Extremely low-level noise from quantization errors that no one will ever hear are at least mentioned. Just keep in mind that noise has the habit of adding up. If every plugin adds a low-level noise at some point it will get audible.

Justin Colletti states: ‘The short explanation is that when we sample a continuous real-world waveform with a non-infinite number of digital bits, we have to fudge that waveform slightly in one direction or another to have it land at the nearest possible bit-value. This waveform shifting is called a “quantization error,” and it happens every time we capture a signal. It may sound counter-intuitive, but this doesn’t actually distort the waveform. The difference is merely rendered as noise.’ End of Quote

If you accept that as fact than it is rather logical that the same thing applies to digital processing. It adds low-level noise akin to quantization noise. The only difference is that we have algorithms performing calculations.

I do not want to get fussy, but one statement in this article does not make sense. Justin Colletti does not seem to fully grasp the function of dither. He states: ‘From there, we can “dither” the noise, reshaping it in a way that is even less noticeable.’ That is wrong, but that’s all right. I will not get into this.

If we can agree that every plugin you put to work in a mix adds a low-level noise, then that’s all I’m saying.

This is not a disaster, but worth keeping in mind.
Old 1st July 2020
  #4623
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oberon23 View Post
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.
Thanks for sharing! Twenty years ago we went to a pro studio with SSL desk and Studer machines. The tracks sounded great. Then, the producer decided to mix it in the box. This was early Pro Tools and what came out felt like an insult. Today some plugins are very good indeed in comparison.
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Old 1st July 2020
  #4624
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Quote:
Originally Posted by art felton View Post
Nice article. Extremely low-level noise from quantization errors that no one will ever hear are at least mentioned. Just keep in mind that noise has the habit of adding up. If every plugin adds a low-level noise at some point it will get audible.

Justin Colletti states: ‘The short explanation is that when we sample a continuous real-world waveform with a non-infinite number of digital bits, we have to fudge that waveform slightly in one direction or another to have it land at the nearest possible bit-value. This waveform shifting is called a “quantization error,” and it happens every time we capture a signal. It may sound counter-intuitive, but this doesn’t actually distort the waveform. The difference is merely rendered as noise.’ End of Quote

If you accept that as fact than it is rather logical that the same thing applies to digital processing. It adds low-level noise akin to quantization noise. The only difference is that we have algorithms performing calculations.

I do not want to get fussy, but one statement in this article does not make sense. Justin Colletti does not seem to fully grasp the function of dither. He states: ‘From there, we can “dither” the noise, reshaping it in a way that is even less noticeable.’ That is wrong, but that’s all right. I will not get into this.

If we can agree that every plugin you put to work in a mix adds a low-level noise, then that’s all I’m saying.

This is not a disaster, but worth keeping in mind.
Everything you add to a mix creates noise, but analog equipment and processes add noise at levels much higher than quantization noise - that’s why analog is often credited with being equivalent to 12 to 13 bit in the digital world.

Unless you live in an Anechoic chamber, there’s a noise floor every where you go, even in the quietest recording studios - this noise floor far exceeds that of digital audio gear, which all things considered is the quietest link in your recording chain. You don’t even want to be thinking about self noise in mics and the distortion your monitor speakers are churning out Lol
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Old 1st July 2020
  #4625
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Quote:
Originally Posted by art felton View Post
Thanks for sharing! Twenty years ago we went to a pro studio with SSL desk and Studer machines. The tracks sounded great. Then, the producer decided to mix it in the box. This was early Pro Tools and what came out felt like an insult. Today some plugins are very good indeed in comparison.
Good for you,

I have years of experience behind an ssl and itb mixing - As with some others on this site, this is how I make my living.
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Old 1st July 2020
  #4626
Quote:
Originally Posted by art felton View Post
Nice article. Extremely low-level noise from quantization errors that no one will ever hear are at least mentioned. Just keep in mind that noise has the habit of adding up. If every plugin adds a low-level noise at some point it will get audible.

