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Does analog gear really sound "better", or is it just a learned response?
Old 13th June 2018
  #1501
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IanBSC's Avatar
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Originally Posted by Lance Lawson View Post
Every engineer I knew in those crucial crossover years admitted digital didn't sound as nice as tape. And yet they went digital. They went digital because they didn't have to fuss with the hassle of tape machines and they could throw away their razor blades and splicing tape. Ask just about any engineer here that was active in the old days and they'll tell you how glad they are to be rid of tape.
My impression is that a lot of engineers went digital in the 80s or 90s and never looked back, in part because of the machines they were using.

I wonder if my position would be different if I hadn't been so spoiled with nice machines. From recording school to working as an assistant it was basically all A820 or A827 Gold. An Otari once in a while. I hardly ever had to do complex edits with the razorblade, I think was largely to do with how nice the locator and punch features were. And the Studers generally sounded great at 30ips.
Old 13th June 2018
  #1502
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Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
Since 70s music recorded to analog tape isn't something I lived, I absolutely have a different take on it compared to someone who experienced it in the 70s. I love it, that was an amazing decade full of great music that I love and appreciate, but its also just another small scope of sonic flavor that's out there in the big picture. .
Analog isn't just the 70s or 70s music...

the sonic "flavor" is, it seems to me, alive and well in many ways for most people...even if the music is decidedly "modern".

and even if people are attempting to apply it with digital tools (though most still use some of the same old analog stuff from decades ago in one way or another).

This idea that "analog" is some crusty old archaic nostalgia trip seems really untrue to me, whether it's "learned" or not...

The OP was talking about harsh....most people don't like harsh or "plain"... (or at least the harsh or plain that may come with a pure digital recording).
Old 13th June 2018
  #1503
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Obviously analog isn’t just the 70s. Are you kidding me? You do this kind of stuff over and over, just stupid obvious entirely-miss-the-point twist-of-words straw men.

Never said analog was crusty either or that it doesn’t offer and doesn’t produce very pleasing results that I definitely enjoy. I’ve said the exact opposite many times over. So many different ways to sound "good", that's what I respond to, and I'm open to anything and everything and will put effort into understanding various aesthetics. This doesn't mean "analog sucks" in any way, shape, or form, obviously.

Go find someone else to make stuff up at for a while man. .
Old 13th June 2018
  #1504
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Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
Obviously analog isn’t just the 70s. Are you kidding me? You do this kind of stuff over and over, just stupid obvious entirely-miss-the-point twist-of-words straw men.
Is it impossible for you to post without being an over the top rude &^%$*()?

Yes, it appears to be impossible.

You think your stupid "theories" about teens and generations that you spout over and over aren't obvious crap?

All I was responding to was that the sonic "flavor" of analog is a small scope in the big picture. It may be that way for you, but I don't think it is for everyone else no matter what period they are into.

I never said you said "analog sucks"....so talk about making up sh*t.

Sorry if it seems I conflated in any way your constant insulting attitude towards people who like old music and sound with your opinion on old music and sound, but you obviously come off like you think old stuff (including analog) is mostly passe, and you obviously come off like you think passe is "bad", even if whatever it is is "good".

I really couldn't care less about your opinions though, and I'm really not at all sorry about annoying you as you are so unbelievably annoying and condescending and rude yourself.
Old 13th June 2018
  #1505
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Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Maybe the 'irony' here is that no frequency band limited signal can produce square waves perfectly -- because doing so would require 'infinite' frequency response in order to be able to produce truly instant rise time.


These things should be obvious to those who understand basic audio concepts and have viewed the referenced video and understood what was being said.
to break it down even further:
I have never seen a speaker membrane moving in "steps". It always swings back and forth on a nice sine curve. Just generate a 10Hz sine with a plugin (digital!), feed it to your subwoofer and watch it. It would probably even do so, if you fed a "stepped" signal into the voive coil, because of mass inertia.
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Old 13th June 2018
  #1506
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
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Originally Posted by Lance Lawson View Post
I'm going to play devil's advocate here. I knew in those crucial crossover years admitted digital didn't sound as nice as tape. And yet they went digital. They went digital because they didn't have to fuss with the hassle of tape machines and they could throw away their razor blades and splicing tape.

