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Does analog gear really sound "better", or is it just a learned response?
Old 9th August 2020
  #6571
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
I direct one more comment at you with a definite reluctance -- but, for gosh sake, you really do seem to refuse to listen to other people when they say that properly done digital sounds subjectively better to them than analog.

Our colleague, sailor, seemed quite straightforward in making such an assertion. Yet you appeared to ignore that aspect of his statements...
For what it's worth, I didn't -- or at least didn't intend to -- make a statement on which recording technology I prefer, which one subjectively sounds better to me. Not that anyone cares which one I may like better.

I only said that digital recording offers better fidelity (in the Oxford Dictionary sense of the term -- but hey, what do they know) than analog recording; i.e. that the digitally recorded signal is closer to the source signal than with analog recording. I cited the experiment of doing successive copies with both technologies to illustrate the point.

I haven't worked with analog tape in years. But I know it does things to the recorded signal that some people can find pleasing, and if that sound is musically satisfying then by all means people should feel free to use it if that's what they are going for, "accurate" or not.
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Old 9th August 2020
  #6572
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donnylang's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mfnickster View Post
From what I've seen in this overly-long thread, the pro-analog and/or anti-digital crowd have 2 angles of attack: they argue that analog has a quality, character, coloration, etc. that is more subjectively pleasing than digital, and this is unverifiable and therefore a matter of opinion.

The other is arguing that limitations of digital cause it to have a less-pleasing sound character than analog, and they are almost always wrong about such limitations. Pro-digital partisans like myself argue that a quality digital system is almost perfectly transparent and can therefore faithfully reproduce ANY sound that an analog system is capable of. AFAICT that has never been successfully refuted.
Nope.

Have you read any of my posts?

I simply just like the workflow and vibe of tape recorders.

If we were solely talking about “you prefer analog, and I prefer digital”, there would be no issue. Who could argue with that?

The problem for me comes when analog is reduced to being an effects box, and thus not on equal footing in terms of preference as a recording device ... I.e., anyone who likes to record on analog simply like the artifacts and could record digitally because it’s a blank slate (and here’s why with proof and objective data), and just add their analog frosting on with outboard gear. This is explicitly stated and implied OVER AND OVER AND OVER again in this thread. And those doing it can’t even see they’re doing it.
Old 9th August 2020
  #6573
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clump's Avatar
 

...I mean, as soon as you close the Dansette lid, the bass sounds fantastic! Much better than on the wireless.....this is the 'Wireless v Dansette ' thread isn't it?
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Old 9th August 2020
  #6574
Gear Maniac
I have absolutely no problem with anyone preferring the sound or workflow of analog. It's when they misrespresent digital technology to justify their preference that I get annoyed. I hope you are done bikeshedding.
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Old 9th August 2020
  #6575
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robert82's Avatar
Quote:
I.e., anyone who likes to record on analog simply like the artifacts and could record digitally because it’s a blank slate (and here’s why with proof and objective data), and just add their analog frosting on with outboard gear.
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Old 9th August 2020
  #6576
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donnylang's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by robert82 View Post
A grown man trying to shut down a valid point with a GIF.
Old 9th August 2020
  #6577
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailor View Post
For what it's worth, I didn't -- or at least didn't intend to -- make a statement on which recording technology I prefer, which one subjectively sounds better to me. Not that anyone cares which one I may like better.

I only said that digital recording offers better fidelity (in the Oxford Dictionary sense of the term -- but hey, what do they know) than analog recording; i.e. that the digitally recorded signal is closer to the source signal than with analog recording. I cited the experiment of doing successive copies with both technologies to illustrate the point.

I haven't worked with analog tape in years. But I know it does things to the recorded signal that some people can find pleasing, and if that sound is musically satisfying then by all means people should feel free to use it if that's what they are going for, "accurate" or not.
Sorry to sloppily misinterpret what you'd written.
Old 9th August 2020
  #6578
Quote:
Originally Posted by donnylang View Post
Because the dictionary definition of fidelity or accuracy or realism or faithfulness isn’t limited to waveforms and data on paper? So in conversation, those terms could also mean people listening to recorded sound. You know, a subjective thing.


