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Does analog gear really sound "better", or is it just a learned response?
Old 30th July 2020
  #6151
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donnylang's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolk martin View Post
Humm

Stream of consciousness answer.

Given what what we are likely to do to the sound afterwards (or even before its captured), I'm not sure it would matter. IMO it stops being "transparent" at the moment you start thinking about whether you are going to mic the bottom of the snare, or use a mid-side mic configuration on the acoustic guitar, i.e., long before it ever hits recording medium.


Truly I am neither of the "A sounds great and D doesn't" opinion, nor its opposite. I am an atheist in a debate that often seems to take on a quasi-religious fervor, because [I]I don't think there is a difference worth bothering about[/I] and certainly not worth the attention its given.

I went from an Tascam 8 track, or occasionally an AKAI MG 1212 to a pair of Blackface ADATs My reaction was not the much after-the-fact fashionable one of crying" "THERE"S SOMETHING WRONG" when I first used the ADAT. Nor did i jump for Joy. I thought " aha no hiss, that's nice . . . although now I can hear some hum that the hiss used to cover..... Good edge on the kick drum too - drums sound a bit better"

Then I went back to working, compressing eq'ing and mixing exactly as I had before. The difference was that I now has sixteen tracks not eight not any significant change in the sound .

I had been in the habit of pushing tape hard to keep noise down, and soon found that the ADATs could ( and had to) be treated differently as far as levels went.

And that was it. No revelation in either direction.

Today I use a DAW and love the convenience. Perhaps the other side of the coin to Donnylang's annoyance at digital advocates making the "more transparent = better sounding" statement is the analog advocates statements to the effect of " you're only using it because its cheap and convenient." It certainty is, and certainly helps me turn out better sounding work. If that's not a good reason to use something , what is?

I suspect I am not alone in the "it doesn't really bloody matter much " opinion but its not an easy thing to say.

I'll put it this way, A good drummer and a vocalist who can sing make 1,000,000 times the contribution of the recording medium to a successful recording. A bad eq or mic placement decision will screw it up way more than the choice of recording medium. That;'s how much it really counts.
So how do the completed ADAT records sound today, on average, vs the Tascam records?

These convos assume the things like the vocalist and drummer and song and all the stuff that “matters most” is out of the equation (which is of course not how it works in real life anyway).

John Lennon singing into a handheld cassette recorder is probably more interesting than a bland artist in the most advanced studio of the current day. I think we’re talking about John Lennon on the cassette vs John Lennon in that studio. Even then, there are days where you might catch Lennon in a more inspired mood on the cassette vs the studio. So it’s all relative.

I also don’t have a problem with people who say “I prefer digital because it sounds more transparent to me” or even “I prefer digital because it’s objectively more transparent in every measurable way”. What I have a problem with is: “I prefer digital because I use facts and logic, and you prefer analog because you use feelings, because using analog as a capture medium is the same as using digital and sending it through tape for a distortion effect” - i.e., “digital is a blank slate and analog is artifact frosting”.
Old 30th July 2020
  #6152
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GearFiddler View Post
Glenn frikkin Gould. I'll never understand why he had to drop to recording a few notes at a time. IMO he should have been able to lay it down exactly as he wanted it to be heard without having to do THAT. If that's what some genius invalid has to do that's one thing...
Gould of all people obviously doesn't need splicing, but it was/is common practice in classical recordings. It's understandable - it's a quest for perfection, and I think a heavily edited recording isn't necessarily viewed in the same light as a live performance or a live performance recording. The same aesthetical dichotomy exists in other genres, such as rock and pop productions, which are ostensibly "constructions" more so than a performance.

It's most egregious in something like this, where the editing is done to remove any hint of breathing.

Old 30th July 2020
  #6153
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donnylang's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nat8808 View Post
I've another thing to ponder.

Why is that when a piece of analogue gear has two versions, one with transformers on the inputs and outputs and the other a descrete balancing circuit, why do people always seek out the transformer versions and pay higher prices for them (when secondhand)? Even when those descrete circuits are shown to be more transparent, both objectively and subjectively. Even in amongst the details of analogue gear choices, each peice seems to be often chosen on the basis of imparting a nice sound (other than the process it's intended to) rather than doing it's analogue process as transparently as possible.

Could we be having the same argument but only within the boundaries of analogue equipment alone? "The circuit is objectively transparent", "this transformer sounds more subjectively real" etc etc

In which case is the digital part of the current discussion a red herring?
Not everyone preferred the transformers. Some engineers would remove them or bypass them on tape decks. But this does speak to my points about "sound quality" vs "transparency".
Old 30th July 2020
  #6154
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norfolk martin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by donnylang View Post
So how do the completed ADAT records sound today, on average, vs the Tascam records?

.
To me, not particularly different. I put up a live track from the 3rd Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey album as post #6013 (that was probably done on the later silver-face ADATs) I'll see if I can post something for comparison from the Tascam.

