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Does analog gear really sound "better", or is it just a learned response?
Old 20th May 2018
  #61
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Originally Posted by Lance Lawson View Post
I was recording yesterday and assumed that the levels were OK and for the most part they were. However in three sections it clipped and on playback there were three horrid loud nasty blasts of noise from the clip. Had the same signal been to tape most likely it would have been passable. There is nothing uglir that digital clipping.
If you're monitoring through the DAW when you track (not through something like the Apollo Console), what you hear is what you get. How were you doing it?
Old 20th May 2018
  #62
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Originally Posted by MichaelAngelo View Post
Analog is a round sound, its sexy, interesting and warm! and most importantly you want to keep viewing it! This is WHY all the plugins are trying to emulate it!
Most plugins aren't trying to emulate analog though. That's a small sub-set of the plugin world.

With every technological advancement, there come two approaches to its use: to try to do things the old way more easily (the less creative approach to new tech), or to push all the new avenues it opens in new directions (the more creative approach to new tech).

I agree. . . if you're wanting analog and from the rock/jazz/live instrument world and are trying to get "that sound and feel," then do it the right way with analog gear and tape.

But this isn't really where the computer and ITB work has taken music at all. . . music's onto something else entirely now.

ITB will pretty much always lose at emulation contests compared to the real thing. . but there's already so much that can be done ITB that could never been done OTB (or with extreme difficulty) that that kinda misses the point. Flip the script and try to do ITB strengths with analog gear, and there's an insane amount of stuff that's common in music now that could never be done OTB with analog instruments and gear.
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Old 20th May 2018
  #63
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Originally Posted by MichaelAngelo View Post
When I go to the beach, I am attracted to a womens body that have a beautiful shape, everything is round, there breasts,lips, butts, this roundness is attractive.. If there breasts,lips were pointed, and there butts were pointy, this would not look attractive nor sexy..

Analog is a round sound, its sexy, interesting and warm! and most importantly you want to keep viewing it! This is WHY all the plugins are trying to emulate it!
I'm sold!
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Old 20th May 2018
  #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelAngelo View Post
If one was to mix ITB , with no plugins, the music would swing fairly well. Its when the plugins are added to the individual channels in the computer is when a certain amount of latency and signal corruption happens.. THIS LATENCY EFFECTS timing ,feel and the way the music swings.
You're not the first person to put forth this idea. I've tried, a couple of times, to make it happen on purpose. I can't. I won't say it never happens with any DAW and any plugins. But with my PT rig and my plugins and Delay Compensation engaged, it simply doesn't happen.
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Old 20th May 2018
  #65
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Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
Most plugins aren't trying to emulate analog though. That's a small sub-set of the plugin world.
Is it?

It is kind of interesting that at a time when all that old analog junk should be relegated to the horse and buggy graveyard...

not only plugins, but all sorts of clones (which are still way more pricey even when cheaper) of old analog designs seem to be more popular than ever. Why would anybody pony up the dough for such passe stuff? It makes no sense.

It's like girls buying new jeans with holes in 'em....stupid...but sexy!
Old 20th May 2018
  #66
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Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
Is it?

It is kind of interesting that at a time when all that old analog junk should be relegated to the horse and buggy graveyard...

not only plugins, but all sorts of clones (which are still way more pricey even when cheaper) of old analog designs seem to be more popular than ever. Why would anybody pony up the dough for such passe stuff? It makes no sense.

It's like girls buying new jeans with holes in 'em....stupid...but sexy!
Exactly!! did you ever imagine someone actually buying ripped jeans? Can you believe what a u47 is selling for? I learned my lesson 8 years ago, THE HARD WAY. traded 4 Neve vintage 1073's for new reissue ones..
Old 20th May 2018
  #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
Is it?

It is kind of interesting that at a time when all that old analog junk should be relegated to the horse and buggy graveyard...

not only plugins, but all sorts of clones (which are still way more pricey even when cheaper) of old analog designs seem to be more popular than ever. Why would anybody pony up the dough for such passe stuff? It makes no sense.

It's like girls buying new jeans with holes in 'em....stupid...but sexy!
Yes. Most plugins are not analog emulations, and the results of the plugin/ITB explosion hasn't primarily been music that attempts to copy analog.
Old 20th May 2018
  #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post

not only plugins, but all sorts of clones (which are still way more pricey even when cheaper) of old analog designs seem to be more popular than ever. Why would anybody pony up the dough for such passe stuff? It makes no sense.
maybe it's psychological? Maybe they think the plugin is going to get them the vintage sound, based on the way the plugin looks.
Old 20th May 2018
  #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
Most plugins aren't trying to emulate analog though. That's a small sub-set of the plugin world.