Quote:
ac·cu·ra·cy
/ˈakyərəsē/
noun
the quality or state of being correct or precise.
"we have confidence in the accuracy of the statistics"
[...]
TECHNICAL
the degree to which the result of a measurement, calculation, or specification conforms to the correct value or a standard.
https://www.google.com/search?q=accu...69i57.3151j0j7

The term fidelity covers a bit more ground, but for our purposes, we can zero in on the pertinent sub-definition [bolded below]...

Quote:
fidelity
Pronunciation /fəˈdelədē/ /fəˈdɛlədi/
Translate fidelity into Spanish

NOUN
1Faithfulness to a person, cause, or belief, demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support.

‘he sought only the strictest fidelity to justice’
More example sentencesSynonyms
1.1 Sexual faithfulness to a spouse or partner.
‘Young women were expected to show sexual fidelity to their dating partner, but males were not.’
More example sentencesSynonyms
1.2 The degree of exactness with which something is copied or reproduced.
‘the 1949 recording provides reasonable fidelity’

More example sentencesSynonyms
Origin
Late Middle English from Old French fidelite or Latin fidelitas, from fidelis ‘faithful’, from fides ‘faith’. Compare with fealty.

Now, I definitely hear you in your complaint that people (like me) may often use objective measurement to inform or augment their own subjective take on things. That observation is pretty true.

But I don't have a problem with that as long as they're citing accurate measurements. It is, in fact, a central lesson I took away from formal study of various sciences:

I might say, "Damn, it sure feels hot to me, today." It might not feel as hot to someone else. That's why we have thermometers.

Last edited by theblue1; 9th August 2020 at 08:48 PM..
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Old 9th August 2020
  #6579
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mfnickster View Post
Vinyl records are now a premium product, even though they are almost all recorded and mastered digitally.

CDs have fallen by the wayside for 2 reasons - 1. they are inconvenient compared to streaming and downloading (the iPod killed the CD) and 2. they sound like crap now due to the loudness wars.
those are reasons 2 and 3. Reason number 1 is that CDs are made out of Matter, and therefore you have to pay money to own one. And actually I am unaware of any downloaded file that has a greater crest factor than the CD of the same song. So scratch reason 3.

Hey, remember when people said Home Taping was "killing music"? At least a dubbing deck for cassettes exhibited generation loss. CDs were doomed the instant they were created. It took until the common availability of CD-burners for most people to realize it, but the means of their destruction was built in.

Quote:
I'm halfway convinced the record labels wrecked them on purpose so they could sell premium products again (LPs and hi-res).
If they did wreck them 'on purpose' (pretty much zero chance of that, IMO) they certainly regret it now. How sad are "premium" sales these days compared to the heyday of CDs?

I'll tell you how sad:
18 million LPs sold last year, which is up actually.
But in the years around 1999- 2001, CD sales were approaching one billion.

Which do you think they would rather have:
1,000,000,000 'regular old CDs' then vs
.....18,000,000 'premium' LPs now
Nobody orchestrates a 'conspiracy' to bankrupt themselves. LPs are only a 'premium' product because they are made out of Matter and you have to pay money to take one home.

As for "high-res" it's all lumped together into what they are calling "Studio Quality"
Quote:
Studio Quality is defined as a category encompassing both Hi Res Audio (48khz/20-bit or higher) and the studio production format of 44.1kHz/24-bit audio.
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Old 9th August 2020
  #6580
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
Nobody orchestrates a 'conspiracy' to bankrupt themselves. LPs are only a 'premium' product because they are made out of Matter and you have to pay money to take one home.
Thanks for your insight. I think they were already on the path to bankruptcy with flagging CD sales after iPod/iTunes were introduced, although it took a few years for the Loudness Wars to really ramp up. It was a desperation move since they didn't know what else to do to compete with streaming/downloads. They boldly tried to push SACD and that failed. Then they hitched onto the nostalgia and hipsterism of vinyl aficionados to push physical product again - they missed the OG sales tactics and profits.
Old 9th August 2020
  #6581
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by donnylang View Post

Consider this: if I think I’m the greatest Jack Nicholson impersonator, and you argued that you are better, and we want to prove which one of us offers better fidelity or faithfulness or exactness in our copying of Jack Nicholson’s voice saying “Heeeeere’s Johnny!” -

Would we:

Play Nicholson’s voice, then have each of us say the phrase, and let a group of people vote on who was better?