The thing I would immediately say is that neither of them will sound much like modern recordings because the phrase "mastering chain" was not really showing up much at the local level. We usually just sent the output of the board straight to a tape deck, and later to a DAT deck. Occasionally a compressor on the main outs to get a bit more level. Stuff I did then comes out around -14 LUFS or lower.

I honestly do think there a substantially greater difference between the same recording "mastered" to modern standards versus those 25-30 years ago than than there is between recording to tape and recording digitally.

Further (as it's stream of consciousness night for me) I think in many cases, we get the worst of both world nowadays. Everyone talks about wanting an "analog " sound, but this mostly seem to translate to using digital gear, (which i have no problem with) then adding a dreadful overdrive/saturation sound to everything. This sounds nothing like my favorite recordings from the 70s.

I came from a family of electronics engineers, and the conventional wisdom was clear that a "proper" engineer never sought to overdrive pre-amps or saturate tape unless they were trying for FX of some sort. I want an "analog" or "faux analog" recording to sound like the Bert Bacharach recordings from the Casino Royale soundtrack, not some guy watching every meter peg!
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Old 30th July 2020
  #6155
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Sharp11's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by donnylang View Post
Not everyone preferred the transformers. Some engineers would remove them or bypass them on tape decks. But this does speak to my points about "sound quality" vs "transparency".
Not quite, it speaks to “preference”, which is subjective.
Old 30th July 2020
  #6156
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donnylang's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
Not quite, it speaks to “preference”, which is subjective.
These things are not mutually exclusive. I used quotes for a reason.
Old 30th July 2020
  #6157
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donnylang's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolk martin View Post
To me, not particularly different. I put up a live track from the 3rd Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey album as post #6013 (that was probably done on the later silver-face ADATs) I'll see if I can post something for comparison from the Tascam.

The thing I would immediately say is that neither of them will sound much like modern recordings because the phrase "mastering chain" was not really showing up much at the local level. We usually just sent the output of the board straight to a tape deck, and later to a DAT deck. Occasionally a compressor on the main outs to get a bit more level. Stuff I did then comes out around -14 LUFS or lower.

I honestly do think there a substantially greater difference between the same recording "mastered" to modern standards versus those 25-30 years ago than than there is between recording to tape and recording digitally.

Further (as it's stream of consciousness night for me) I think in many cases, we get the worst of both world nowadays. Everyone talks about wanting an "analog " sound, but this mostly seem to translate to using digital gear, (which i have no problem with) then adding a dreadful overdrive/saturation sound to everything. This sounds nothing like my favorite recordings from the 70s.

I came from a family of electronics engineers, and the conventional wisdom was clear that a "proper" engineer never sought to overdrive pre-amps or saturate tape unless they were trying for FX of some sort. I want an "analog" or "faux analog" recording to sound like the Bert Bacharach recordings from the Casino Royale soundtrack, not some guy watching every meter peg!
I agree with most points in this post - though I bet I would personally prefer your Tascam recordings, but who knows.

Particularly your last paragraphs - that’s what I was alluding to awhile back regarding the benefits of analog only happen in an all-analog situation. That is to say, you have to “fight“ against the system to some degree. The limitations become assets in the final result. You can’t add the analog “frosting” after the fact and expect the same results.
Old 30th July 2020
  #6158
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Sharp11's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by donnylang View Post
I also don’t have a problem with people who say “I prefer digital because it sounds more transparent to me” or even “I prefer digital because it’s objectively more transparent in every measurable way”. What I have a problem with is: “I prefer digital because I use facts and logic, and you prefer analog because you use feelings, because using analog as a capture medium is the same as using digital and sending it through tape for a distortion effect” - i.e., “digital is a blank slate and analog is artifact frosting”.
You may have “heard” that (and all those examples can be valid, btw), but I don’t recall anyone saying that, in fact, many have tried to explain to the point of boredom, that while one may be objectively higher in fidelity, the other may be preferable for certain purposes and people - each time I record my guitar through my Dr Z Maz jr , I’m embracing lower fidelity - for the lo fi sound of lots of noise and distortion. It’s objectively, factually, lower in fidelity, but subjectively better for what I may want.

However, I may choose to layer an objectively higher fidelity guitar part atop the Maz with with a DI’d electric, or a step up; a mic’d-with-a-condenser acoustic

You keep conflating these two principles of “objectively better” vs “subjectively better”. Why this is, I haven’t got a clue.
Old 30th July 2020
  #6159
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voodoo4u's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
I point out once again - you are complaining that technology is making it "harder" for you to determine who gets your respect!


According to some people, what is "not allowed" is for "lesser" artists to use technology clean up their music beyond what they can do live.