With every technological advancement, there come two approaches to its use: to try to do things the old way more easily (the less creative approach to new tech), or to push all the new avenues it opens in new directions (the more creative approach to new tech).

I agree. . . if you're wanting analog and from the rock/jazz/live instrument world and are trying to get "that sound and feel," then do it the right way with analog gear and tape.

But this isn't really where the computer and ITB work has taken music at all. . . music's onto something else entirely now.

ITB will pretty much always lose at emulation contests compared to the real thing. . but there's already so much that can be done ITB that could never been done OTB (or with extreme difficulty) that that kinda misses the point. Flip the script and try to do ITB strengths with analog gear, and there's an insane amount of stuff that's common in music now that could never be done OTB with analog instruments and gear.
I completely agree.. Art can come in all forms.. BUT harsh sound is usually never that desirable .. Of course there is great great strengths to ITB, but one must see if those strengths outweigh its weaknesses.. that being listenability or aging well! I am actually mixing a artist on my label both ways, ITB and OTB.

But one must understand the emotional performance that happens when mixing.. This is what CLA is trying to convey in his latest video.. mixing is also a performance, its a feel, a moment in time.. its your "gut" impression.. of a vibe and balance. when you keep recalling a mix, you are refining something that usually is better raw.. well thats been my experience
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Old 20th May 2018
  #70
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Originally Posted by Cardinal_SINE View Post
maybe it's psychological? Maye they think the plugin is going to get them the vintage sound, based on the way the plugin looks.
So analog plugin emulations are a fraud?

Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
Yes. Most plugins are not analog emulations, and the results of the plugin/ITB explosion hasn't primarily been music that attempts to copy analog.
What plugins are people using (mostly)? Seems to me, no matter what music people do, analog or the concepts of analog are still very much alive (against all logic).

You don't use any analog or analog emulation stuff? What do you use?
Old 20th May 2018
  #71
Quote:
Originally Posted by vernier View Post
There's NO LOOKING BACK. We're in THE DIGITAL WORLD whether we like it or not. The few of us that are still into analog probably like other old things like shifting the car and not cooking by microwave.

Anyway, as for the human biology part, yes I think a 1940's crooner singing into an RCA 44 and recorded completely through tube gear has a pleasent effect. But when it's gone and wiped from history, it'll be as if it never happened.

As one of the few people on this forum who would even care.... WOW was that great.



Seriously, that was really amazing. I listen to and watch a lot of 30 and 40's stuff and that was a new one for me somehow.
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Old 20th May 2018
  #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelAngelo View Post
I completely agree.. Art can come in all forms.. BUT harsh sound is usually never that desirable .. Of course there is great great strengths to ITB, but one must see if those strengths outweigh its weaknesses.. that being listenability or aging well! I am actually mixing a artist on my label both ways, ITB and OTB.

But one must understand the emotional performance that happens when mixing.. This is what CLA is trying to convey in his latest video.. mixing is also a performance, its a feel, a moment in time.. its your "gut" impression.. of a vibe and balance. when you keep recalling a mix, you are refining something that usually is better raw.. well thats been my experience
And I agree that if you add it all up, the average of the ITB sound out there in the world so far is harsher than OTB.

Not to say there isn't plenty of pleasant ITB stuff, but I do agree that its harder to get a pleasant sound ITB. Everything isn't all getting colored in similar congruent ways like running through a particular board onto a particular tape deck, you're working with super clean sound and able to take it all different directions. Way more room for error, at a tougher starting point. Down the line I think we'll see more comprehensive ITB setups that lower the room for error. I'll be the guy "back in my day we had to GRIND and GRIND to get a good ITB sound, you kids have it so easy"
Old 20th May 2018
  #73
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Originally Posted by not_so_new View Post
As one of the few people on this forum who would even care.... WOW was that great.



Seriously, that was really amazing. I listen to and watch a lot of 30 and 40's stuff and that was a new one for me somehow.
Outstanding groove Michael!
Old 20th May 2018
  #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
So analog plugin emulations are a fraud?
No they are not fraud, but the bitmaps are obviously deceptive. There are actually people who think plugin emulation sound like the real thing. Since normal people know they don't, the deceptive UIs have to be the culprit. Maybe they should put a disclaimer? not sure but it's getting out of hand. Tape sim plugins? console emulations??
Old 20th May 2018
  #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cardinal_SINE View Post
There are actually people who think plugin emulation sound like the real thing. Since normal people know they don't, the deceptive UIs have to be the culprit. Maybe they should put a disclaimer? not sure but it's getting out of hand. Tape sim plugins? console emulations??