Ask just about any engineer here that was active in the old days and they'll tell you how glad they are to be rid of tape.

Now had they maintained running those Studers perhaps the home recording industry would have never happened.

i was there before, during, and after the digital crossover period.

i still love tape. and you had to be good to splice quickly, and get it right.

i still have a Studer A800 2 inch, and i also run a 48 in/out digital system.

they both have their uses, and like all good tools, you need to know how to use them, and the when and the why.

hi end analog is great gear, and hi end digital is great also.

i am glad to have both systems in my studio, but i find it pointless to argue with those that havnt used both.

Buddha
Attached Thumbnails
Does analog gear really sound "better", or is it just a learned response?-dda-desk-.jpg   Does analog gear really sound "better", or is it just a learned response?-imgp4074.jpg   Does analog gear really sound "better", or is it just a learned response?-studer-frount.jpg   Does analog gear really sound "better", or is it just a learned response?-headblock.jpg  
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Old 13th June 2018
  #1507
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG BUDDHA View Post
i was there before, during, and after the digital crossover period.

i still love tape. and you had to be good to splice quickly, and get it right.

i still have a Studer A800 2 inch, and i also run a 48 in/out digital system.

they both have their uses, and like all good tools, you need to know how to use them, and the when and the why.

hi end analog is great gear, and hi end digital is great also.

i am glad to have both systems in my studio, but i find it pointless to argue with those that havnt used both.

Buddha
Nice AMR24. Love the sound of that thing. Something about it.
Old 13th June 2018
  #1508
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Nice AMR24. Love the sound of that thing. Something about it.
thanks, its a great sounding desk.

i have lots of analogue to go with it.

i truely love the Digital stuff too. best of both worlds.

Buddha
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Old 13th June 2018
  #1509
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Originally Posted by norfolk martin View Post
Someone who apparently believes that that it is not possible to make a digital recording without encountering "squared off waveforms" or "digital clipping" is going to help "advance technology" of any kind?

If you know nothing abouit digital recording (except that you don't like it) and have no desire to find out anything about it ( because you don't like it) you seem inherently ill equipped to participate in this debate.
Pretty sure that guy left the building after his first day here.
Old 13th June 2018
  #1510
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG BUDDHA View Post
i was there before, during, and after the digital crossover period.

i still love tape. and you had to be good to splice quickly, and get it right.

i still have a Studer A800 2 inch, and i also run a 48 in/out digital system.

they both have their uses, and like all good tools, you need to know how to use them, and the when and the why.

hi end analog is great gear, and hi end digital is great also.

i am glad to have both systems in my studio, but i find it pointless to argue with those that havnt used both.

Buddha
This post pretty much sums it up. People love tape, people love digital. Both are great tools, both continue to make great music. To argue which is "better" is a bit silly.

To answer the question "Does analog gear really sound "better"", Yes, it can.
"is it just a learned response?" No, it is a preference. The same can be said for digital.

Nice studio btw!
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Old 13th June 2018
  #1511
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Originally Posted by Lady Gaia View Post
That’s a frequent misconception. The following video is one of the best I’ve seen at explaining what really happens when sampling a signal, and why it’s nothing like what the common misrepresentation depicts it as:



In short: a sampled waveform is a series of points on the curve, not straight horizontal lines. The curve is reconstructed just as rounded as it was when it was measured in the first place.
Don't feed the trolls. The guy's alias is AnalogClassicist, and he thinks digital audio is a stairstep waveform (which wouldn't be a waveform by nature haha). Aliasing, or properly "alias waveforms", proves the stairstep thing is BS. People also confuse Class D, pulse modulation type amplifiers, with "digital" amplifiers, which they are not, nor do they even produce "stair step" waveforms, because of transistor slew, capacitance, and physical momentum, among other factors.