Justin Colletti states: ‘The short explanation is that when we sample a continuous real-world waveform with a non-infinite number of digital bits, we have to fudge that waveform slightly in one direction or another to have it land at the nearest possible bit-value. This waveform shifting is called a “quantization error,” and it happens every time we capture a signal. It may sound counter-intuitive, but this doesn’t actually distort the waveform. The difference is merely rendered as noise.’ End of Quote

If you accept that as fact than it is rather logical that the same thing applies to digital processing. It adds low-level noise akin to quantization noise. The only difference is that we have algorithms performing calculations.

I do not want to get fussy, but one statement in this article does not make sense. Justin Colletti does not seem to fully grasp the function of dither. He states: ‘From there, we can “dither” the noise, reshaping it in a way that is even less noticeable.’ That is wrong, but that’s all right. I will not get into this.

If we can agree that every plugin you put to work in a mix adds a low-level noise, then that’s all I’m saying.

This is not a disaster, but worth keeping in mind.
Important to remember that the correlated alias distortion is 'transformed' into simple, decorrelated noise (like 'hiss,' if you will) by dithering. This is where the digital noise floor comes from. (And, as we know, that digital noise floor for 16 bit is ~ -96 dB FS and for 24 bit ~ -144 dB FS; of course, the latter is far below the noise floor of conventional analog circuits, so is only really pertinent within the digital domain.)

Noise-shaping is also often combined with dithering to essentially shift that lowest-significant-bit level noise to frequency ranges where it should be even less 'noticeable.' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noise_shaping
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Old 1st July 2020
  #4627
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Important to remember that the correlated alias distortion is 'transformed' into simple, decorrelated noise (like 'hiss,' if you will) by dithering. This is where the digital noise floor comes from. (And, as we know, that digital noise floor for 16 bit is ~ -96 dB FS and for 24 bit ~ -144 dB FS; of course, the latter is far below the noise floor of conventional analog circuits, so is only really pertinent within the digital domain.)

Noise-shaping is also often combined with dithering to essentially shift that lowest-significant-bit level noise to frequency ranges where it should be even less 'noticeable.' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noise_shaping
People obsess over what's happening down at -80db, yet never stop to think about the noise in their "quiet" recording space that's sitting at +30db (or greater).

Sigh ... only in the audio world. LOL
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Old 1st July 2020
  #4628
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
People obsess over what's happening down at -80db, yet never stop to think about the noise in their "quiet" recording space that's sitting at +30db (or greater).

Sigh ... only in the audio world. LOL
I remember sitting in on a friend's session on hot day, where they forgot to shut off the A/C for one of the takes - a good take too.

"it's dither" said the engineer
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Old 1st July 2020
  #4629
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Some of my friends would regard my favorite CD's as being 2 bit, at most.

"shut off the AC". That's a good policy, no blasting any AC/DC during of my takes!
Chris
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Old 1st July 2020
  #4630
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gears View Post
I've been wondering for awhile why most of us prefer the sound of analog gear generally speaking.
It doesn't sound 'better' - but people like sound of analog gear.IMO People will be using whatever they like the 'sound' of for as long as that gear can be maintained and serviced.
Old 1st July 2020
  #4631
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
Good for you,

I have years of experience behind an ssl and itb mixing - As with some others on this site, this is how I make my living.
Working in the box is just too convenient to be ignored. I am not interested in bashing contemporary plugins. I use them all the time. They are absolutely brilliant as corrective tools. However most plugins are still not good at enhancing or sweetening audio in my experience. The question was: ‘Does analog gear really sound "better", or is it just a learned response?’ When people say that mixes done in the box without any outboard equipment sound somewhat thin and lifeless, then I have experienced this on a regular basis. There is nothing wrong whatsoever with digital technology or CDs. There was something not quite right with early AD/DA converters, early plugins and codec. This I know without a doubt. What Oberon23 has found to his astonishment is that there are still plugins out there that will most probably degrade a mix. We are lucky that plugins have improved a great deal.
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Old 1st July 2020
  #4632
Quote:
Originally Posted by art felton View Post
What exactly do you mean when you say that correlated alias distortion is 'transformed' into simple, de-correlated noise (like 'hiss,' if you will) by dithering? I do not understand what you mean.
Alias distortion produced by plugins is not 'transformed' into simple, de-correlated noise by dithering as I understand it.