OR

Each record the phrase, and analyze which waveform most closely matched Nicholson’s?
When the guy from the FBI labs testifies in court about the kidnapping message left on the answering machine, he does not testify about how a group of people "voted".

Quote:
would I win because I am objectively more accurately portraying Nicholson?
What if the group of people voted for you over Jack Nicholson himself? It's actually quite possible, because the 'voters' might very likely be swayed by things that you did with your voice to exaggerate the Nicholson mannerisms and 'tells.' Many impersonators 'overtake' their subjects - because people respond to the caricature more than the real sound after a while. Dana Carvey's George Bush is a good example.

On the plus side, the FBI's analysis of the waveform would clear you if you were charged with a crime that was actually committed by Jack Nicholson.

I know you would certainly beat me out for 'votes' because try as I might, too much Ed McMahon would creep into my “Heeeeere’s Johnny!”
Old 9th August 2020
  #6582
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norfolk martin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by clump View Post
...I mean, as soon as you close the Dansette lid, the bass sounds fantastic! Much better than on the wireless.....this is the 'Wireless v Dansette ' thread isn't it?
It might as a well be.......

Actually that did always confuse me in my pre-teen years. WHY does is sound better with the lid down, asked my 10 year old soul?

And if the lid is supposed to be down, why is it so difficult to put it down without making the disk skip?

And should I also close the two little clips that hold the lid on? Will it sound even better then?

Will I hurt a 45 by playing at at 78 (or 33) to hear the weird sounds?

Childhood is full of tough questions.
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Old 9th August 2020
  #6583
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donnylang's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
https://www.google.com/search?q=accu...69i57.3151j0j7

The term fidelity covers a bit more ground, but for our purposes, we can zero in on the pertinent sub-definition [bolded below]...




Now, I definitely hear you in your complaint that people (like me) may often use objective measurement to inform or augment their own subjective take on things. That observation is pretty true.

But I don't have a problem with that as long as they're citing accurate measurements. It is, in fact, a central lesson I took away from formal study of various sciences:

I might say, "Damn, it sure feels hot to me, today." It might not feel as hot to someone else. That's why we have thermometers.
“It sure feels hot in here to me.”

“But it isn’t hot. That is technically and factually incorrect, because the thermostat says it’s 70 degrees, which is by all measurable and objective definitions, not actually hot. What you are feeling are the effects of humidity. The humidity level is 90%, so you are actually feeling humidity, and perceiving that as hot.”

“I still say it’s hot, and the concept of what hot is is dependent on individual perception.”

“No it isn’t. We can measure temperature, and we have tools and objective data to tell us what heat is.”
Old 9th August 2020
  #6584
Here for the gear
 

Definitely!

Analog/Hardware just always have the liveliness digital gear lack and is difficult to replicate with.
Old 9th August 2020
  #6585
Quote:
Originally Posted by donnylang View Post
“It sure feels hot in here to me.”

“But it isn’t hot. That is technically and factually incorrect, because the thermostat says it’s 70 degrees, which is by all measurable and objective definitions, not actually hot. What you are feeling are the effects of humidity. The humidity level is 90%, so you are actually feeling humidity, and perceiving that as hot.”

“I still say it’s hot, and the concept of what hot is is dependent on individual perception.”

“No it isn’t. We can measure temperature, and we have tools and objective data to tell us what heat is.”


Of course, 'hot' in this context is, without further reference or qualification, totally subjective (and, indeed, that subjective response may involve multiple factors as suggested).

And that's why the weather services use objective measures of weather factors -- rather than relying on a given person's personal take on the issue.
Old 9th August 2020
  #6586
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robert82's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by donnylang View Post
And I would add that something like "Tape sounds like analog frosting and digital sounds like transparent accuracy" to be the same type of subjective statement. That's where I'm coming from.