Don't give him the opportunity to hijack more posts in the thread. Be suspicious of anybody who says they are "learning" yet have a strong opinion on the fundamentals of an advanced topic.

Last edited by psykostx; 13th June 2018 at 01:55 PM..
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Old 13th June 2018
  #1512
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psykostx View Post
Don't feed the trolls. The guy's alias is AnalogClassicist, and he thinks digital audio is a stairstep waveform (which wouldn't be a waveform by nature haha).

Don't give him the opportunity to hijack more posts in the thread. Be suspicious of anybody who says they are "learning" yet have a strong opinion on the fundamentals of an advanced topic.
Especially when they've joined Gearslutz this week just to post that sort of nonsense.

It's probably someone with a few aliases who just enjoys stirring the pot... could even be someone else involved in the main thread
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Old 13th June 2018
  #1513
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Originally Posted by dights View Post
Especially when they've joined Gearslutz this week just to post that sort of nonsense.

It's probably someone with a few aliases who just enjoys stirring the pot... could even be someone else involved in the main thread
Burner GS account...wth has the world come to?
Old 13th June 2018
  #1514
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert82 View Post
You're talking about 20 or more years ago. It might have been out of convenience back then. Now I think you might find some of the old guard who would choose digital (with 20 plus years of refinement) over tape sonically, regardless of convenience.
My position concerned the lament that even if you want to be analogue now it is cost prohibitive. We have this thing called digital it became the industry standard because it was allowed to. It was allowed to by a professional industry who at the time of it's arrival was not enamored of it. It got in the door and took over. So now there are laments over which is better, which sounds better etc etc. Personally I think the new school is sonically as competent as the old school. Some of those who pine away for the old school can thank their older peers for tossing it. Almost like American cars were great and then we let Toyota's in. Now everyone drives a Toyota. But isn't that the way it always goes.

Agreed 20 years on digital has been improved and refined. But what do you suppose analogue tape would have been with that extra 20 years of refinement? I sit happily on the fence I run both I like both.
Old 13th June 2018
  #1515
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Lawson View Post
My position concerned the lament that even if you want to be analogue now it is cost prohibitive.
You can get fully refurbed 16-24 track reel to reel recorders for ~$12k.

If that's what someone wants, it's possibly very extravagant, but not necessarily cost prohibitive if it's for professional purposes.
Old 13th June 2018
  #1516
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robert82's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Lawson View Post
Agreed 20 years on digital has been improved and refined. But what do you suppose analogue tape would have been with that extra 20 years of refinement? I sit happily on the fence I run both I like both.
Don't you think any further improvements in tape would have run up against the physical (physics!) limitations of the medium itself? Meaning, wasn't it already fully developed?
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Old 13th June 2018
  #1517
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Lawson View Post
My position concerned the lament that even if you want to be analogue now it is cost prohibitive. We have this thing called digital it became the industry standard because it was allowed to. It was allowed to by a professional industry who at the time of it's arrival was not enamored of it. It got in the door and took over. So now there are laments over which is better, which sounds better etc etc. Personally I think the new school is sonically as competent as the old school. Some of those who pine away for the old school can thank their older peers for tossing it. Almost like American cars were great and then we let Toyota's in. Now everyone drives a Toyota. But isn't that the way it always goes.

Agreed 20 years on digital has been improved and refined. But what do you suppose analogue tape would have been with that extra 20 years of refinement? I sit happily on the fence I run both I like both.
Digital as a medium has always been far better than any analog system. In fact there are literally no differences between them mathematically (in the analytical sense, obviously there's the periodic vs continuous time domain thing) except the superior dynamic range and noise floor of digital. The video that Lady Gaia posted proves it absolutely. Great post.

It's the digital processing tools that are, and always will be the issue. And it's not a matter of opinion, it's fact. Analog circuit behavior cannot be modeled by simple, concept-ideal equations. Analog circuits are designed within stated tolerance goals, because they don't behave mathematically perfect upon in-depth analysis. To model this digitally is a virtual impossibility, characterized by the P!=NP theorem. We won't know for certain until the theorem is proven, but there's more evidence supporting the inequality than not.