Dither is random noise that is added to a signal before truncation at the LSB of the destination bit depth.
What dither does is prevent the signal from ever falling below the level of the LSB, so a D/A converter never turns off and therefore truncation distortion is avoided.
That last sentence is something of a head-scratcher to me, I have to say.

What dither does (in quite oversimplified terms) is replace the LSB of the digitized analog signal (which is necessarily correlated with that signal, obviously) with random information (noise), effectively decorrelating the alias distortion into noise. (And noise-shaping applies some form of filter to the randomized noise to shift to frequency ranges where it should be even less discernible by human ears.)

[I had previously linked to a couple of articles I thought might be helpful; however, once I got a chance to sit down and look at them I decided they were not adequate. So I'm going to cop out:. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_audio ]

Last edited by theblue1; 2nd July 2020 at 03:57 AM..
Old 2nd July 2020
  #4633
Lives for gear
Or watch Monty's video above, min. 11:35. I know it's been posted to death, but I wonder how many people have actually watched it...
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Old 2nd July 2020
  #4634
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
Really they were mainly only used for dictation. I worked at a transfer house for a while and some Rabbis came in with wire recordings of their leader. The quality was dreadful to begin with and some of these speeches weren't even sermons, they were just him talking at a table during a Bar Mitzvah or a wedding. You could hear the band in the background. One cool thing about a wire recording is the wire was kind of generic. Spies would sew it into their collar or bra and there would be messages recorded on it. But even if spotted, it would just appear to be a functional wire. Not a microfilm or paper map.
I put your writing into one paragraph just cause, I mean rabbis, spies and bras. This really adds to the mystique of wire recorders! You might even get through the TSA these days too. Inspired by Madonna, tell em.