But voodoo4u is complaining about a situation where he is listening to the musical product - NOT watching the execution. NOT at a concert. Listening to a recording that someone made is not like watching a basketball game. It is like watching a camera zoomed in on the the basket.
Where are you getting these crazy ideas Joe? Not from anything I said. You're making stuff up!

I'll take these point by point: How did you completely twist this one around? I never said anything like technology is making it harder for me to determine who gets my respect. What I said was: technology is making it easier for people who are untrained in music/theory etc to sound good. Certainly better than if they tried to play an acoustic or electric instrument in real time. Nothing about respect was ever mentioned in this paragraph or concept.

Next paragraph, next concept: I never said anything about "listening to the musical product". I was referring to a situation where I'm in the studio co-creating music with an artist and yes, very much watching the execution! And then having to fix it for them later if they get it wrong.

Honestly Joe, the person I'm starting to lose respect for is you. Over 15 years on this site and over 26,000 posts, you're a fixture here. I've read many posts from you where you've provided good insight and a lot of technical help and information to a lot of people. This kind of personal attack is beneath you. Especially a personal attack where you twist the facts. Come on Joe, you can do better. Maybe next time, if you quote me again, then quote me. Don't give people here your own interpretation of what you think I said because it seems you'd most certainly get it wrong.
Old 30th July 2020
  #6160
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vernier's Avatar
Gold Star Studio mid 60's . . .

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Old 30th July 2020
  #6161
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vernier View Post
Tommy Tedesco is a hoot.
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Old 30th July 2020
  #6162
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soundebler's Avatar
Sometimes people show how sound look in the graphical way , drawing a line that go in a wave motion . No there come the staircase in sound that is removed by the digital process . it create the smooth lines . But can sound have a kind of staircase structure in a random kind of way , this mean it is smooth out by the digital process .That a sound have a smooth character for our ears must it mean it has a smooth visual graphical surface , just theorizing

Got it from reading this
https://phys.org/news/2019-07-physic...icrophone.html
Old 30th July 2020
  #6163
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chrischoir's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vernier View Post
I never understood all the hype with these musicians. Glen Campbell was good but all the others were pretty average players by today's standards
Old 30th July 2020
  #6164
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Sharp11's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by soundebler View Post
Sometimes people show how sound look in the graphical way , drawing a line that go in a wave motion . No there come the staircase in sound that is removed by the digital process . it create the smooth lines . But can sound have a kind of staircase structure in a random kind of way , this mean it is smooth out by the digital process .That a sound have a smooth character for our ears must it mean it has a smooth visual graphical surface , just theorizing

Got it from reading this
https://phys.org/news/2019-07-physic...icrophone.html
Essentially, whatever goes in, comes out. The waveform enters the computer, it is analyzed, converted to code then stored. The reverse occurs for playback where the wave form is reconstructed.

As long as the waveform looks exactly as it did leaving the computer as when it entered, your brain will hear it accurately as sound.

If you feed the computer a waveform that’s jagged, it plays it back as a jagged sound, it is not smoothed out.

Edison ( and others) figured this out long ago, that if an analogue of a sound wave could be recreated and stored, then played back, the brain would decode it as sound. It’s your brain that “hears”, and it doesn’t care if it’s hearing a recorded source or live - your brain simply decodes into sound the shape and air pressure molecules are making as they compress and decompress your ear drums.

Pretty amazing when you think about it.
Old 30th July 2020
  #6165
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soundebler's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
Essentially, whatever goes in, comes out. The waveform enters the computer, it is analyzed, converted to code then stored. The reverse occurs for playback where the wave form is reconstructed.

As long as the waveform looks exactly as it did leaving the computer as when it entered, your brain will hear it accurately as sound.

If you feed the computer a waveform that’s jagged, it plays it back as a jagged sound, it is not smoothed out.

Edison ( and others) figured this out long ago, that if an analogue of a sound wave could be recreated and stored, then played back, the brain would decode it as sound. It’s your brain that “hears”, and it doesn’t care if it’s hearing a recorded source or live - your brain simply decodes into sound the shape and air pressure molecules are making as they compress and decompress your ear drums.

Pretty amazing when you think about it.
The mind is amazing and have work with a visual limited person , they seem to develop further in hearing capability . Lot of the audio engineers must have developed certain hearing and could focus on an aspect not known to a ,, normal people,,
Old 30th July 2020
  #6166
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donnylang's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
I never understood all the hype with these musicians. Glen Campbell was good but all the others were pretty average players by today's standards
Ha what - they were the best!
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Old 30th July 2020
  #6167
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soundebler View Post
The mind is amazing and have work with a visual limited person , they seem to develop further in hearing capability . Lot of the audio engineers must have developed certain hearing and could focus on an aspect not known to a ,, normal people,,
The brain rewires itself when there are major changes, such as loss of sight, so it has more capacity to develop further capabilities in other neurosensory areas.