Can you just confirm that you believe that every world-class engineer/producer and hardware company that endorse UAD are just shills for that company?


You might also want to go over to the Console 1 thread and tell the guys that actually have SSL 4000 consoles and are switching to C1 that they don't know anything, also
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Old 20th May 2018
  #76
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Ughh...........I can't do it anymore

Every time one of these things appears I type up a little essay on the simple science behind why (generally) analog sounds better, it's not rocket science and it's not subjective placebo and it's NOT a good excuse for someone to do the obligatory "Just make music maaaaan" post either....

....seriously, this info isn't top secret, I didn't have to kill anybody to get it and no one is trying to kill me to stop me from telling America the truth.

How about you LEAVE gearsluts for a while go do 20 minutes of research and then YOU'LL KNOW why analog (usually) sounds better.

Everyone acts like this is some great mystery of the universe or a mental-trick,

ITS NEITHER, ITS F**KING SIMPLE

So if you REALLY want your question answered then GO FIND THE ANSWER (I'll go take a dump and bring the paper...you'll be done before I am)

God.... it's like people wanting to drop to their knees and worship the fire gods everytime you turn on a light switch...there's a reason the light turns on, and you don't have to sacrifice your virgin sister to share in the sacred knowledge (She can come to bathroom with me while I'm reading the paper)
Old 20th May 2018
  #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
I'm not aware of any "digital" piece of audio gear that is purely digital. Everything thing has an analog front end and analog back end. And the better the analog components and circuit design, the better the sound.

If it weren't for analog we would hear nothing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG BUDDHA View Post
i agree with you on that one, and a microphone is analog as well.

therefore the same principals apply. so simple....

Buddha
An interesting thought but I don't think that's true, there are lots of purely digital pieces of audio gear.

Any plugin or digital piece of outboard with a digital in & out is purely digital. It can perform its function on digital audio without any analogue stage, and the result can then be recorded digitally.

Sure to "hear" that result you require an analogue stage after that, but that's separate... the result of the piece of gear exists all the same.
Old 20th May 2018
  #78
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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?
This topic was always going to degenerate into a discussion over which is "better" out of analogue and digital... it's inevitable, although there have been some interesting points raised.

First let me say that I think they are simply two different tools. There are things you can do with analogue gear that you cannot do with digital, and there are things that you can do with digital gear that you cannot do with analogue.

For me it's whatever tool is best for the task at hand, and my own personal preference at that point in time.

The OP is a far more interesting and philosophical question though...

As others have already said, I don't think that you can say that "most of us prefer the sound of analog gear"... there isn't the data to support this, and I'm sure in many circumstances in a blind A/B test the results would not support this.

However the overall question they have posed about learned response is interesting.

Just as with digital, I don't think that analogue recording media or analogue equipment give a true reflection of the real world; and to be honest that's what makes recorded music so great... it's not real, it doesn't have to be.

That leads you to simply choosing which is preferable to you, making it a totally subjective choice.

It could however be argued that there is a means of processing or reproducing sound that is more sympathetic to our auditory mechanisms. After all our process of hearing is an evolutionary response to the real world of sound and, although our perception differs from person to person, the overall mechanism will not differ greatly relative to other people.

So a question would be: is using real world particles to process and store sound more sympathetic to our own hearing process than using 1s and 0s?

Another thought would be the cultural impact of recording devices over time. We have had a very long time of consuming music with analogue processing and being stored on analogue media, when compared to digital.

Because of this it could even be argued that it was natural for us to develop the digital devices and processing to be like the analogue devices that preceded them.

So another question would be: would we perceive digital processing and media differently had it preceded analogue processing and media?

Personally I think the answer to both questions is "perhaps", and I suppose that's what makes this an interesting thought
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Old 20th May 2018
  #79
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just admit that you guys are bunch of hoarders and like analogue gear for the same reasons you like other old stuff
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Old 20th May 2018
  #80
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Originally Posted by dights View Post
An interesting thought but I don't think that's true, there are lots of purely digital pieces of audio gear.

Any plugin or digital piece of outboard with a digital in & out is purely digital. It can perform its function on digital audio without any analogue stage, and the result can then be recorded digitally.

Sure to "hear" that result you require an analogue stage after that, but that's separate... the result of the piece of gear exists all the same.
With regard to plugins, they still don't have anything over outboard analog, so...

And I'm not sure what you mean by purely digital outboard. Perhaps you are talking about ADAT or SPIDF, I don't know. But if that is the case, nothing gets in to a box for digital transfer without first passing through an analog section.

Maybe you are just kidding.
Old 20th May 2018
  #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new View Post
As one of the few people on this forum who would even care.... WOW was that great.