You wrote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
there are some who will insist that the "magic" is only possible if they record to tape first and then transfer into the computer.
If the work flows like that, and I would like to [digital] [kinda] emulate, my thought is that after tracking to put an instance of a tape vst at the top of each track, all set the same - unless it sounds bad. What do you think -- given that a nice tape machine isn't in my future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
There are some claims that people are able to tell blindfolded a recording that was tape to digital vs a recording that was made digital and then reamped through tape. Of course maybe they are just hearing the extra conversion.
I guess it's possible, depending on the ears and recording. And conditions. But as you wrote, good ears are also fooled at times in these shootouts. Which is progress.
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
people are constantly posting shootouts and polls where there is one real tape deck and 3 plugins imitating tape and you have to guess. A lot of wrong guesses... and a lot big mouths suddenly clam up because as time goes on, the simulations get better and in context it becomes harder to tell....
I have been listening to the difference between an EMT-140 Plate Reverb and all the VSTs around. Admittedly on youtube, but I can hear differences pretty well. Ironically perhaps I did have the opportunity in the 90s to sit in on some mastering sessions at Capitol Records, and got to peek into the reverb room that Sinatra (and many others) used. I clapped. It was amazing, beautiful. But you know, it's a weird room that you would never otherwise build. Purpose-built to create an effect. In a sense it's a bit like surrealist art, the architecture. So in the late 50s I think EMT created this massive plate reverb that was probably 1/50th the size of a room and 1/1000th the cost. In the shootouts, on vocals and snare, the EMT beats out all the plugins for me (though the new Arturia Rev Plate-140 has the sweetness; I have no association to any company, fyi). Examining the real original EMT, it's even more bizarre than a reverb room. A giant metal plate, a voice coil with magnet in the center, the plate acts like a giant speaker (like the cone), there's two mics that are contact mics with metal prongs pressed in the plate. And the damper board (the size of 25 ironing boards) on a massive lever to control delay time. It is like an alien artifact. And a work of genius, because it works. A room in a box the size of a wall. And the amps, you have the signal boost to get the plate moving, then the reamp of the plate source, with balancing amps. It is amazing, the sound, the purity the tone, vibe. When I look at such a beautiful beast, I don't think the term "analog" relates, conceptually. That this electronic-architectural sonic sculpture might be faithfully modeled in math (digital space) would be a logical goal for why they built the EMT in the first place -- to shrink a reverb room -- and the reverb room was built so the studio didn't need a concert hall or Lincoln Tunnel, etc. There is artifice that makes magic, and conversely artifice that is quite sad. In this sense, a genius of artistry might take precedence over what is a somewhat fraught insistence on there being a digital/analogue divide. It is a special case when you want a VST to emulate the actual gear. Usually a few extra options can be added to the emulation, also. It's getting really close, and at times better, with some VSTs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
Shakespeare did not have a typewriter. Everyone knows poetry should be written with a pen. Or even better a goat-hair brush and sumi ink
I thought about this the most. I agree with your sentiment. Though will say that it used to be much easier to buy a used typewriter than make a quill pen, and less messy. I have ground sumi ink (I live in Japan, where people wear masks out of politeness to others, not political correctness) and the stones to grind the ink are usually quite marvelously carved. Let's see, first you start with giant bamboo (mosodake), cut it down in winter when the moisture-content of the bamboo is lowest, burn it to charcoal, and then .... And to make parchment . . . But I was thinking of paper before Gutenberg. First you take a sheep, kill it, skin it, rack the skin, apply lye and other noxious chemistry, pound it, and finally you get vellum. Which is super tough, and lasts if properly preserved for centuries -- unlike magnetic tape, hard drives (or SSDs), or CDs. So the question is, should I acquire a pet sheep?
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Old 2nd July 2020
  #4635
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cabirio View Post
Or watch Monty's video above, min. 11:35. I know it's been posted to death, but I wonder how many people have actually watched it...
Not by as many as many of us might have hoped.

Which is a real shame because I think it's a very good -- and entertaining -- little explainer for folks who have some technical background but are hazy on digital or who picked up some of the typical misapprehensions along the way.
Old 2nd July 2020
  #4636
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Not by as many as many of us might have hoped.

Which is a real shame because I think it's a very good -- and entertaining -- little explainer for folks who have some technical background but are hazy on digital or who picked up some of the typical misapprehensions along the way.
And then the conversation dissolves into minutiae that would never have been on the radar of even the most particular of engineers in the 70s and 80s. To get 75 to 80 dB of S/N in those days was the gold standard. Now people are arguing about signals 100db below the noise floor.

Princess and the Pea.
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Old 2nd July 2020
  #4637
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I kind of prefer a balance. Sure, tape sounds great but I don't have the space or the time to maintain a 2" machine.

I have a friend who uses a TSR-8 and I own an 8 track 5050. Sometimes I'll record drums and bass on the 5050 and send them into ProTools, usually I don't.

I have some decent pres (UA, API, ADL) and find it so simple to record tracks one at a time into PTHD. When it comes time to mix I send everything out to my console and use the EQ and maybe a couple compressors over in the analog domain.

The thing I love about digital is the speed, the ease of editing (I don't think people of a certain age realize how amazing playlists are) and the fact that it's so cheap - drive space is a lot cheaper than tape!

I remember the first time I did some editing in SDII back in maybe 95/96. I was sold right then.
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Old 2nd July 2020
  #4638
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Analog still the (Higher Maintenance) King.
Digital the (Conveniant) Crown Prnce.
Just ask Daptone!
Chris
Old 2nd July 2020
  #4639
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
People obsess over what's happening down at -80db, yet never stop to think about the noise in their "quiet" recording space that's sitting at +30db (or greater).