Quote:
Originally Posted by donnylang View Post
This is prototypical "Digital is a blank slate, and analog is artifact frosting". This is a philosophy, not a fact. The value of transparency. The value of artifacts.
Quote:
Originally Posted by donnylang View Post
So it follows that analog is strictly a creative "distortion" tool to add "flavor" to the digital "nothing".
Quote:
Originally Posted by donnylang View Post
“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”.
Quote:
Originally Posted by donnylang View Post
The limitations become assets in the final result. You can’t add the analog “frosting” after the fact and expect the same results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by donnylang View Post
"Digital is a blank slate and analog is artifact frosting".

If you reduce "analog" to an effects box, you will never understand why many people who are really into analog actually prefer it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by donnylang View Post
Then my point about you never understanding why some people use tape beyond the reasons you’ve ascribed stands. So long as tape recorders are an effects box, you’re in a box.

Quote:
Originally Posted by donnylang View Post
As has been my whole beef in this thread, this is a classic example of the argument that digital audio is “nothing” and analog is an effect.
Quote:
Originally Posted by donnylang View Post
. . . showing objective superiority and placing digital in the “blank slate” category, which is used to reduce fans of analog to being fans of artifacts.
Quote:
Originally Posted by donnylang View Post
I.e., anyone who likes to record on analog simply like the artifacts and could record digitally because it’s a blank slate (and here’s why with proof and objective data), and just add their analog frosting on with outboard gear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by donnylang View Post
A grown man trying to shut down a valid point with a GIF.


Thought maybe a little context might help.

To explain why a grown man would post a GIF.

Maybe I should have posted a pic of a cake.
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Old 9th August 2020
  #6587
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donnylang's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by robert82 View Post


Thought maybe a little context might help.

To explain why a grown man would post a GIF.

Maybe I should have posted a pic of a cake.
So you're pointing out how I've called out - over and over again - each time someone uses the "digital is a blank slate and analog is artifact frosting" line? I think you missed a few.
Old 10th August 2020
  #6588
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
The only thing I got from them was the rap name “Beat Shark Mark,” which I demanded in exchange for programming their beats.
But did you reserve Beat Shark Mark dot com?
Old 10th August 2020
  #6589
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vernier's Avatar
Whoever's posting is obviously not at Sturgis, lol
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Old 10th August 2020
  #6590
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chrischoir's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vernier View Post
Whoever's posting is obviously not at Sturgis, lol
what is the turnout like there this year I wonder??
Old 10th August 2020
  #6591
Quote:
The rally could become one of the largest public gatherings since the pandemic began, with organizers expecting 250,000 people from all over the country to make their way through Sturgis during the 10-day event.

That's about half the number of bikers during a normal year, but the number of arrests, warnings, citations and crashes are keeping consistent with last year's numbers, according to the SDDPS report
https://www.argusleader.com/story/ne...es/3331052001/
Old 10th August 2020
  #6592
Here for the gear
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. Yes, I know digital has come a long way, however much of the progress has been to make it sound more analog!

I've considered whether there is something innate in human biology that makes us prefer analog, or perhaps it's just because that's what we've been used to for so long.

Consider film- it has always played at 24 frames per second. This is apparently because at 24FPS it allowed a minimal amount of film to be used without us perceiving it as stuttering (thanks to persistence of vision). However, some newer films are recorded at 60FPS or with lenses that allow for a greater depth of field. Many people perceive this as less "movie like" or harsh.

I've noticed young people, who've grown up in the world of digital, are way more tolerant of what plenty of musicians would find offensive. I've even seen some younger people prefer digital sounding tracks and describe them as more "clear" or "real" while I would probably label them "harsh" or "sterile".

Do you think as tech changes we will move away to a more digital sound and come to prefer it? Or is there something intrinsically pleasing about the "analog sound" that will always be appealing to people as a whole?
Analog sounds good on songs that need it. It’s only noise and hum. Other then that, if you need a clean sounding track it doesn’t mean ****. Listeners can’t tell the difference between a digital composed track vs a track completely composed through an analog setup. UAD has plugs that let you A&B the sound of the original analogue emulation. Whatever difference there is , it’s not important.
Old 10th August 2020
  #6593
Gear Addict
 
pipelineaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by donnylang View Post
All I saw was this:



Is there anything factually incorrect in the paragraph above?
Yes, not all plugins are emulating anything at all
Old 10th August 2020
  #6594
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donnylang's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by pipelineaudio View Post
Yes, not all plugins are emulating anything at all
Good gotcha, Pipelineaudio! I had to go back a week of posts to find out what you’re even talking about!
Old 10th August 2020
  #6595
Better is subjective. This is a great thing for art.