Seriously, that was really amazing. I listen to and watch a lot of 30 and 40's stuff and that was a new one for me somehow.

Checked out your link. Loved it!
Old 20th May 2018
  #82
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Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
Down the line I think we'll see more comprehensive ITB setups that lower the room for error.
Isn't that what some of these one size fits all channel strips like ToonTracks are trying to do?

Quote:
I'll be the guy "back in my day we had to GRIND and GRIND to get a good ITB sound, you kids have it so easy"
We had to get up to change the channel or volume on the TV? Black and white TV no less. The horror!
Old 20th May 2018
  #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
With regard to plugins, they still don't have anything over outboard analog, so...
Well that's not a fact, it's your opinion isn't it? An opinion I agree with in certain situations

Don't get me wrong, as I said there are plenty of situations where I would most likely choose analogue outboard over a plugin... but not always.

Irrelevant of the sonic differences between a real analogue unit and an emulation, there are plenty of things you can do with plugins that you cannot do with analogue outboard. They're just different tools in my opinion, to be used as appropriate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
And I'm not sure what you mean by purely digital outboard. Perhaps you are talking about ADAT or SPIDF, I don't know. But if that is the case, nothing gets in to a box for digital transfer without first passing through an analog section.

Maybe you are just kidding.
If you're transmitting 1s and 0s then the method of transfer is hardly relevant, unless it makes mistakes in the data... it's still digital data, not analogue.

The same as storing data on a hard drive is not analogue data, it's digital data stored on an analogue format.
Old 20th May 2018
  #84
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Originally Posted by onewire View Post
Isn't that what some of these one size fits all channel strips like ToonTracks are trying to do?
Paint by numbers, sartorial coordination via Garanimals, cooking by using presorted ingredients and with step by step rigidity...dumbification isn't necessarily better, in fact it's generally a qualitative sacrifice for the sake of convenience, or to allow ineptness or lack of skill/knowledge to have a skin in the game...where's the creativity, the taking of chances, happy mistakes?

Music production is a infinite world of possibilities, not unlike all the possible pitch variations on a slide trombone, so skill and practice matters. With practice and discipline, comes reward. Greater the work and effort put in, greater the reward. Why cut out that step?

"You can say anything you want on the trombone, but you gotta be careful with words."
-Duke Ellington
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Old 20th May 2018
  #85
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I've kind of subscribed to this unverified unproven theory with regards to information that people generally gravitative too and accept whatever information that comes first....be it audio or video or facts or whatever. Not to discus religion but as a general example if you look at the globe lots of religions are very prominent in certain areas and generally speaking its often believed because its what we were taught by our parents. Thats what people come to accept because they heard it first...So if you believe god is in heaven and then years later that a cow is actually god it doesn't compute. But if you grew up that the cow was god an
someone tells you know god is 3 people in one....it comes off as way wrong.

Hmm i feel like thats a poor explanation. If your told the world is flat and some guy comes around and says its round, he's the idiot. Why is the world flat? Well thats just the information you had first. So whatever comes after must be wrong.

So similar thing with audio like the comment about teens & vinyl vs mp3. They've been hearing digital music format for their whole lives...vinyl sounds wrong. Grew up on vinyl....digital sounds wrong.

Personally I feel like analog sounds better but I think its probably a learned response...I response I learned on this forum most likely. Hardware is more fun for sure...but its more work and it takes longer. But i listened to some vinyl at my buddies house the other day and I haven't heard vinyl in a few years, then we listed to some stuff off of my phone through the same system and I thought it sounded better...more freq range, more open, more detail. Vinyl sounded really bandlimited and lo-fi by comparison. And I found the vinyl noise fairly annoying actually...it was quite loud...but on the flip side of that I add vinyl noise to drum beats I'm programming for an aesthetic...so go figure.

Digital photography is pretty great....but I watched some family photos on slides for the first time in 15 years pretty recently and I was amazed at the color and clarity...no pixels! I pretty much exclusively seen digital photography on a digital screen for so long.

"Better" is a subjective measure informed by previous information and taste. If we could find some tribal peoples who have been living in the jungle all their lives and never heard recorded music before and gave them an analog vs digital a/b test what they would say.
Old 20th May 2018
  #86
Isn't this just the most boring discussion in audio? Digital vs Analog, In the box vs Out the box... Use whatever works for you, both can sound great when used in the right context, in the right way.
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Old 20th May 2018
  #87
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctothej123 View Post
I've kind of subscribed to this unverified unproven theory with regards to information that people generally gravitative too and accept whatever information that comes first....be it audio or video or facts or whatever. Not to discus religion but as a general example if you look at the globe lots of religions are very prominent in certain areas and generally speaking its often believed because its what we were taught by our parents. Thats what people come to accept because they heard it first...So if you believe god is in heaven and then years later that a cow is actually god it doesn't compute. But if you grew up that the cow was god an
someone tells you know god is 3 people in one....it comes off as way wrong.