Like the Seinfeld episode where George Costanza is forced into abstinence because his GF has mono, and without being obsessed by sex and with newfound mental clarity, he turns into a genius.

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Old 30th July 2020
  #6168
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twelvetone View Post
I'm not trying to be harsh, but this falls into the category of "If you have to ask, then you've no idea"...
Hahaha..

Please expand!

Imagine if Plato came up with such lines ...
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Old 30th July 2020
  #6169
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted f7717eb View Post
I don't know how it's possible anyone could add more words to this clusterfvck.
It's a clusterorgy
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Old 30th July 2020
  #6170
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twelvetone View Post
It's just a signal processor. I've got loads of them.

I view them as paints/brushes at my disposal.
As I would the real thing - tape. Whether that's put at the very end or somewhere in the middle..
Old 30th July 2020
  #6171
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twelvetone View Post
The brain rewires itself when there are major changes, such as loss of sight, so it has more capacity to develop further capabilities in other neurosensory areas.
Not necessarily in anyone but children. I've heard that before (that it doesn't necessarily happen in adults) but here's a quote alluding to it for the sake of it.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/b...-a8881186.html

Quote:
"This provides an elegant example of how the development of abilities within infant brains is influenced by the environment they grow up in.”
Old 30th July 2020
  #6172
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clump's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nat8808 View Post
Not necessarily in anyone but children. I've heard that before (that it doesn't necessarily happen in adults) but here's a quote alluding to it for the sake of it.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/b...-a8881186.html
That article was specifically about infants, it does not mean that it doesn't happen in adults too.

The brain can rewire and regenerate in adults too...if an adult learns a new skill, for example, then their brain is doing just that.
Old 30th July 2020
  #6173
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norfolk martin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted f7717eb View Post
I don't know how it's possible anyone could add more words to this clusterfvck.
You SOOOO underestimate the ability of we Gearslutz members to endlessly quibble on this subject.

When I'm in the nursing home and suffering from delirium it will probably be like this:

Visitor: How is he today?

Nurse: He's doing well today. Yesterday he was really agitated and kept shouting about something called the "stairstep fallacy." We took his tablet away for a while and he calmed down.
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Old 30th July 2020
  #6174
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Aspirin?

Chris
Old 30th July 2020
  #6175
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voodoo4u's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
Aspirin?

Chris
Synthetic or organic? ;-)
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Old 30th July 2020
  #6176
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norfolk martin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by twelvetone View Post
I'm not trying to be harsh, but this falls into the category of "If you have to ask, then you've no idea"...

Quote:
Originally Posted by nat8808 View Post

Hahaha..

Please expand!

Imagine if Plato came up with such lines ...

Glaucon: what are the shadows on the cave wall that we see?

Socrates:
"If you have to ask, then you've no idea".

Glaucon then hits Socrates on the head with a rock (βράχος) to demonstrate that solid matter is on the fourth level of logic, but mostly because Socrates is being annoying (ενοχλητικός) and disingenuous (ανειλικρινής). Socrates goes off very angry (θυμωμένος).

Last edited by norfolk martin; 31st July 2020 at 06:40 PM.. Reason: spelling!
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Old 30th July 2020
  #6177
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And the Sock-cratic Method was thereby born.
And the Dude saw it was Good.
Chris
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Old 30th July 2020
  #6178
Gear Addict
 

You reap what you sow, and in this case it was crates. So, crates? (that's the 'Murican pronunciation btw)

Like the time when a wanderer passed through what is now known as Wyoming, he said, "If I could name this place, I'd call it 'Owming.'" The fellow next to him asked, "Why Owming?"
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Old 30th July 2020
  #6179
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by donnylang View Post
My own opinion is the proliferation of the exceedingly "easy" digital tools tends to create more uninteresting results -.
well if the results are 'uninteresting' that is something that you can perceive. If use of these tools made the music less compelling, then 'uninteresting-ness' of it is evident in the music.

But when someone complains that these tools make it too "hard to tell" if the musicians are good or not, I personally think that's absurd. If the music itself is interesting and the person is just "bugged" by the idea that maybe the artist did not spend a decade in monastery in the Alps studying some kind of Piano Kung Fu to get there, that's just ridiculous to me.
Old 30th July 2020
  #6180
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GearFiddler View Post
But I won't know by listening to that CD how much was us and how much was the studio helping us. We were sanitized for repeated consumption, I understand.
where do you get the assurance that the "top 5" orchestras are not also "sanitized for repeated consumption"?


Quote:
I think it would be interesting to hear what various pop stars going back a few decades can actually do---without a net.
I agree it would be "interesting".

But if I hear a song on the radio and I enjoy that song, it would never occur to me that I should not enjoy it simply because the artist 'constructed' the music instead of 'performed' it.

People like us are the ones responsible for the "studio-as-instrument" concept.
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