Sigh ... only in the audio world. LOL
A couple of years ago I mixed a track I'd forgotten about which I had recorded in the late 90s in my living room. I was working with the same artist and he mentioned a song that I remembered recording years ago (two decades!) on a busy London high road, on crap gear (original AKG C1000S > soundblaster platinum IIRR) Luckily being a Cubase user I could retreive my project backup CD, load the 20 year old project (via Cubase SX) and start mixing.

Well, the (PC) electrical noise, background noise, traffic noise floored me! I thought how the hell am I going to get this to sound like the rest of the album? The solo'd vocal and acoustic guitar tracks sounded awful. By the time I'd finished mixing (no denoising) the results stood up perfectly well against the pristinely recorded modern tracks. The point is you can get away with MURDER in the context of a mix and it'll sound more than acceptable! Do I worry about noise these days? Not a bit of it, because what we regard as noise today in the digital world is whisper quiet compared to early digital - let alone analogue/tape. That "awful" digital setup was (noise floor wise) a massive step up from my Fostex R8.
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Old 2nd July 2020
  #4640
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scragend View Post
A couple of years ago I mixed a track I'd forgotten about which I had recorded in the late 90s in my living room. I was working with the same artist and he mentioned a song that I remembered recording years ago (two decades!) on a busy London high road, on crap gear (original AKG C1000S > soundblaster platinum IIRR) Luckily being a Cubase user I could retreive my project backup CD, load the 20 year old project (via Cubase SX) and start mixing.

Well, the (PC) electrical noise, background noise, traffic noise floored me! I thought how the hell am I going to get this to sound like the rest of the album? The solo'd vocal and acoustic guitar tracks sounded awful. By the time I'd finished mixing (no denoising) the results stood up perfectly well against the pristinely recorded modern tracks. The point is you can get away with MURDER in the context of a mix and it'll sound more than acceptable! Do I worry about noise these days? Not a bit of it, because what we regard as noise today in the digital world is whisper quiet compared to early digital - let alone analogue/tape. That "awful" digital setup was (noise floor wise) a massive step up from my Fostex R8.
Some of my collection of vinyl I've had for many years are recordings of classical music. When I re-purchased some of them on CD in the late 80s, i could finally hear all the HVAC, page turns, coughing, music stands being struck, pedal noise from pianos etc.; newly presented on CD without the layer of wow, flutter, spittle, crackle and everything else vinyl brought to the table.

I have a piano recording of Satie's music that's especially horrendous - there's hum, HVAC and ambient noise everywhere.

The other thing I recall was repurchasing The Pat Metheny Group's "First Circle" and hearing a ground hum right before the first hand claps in the title track. Exposed in digital, hidden when the album was released originally as an all analog product.
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Old 2nd July 2020
  #4641
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
The other thing I recall was repurchasing The Pat Metheny Group's "First Circle" and hearing a ground hum right before the first hand claps in the title track. Exposed in digital, hidden when the album was released originally as an all analog product.
Oh.. the humming hissy horror of it all. I attended a Methany concert in the 80s. Knew the promoter - sat front row. Great show.

Once it started. Before the show... the hissing and humming was excruciatingly loud... I was certain the PA and monitors were mere seconds away from exploding.

This was during Pat's endless chain of pedals phase and the year before the noise gate was invented.
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Old 2nd July 2020
  #4642
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xenon View Post
If the work flows like that, and I would like to [digital] [kinda] emulate, my thought is that after tracking to put an instance of a tape vst at the top of each track, all set the same - .
To me, the great thing about a "tape" plug-in is that you have the choice of having it on or not. Instead of being required put it on every track. In fact, most plugs let you selectively turn off the hiss, and bypass the wow and flutter too.