What most people like about analoge are the artefacts, the saturation, the softened transients and so on. Digital is a blank canvas, the most neutral sounding platform we ever had. The most perfect in that sense, doesn't it change the audio signal too much. Least distortion and other artefacts.

Digital is also perfect for total control over effects. DSP is a brilliant method to apply some "time-machine" to the signal, make it sound as if it was recorded in the 60s for example. Digital gives you that choice to apply effects in a different way than when using analog equipment. Digital is also way more precise, you can make better edits, you can repair recordings in ways that were never possible in the analog domain. This technology keeps on evolving, so in the future it will be possible to do things to sound which were not possible before. Things are improving. This is good for art because we can explore new sounds and techniques. No one can predict how this will sound in the next 100 years, but it will be fun I guess.
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Old 10th August 2020
  #6596
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arneal's Avatar
 

"I heard donut."

What the hell is wrong with you? All I hear is cruller! Literally, no matter what anyone says to me, I hear cruller.
Old 10th August 2020
  #6597
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by arneal View Post
"I heard donut."

What the hell is wrong with you? All I hear is cruller! Literally, no matter what anyone says to me, I hear cruller.
I hear cronut or crulssant.

I'm more of a hybrid/portmanteau guy.
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Old 10th August 2020
  #6598
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raaphorst View Post
Digital is also perfect for total control over effects. DSP is a brilliant method to apply some "time-machine" to the signal, make it sound as if it was recorded in the 60s for example. Digital gives you that choice to apply effects in a different way than when using analog equipment. Digital is also way more precise, you can make better edits, you can repair recordings in ways that were never possible in the analog domain. This technology keeps on evolving, so in the future it will be possible to do things to sound which were not possible before. Things are improving. This is good for art because we can explore new sounds and techniques. No one can predict how this will sound in the next 100 years, but it will be fun I guess.
The tools will be unimaginable. Who would have thought 50 years ago, ostensibly the beginnings of digital technologies entering the mainstream, that such things as polyphonic pitch detection or dynamic convolution would be possible?

There will be black boxes for signal processing and production processes, as well as for composition or content creation. AI will be big factors for both.

As how that will effect art - well, there will always be artists pushing the envelop no matter what, but the ability and capacity for culture and society at large to ingest or appreciate it will be appreciably slower than the inexorable exponential advancements in technological capabilities.
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Old 10th August 2020
  #6599
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by arneal View Post
"I heard donut."

What the hell is wrong with you? All I hear is cruller! Literally, no matter what anyone says to me, I hear cruller.
It's a bit clangy and a bit jammy...
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Old 10th August 2020
  #6600
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by donnylang View Post
He said a lot of things. I take no issue with those parts.

Preferring to record in an all-analog environment, or expressing an opinion that analog sounds better, or more realistic, or whatever anyone chooses to say, is continually being reduced to “you like the artifacts” in subtle, offhanded, and obvious ways over and over again in this thread. I call them out when I see them:

On your second points - just consider maybe there are people who don't really want all of the artifacts of tape, but prefer the process and maybe even feel that the sound quality is better than comparable digital options available to them.
So let's go through that:

1) You acknowledge the artifacts
2) You dont really want the artifacts
3) You maybe even feel the sound is better despite much of it being caused by the artifacts.. those ones that you don't want.

That sounds confused ..

Maybe you're assuming the sound quality of tape is better underneath the artifacts somehow.. if only you could get rid of them?

But what if the "better quality" IS the artifacts ?

Of course I can well understand the workflow preference - when I have it set up, I will be punching in and out on my Genex recorder and if in DSD, I will have to treat it like tape audio in and out of the recorder.. the process is not so much linked to analogue per se . Then there are the digital tape machines..
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