Hmm i feel like thats a poor explanation. If your told the world is flat and some guy comes around and says its round, he's the idiot. Why is the world flat? Well thats just the information you had first. So whatever comes after must be wrong.

So similar thing with audio like the comment about teens & vinyl vs mp3. They've been hearing digital music format for their whole lives...vinyl sounds wrong. Grew up on vinyl....digital sounds wrong.

Personally I feel like analog sounds better but I think its probably a learned response...I response I learned on this forum most likely. Hardware is more fun for sure...but its more work and it takes longer. But i listened to some vinyl at my buddies house the other day and I haven't heard vinyl in a few years, then we listed to some stuff off of my phone through the same system and I thought it sounded better...more freq range, more open, more detail. Vinyl sounded really bandlimited and lo-fi by comparison. And I found the vinyl noise fairly annoying actually...it was quite loud...but on the flip side of that I add vinyl noise to drum beats I'm programming for an aesthetic...so go figure.

Digital photography is pretty great....but I watched some family photos on slides for the first time in 15 years pretty recently and I was amazed at the color and clarity...no pixels! I pretty much exclusively seen digital photography on a digital screen for so long.

"Better" is a subjective measure informed by previous information and taste. If we could find some tribal peoples who have been living in the jungle all their lives and never heard recorded music before and gave them an analog vs digital a/b test what they would say.
These are strong points you are making.. And I do agree "what you get use to is correct" ...maybe! EVERYBODY agree's a better sounding playback system would possibly benifet the industry, even Jay Z, (Tidal). Why does anything have to be better? Its human nature, to improve..

I just mixed a album for a client that wanted there album to sound "more brittle" or more like everything else on the radio .instead of my very warm digital sound. At least they had a reason.. Of course I did what they wanted $$$$.. Actually it made my job easier.. But this is actually agreeing with you.. The young kids are getting so use to a certain sound, a warmer sound is too "out of place" to them..
Old 20th May 2018
  #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
If you're monitoring through the DAW when you track (not through something like the Apollo Console), what you hear is what you get. How were you doing it?
Very remotely. Was in my booth with DAW/PC in main room. So was unable to see the levels. I rarely record without checking levels but was in a hurry at the time.
Old 20th May 2018
  #89
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Originally Posted by graphicnomad View Post
Isn't this just the most boring discussion in audio? Digital vs Analog, In the box vs Out the box... Use whatever works for you, both can sound great when used in the right context, in the right way.
Yep. I have both tools, use 'em both. Digital wins the bang-for-the-buck contest easily and it's silly to avoid it just as it's silly to avoid the benefits of OTB if you can afford it.

Personally, when Tom Petty's Wildflowers was released, I wondered why it sounded soooo much better than other albums at the time. Just saw they're selling the 2" Studer they recorded it on (good deal too). Yeah, I know it's more than just the Studer that made it sound so good, but it sure didn't hurt. My own experience tells me which works better while recording/mixing and luckily I'm not working to a clock and there's no profit motive. I don't have to sacrifice quality for cost and convenience. Okay, maybe cost. I'm not wealthy either and track to a DAW instead of a Studer, but I can at least bounce it thru a Tascam 8 track if I want to.

There most certainly is an audible difference between digital and analog and I know which one I like better, and it's not always analog. My digital synths do things my analog synths can't, and vice versa. Digital film (which is still video) looks much different than film. Can't figure out if it's much better or weird and worse. My advice is "Don't listen to anyone's advice." Suck up as much experience/education as you can and make up your own mind.
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Old 20th May 2018
  #90
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Lance Lawson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zohomoho View Post
I remember this NPR story where they played the same song to teenagers, both on vinyl and MP3. The kids overwhelmingly chose the MP3. I think it is a cultural phenomenon.
I find it difficult to tell the difference between a good MP3 vs CD audio. True hi res is another matter but good MP3 is somewhat OK. I wonder what the kids would say about reel to reel vs digital, especially MP3?

Vinyl is the walking wounded of the audio world. It's noisy unpredictable in quality until played and it's gone through all kinds of EQ contortions before it reaches your ears. I would put a good 1/4 track 1/4" 7.5ips reel to reel recording from CD up against anything Michael Fremmer plays vinyl on and be confident the RTR will sound better.
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