Quote:
unless it sounds bad
If you are honestly going to listen to a technique and judge it by whether it sounds good or bad, why not consider the possibility of of using it on a case-by-case basis. Instead of trying to recreate a specific bygone era?

Quote:
What do you think -- given that a nice tape machine isn't in my future.
Every tape machine there is will only be getting less nice "in the future". Because nobody is making new ones.

Quote:
But as you wrote, good ears are also fooled at times in these shootouts.
I think it is not even a matter of "fooling" someone. It's a matter of the impossibility of a fair test. You can record to tape first, and then digital. You can record to digital first and then tape, but then you have to record back to digital. So that you can post it on Gearslutz or YouTube. Which adds a variable that cannot be controlled for - the extra conversion. The experiment is no longer testing for just the "order".

Even if someone is not fooled, who is to say the difference they perceive is some magical property of Tape First or maybe it is just the mundane contribution of an extra A to D?

Quote:
I have been listening to the difference between an EMT-140 Plate Reverb and all the VSTs around. Admittedly on youtube,
When plates first came out, there were people who sniffed at them and felt they were not up to the task of sounding exactly like a chamber. And they weren't. They sounded like a plate. Taking the long term historical view, not only are plates are a more convenient "cheat" for chambers, but chambers can be looked upon as a more convenient "cheat" for the lack of a genuine concert hall to record in.

Quote:
Vellum. Which is super tough, and lasts if properly preserved for centuries -- unlike magnetic tape, hard drives (or SSDs), or CDs. So the question is, should I acquire a pet sheep?
Low-acid paper can give you hundreds of years. No animal cruelty required. And this quartz crystal technology claims 300 million years!
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Old 2nd July 2020
  #4643
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art felton's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
That last sentence is something of a head-scratcher to me, I have to say.

What dither does (in quite oversimplified terms) is replace the LSB of the digitized analog signal (which is necessarily correlated with that signal, obviously) with random information (noise), effectively decorrelating the alias distortion into noise. (And noise-shaping applies some form of filter to the randomized noise to shift to frequency ranges where it should be even less discernible by human ears.)

[I had previously linked to a couple of articles I thought might be helpful; however, once I got a chance to sit down and look at them I decided they were not adequate. So I'm going to cop out:. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_audio ]
Thank you for the effort, but what I know about dither I have learned at a course at Berklee and it serves me well.
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Old 2nd July 2020
  #4644
Lives for gear
Analog = Better for MEN

Digital = For Girls

/thread
Old 2nd July 2020
  #4645
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post

I have a piano recording of Satie's music that's especially horrendous - there's hum, HVAC and ambient noise everywhere.
Sometimes that can work the other way, one of my favourite albums of all time is The Cowboy Junkies' "Trinity Sessions" - a single stereo mic (or mic pair) > DAT > CD (no production to speak of) - a recording of a live performance in a church. You can hear everything, cracking radiators warming up, movement of the band etc. - I love it! Yeah, the harmonica is too loud and the churches natural reverb is overwhelming (although it fits Margo's angelic vocals) but it just works in this context.
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Old 2nd July 2020
  #4646
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soundebler's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
To me, the great thing about a "tape" plug-in is that you have the choice of having it on or not. Instead of being required put it on every track. In fact, most plugs let you selectively turn off the hiss, and bypass the wow and flutter too.



If you are honestly going to listen to a technique and judge it by whether it sounds good or bad, why not consider the possibility of of using it on a case-by-case basis. Instead of trying to recreate a specific bygone era?



Every tape machine there is will only be getting less nice "in the future". Because nobody is making new ones.


I think it is not even a matter of "fooling" someone. It's a matter of the impossibility of a fair test. You can record to tape first, and then digital. You can record to digital first and then tape, but then you have to record back to digital. So that you can post it on Gearslutz or YouTube. Which adds a variable that cannot be controlled for - the extra conversion. The experiment is no longer testing for just the "order".

Even if someone is not fooled, who is to say the difference they perceive is some magical property of Tape First or maybe it is just the mundane contribution of an extra A to D?



When plates first came out, there were people who sniffed at them and felt they were not up to the task of sounding exactly like a chamber. And they weren't. They sounded like a plate. Taking the long term historical view, not only are plates are a more convenient "cheat" for chambers, but chambers can be looked upon as a more convenient "cheat" for the lack of a genuine concert hall to record in.



Low-acid paper can give you hundreds of years. No animal cruelty required. And this quartz crystal technology claims 300 million years!
The Voyager golden record is estimated for a billion years , its analog
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Old 2nd July 2020
  #4647
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Sharp11's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by soundebler View Post
The Voyager golden record is estimated for a billion years , its analog
Future aliens will have to raid eBay or reverb for a stylus and turntable to play it on !
Old 2nd July 2020
  #4648
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soundebler's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
Future aliens will have to raid eBay or reverb for a stylus and turntable to play it on !
Its universal
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Old 2nd July 2020
  #4649
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Space1999's Avatar
 

Today’s plug-ins are light years ahead of what we had 15-20 years ago. Metering is my best friend Today and I record at lower levels. I use plug-ins for filtering and EQ, some compression and verb.

I am making better recordings today with half the gear I had 15 years ago. It frees me up to move mics around and experiment with placement and polar patterns. I want to record every nuance from my sound source and preserve its natural transients.

And today’s digital platform is the place that I can make that happen. With an unbelievably low noise floor and frequency range, the result is stunning fidelity and a real natural sound to audio reproduction.

Analog is a learned response because it has “a sound”. There is coloration of the original sound source. Above all I believe it is the softening of the highs in a signal that bring a pleasing sound to proper analog.

It is like an old trick that I would use for a harsh sounding guitar. I would just plug it into a Tube Screamer and not even activate it. Just passing sound through the pedal automatically rounded off the high end.

Here is where we are starting to learn how to make pleasing digital recordings. You simply can’t take every track in a DAW and let it have a wide open top end. This is what makes digital harsh. You have to learn to use LPFs. Its the same as not using HPFs when recording to tape. You will get nothing but a pile of mud if you don’t control the low end going into a tape machine.

So after 25 years of digital we are finally on the cusp of making the most realistic recordings ever made. And that has been the goal ever since we carried off a multitrack recorder from the German’s after WWII! Ironically, that may also give digital a learned response.

Pat
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Old 2nd July 2020
  #4650
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voodoo4u's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by art felton View Post
Working in the box is just too convenient to be ignored. I am not interested in bashing contemporary plugins. I use them all the time. They are absolutely brilliant as corrective tools. However most plugins are still not good at enhancing or sweetening audio in my experience. The question was: ‘Does analog gear really sound "better", or is it just a learned response?’ When people say that mixes done in the box without any outboard equipment sound somewhat thin and lifeless, then I have experienced this on a regular basis. There is nothing wrong whatsoever with digital technology or CDs. There was something not quite right with early AD/DA converters, early plugins and codec. This I know without a doubt. What Oberon23 has found to his astonishment is that there are still plugins out there that will most probably degrade a mix. We are lucky that plugins have improved a great deal.
I think what a lot of digital cheerleaders on this thread seem to either completely ignore or at least fail to mention is that recorded digital audio by itself may out spec recording to tape in a lab. In practical application, ie a recording studio, we're often having to add processing and plugins which then adds the time element into the mix (bad pun). IMHO it's latency that creates the biggest challenge to getting the best result with digital recordings not digital recording itself. Converters, plug-ins all add latency which creates a time smear that analog (tape or outboard gear) doesn't have to contend with.

The more intensive the processing power required by a plugin, the more it drags the signal back in time. Add five or six plugins per track over 24 or 30 tracks and it really adds up. Summed, it makes a large audible difference.
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