Old 13th June 2018
  #1518
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
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Originally Posted by robert82 View Post
... wasn't it already fully developed?
If digital had never happened and analog tape makers were competing for market share, you can bet they would've thrown major time and money into solving the shelf-life issues.
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Old 13th June 2018
  #1519
Gear Guru
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Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
Do whatever you want man, of course! Just giving my perspective.

It could be like the woman example, or it could be like the first time you taste a super hoppy beer vs 6 months later when its all you want to drink, or the first time someone tastes sushi vs 6 months later. I find both to be true, depending.

But even with a woman I'm not into, I'm able to appreciate why my friend would like her. I tend to find that appreciation, at a bare minimum, can be found in anything people strongly value.
What? I like super hoppy women....!
Old 13th June 2018
  #1520
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Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
If digital had never happened and analog tape makers were competing for market share, you can bet they would've thrown major time and money into solving the shelf-life issues.
True. I'm more wondering how tape itself, and the transport mechanism, could have been improved - new particles? new substrates? Perhaps transport could have become even more stable. Talking the last .5% of perfection. But I still don't think it would have ever reached the noise floor and clarity of digital.
Old 13th June 2018
  #1521
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Originally Posted by robert82 View Post
True. I'm more wondering how tape itself, and the transport mechanism, could have been improved - new particles? new substrates? Perhaps transport could have become even more stable. Talking the last .5% of perfection. But I still don't think it would have ever reached the noise floor and clarity of digital.
Ask the Koreans (North) about tape in 2018. They held on to it.
Old 13th June 2018
  #1522
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
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Originally Posted by robert82 View Post
...I still don't think it would have ever reached the noise floor and clarity of digital.
Maybe not with just the tape. Dolby SR was a big improvement over Dolby A. But you couldn't have both that and saturation/compression. If there had been a next generation of noise reduction that figured that one out...
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Old 13th June 2018
  #1523
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Lawson View Post
My position concerned the lament that even if you want to be analogue now it is cost prohibitive. .
I think, to a large degree, it always was cost prohibitive for the vast majority of artists. The high cost of the sort of analog recording that is usually discussed here was a substantial "barrier to entry."

I remember being quoted 80 pounds an hour (Approx $180 at that time ) for a 16 track London studio in 1977. That's about 470 pounds an hour ( approx $700) in today's money.

Part of the "gatekeeper" function of the traditional record industry was that you needed an advance ( and hence a contract) to get near the sort of analog recording that we are now discussing.
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Old 13th June 2018
  #1524
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If they'd continued developing tape machines, they'd be a lot more affordable now, cheaper and better tape formulas too.
Old 13th June 2018
  #1525
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolk martin View Post
Part of the "gatekeeper" function of the traditional record industry was that you needed an advance ( and hence a contract) to get near the sort of analog recording that we are now discussing.
Or you needed a buddy.

That infamous Cars two-track demo session that got them their deal was, as far as I know, a freebie.
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Old 13th June 2018
  #1526
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolk martin View Post
I think, to a large degree, it always was cost prohibitive for the vast majority of artists. The high cost of the sort of analog recording that is usually discussed here was a substantial "barrier to entry."

I remember being quoted 80 pounds an hour (Approx $180 at that time ) for a 16 track London studio in 1977. That's about 470 pounds an hour ( approx $700) in today's money.

Part of the "gatekeeper" function of the traditional record industry was that you needed an advance ( and hence a contract) to get near the sort of analog recording that we are now discussing.
Now a days, there is no "gatekeeper" either in role or function, at least in regards to the ability to realize audio production without sonic compromise.

Digital has evened that playing field. What it hasn't done yet, is to fully quell aesthetical antecedents that still permeate our collective ideal of what 'sound' is, or for many what the 'ideal' sound is. I would imagine as time goes on, and when eventually there will be no living person who's had access to an ancient device, such as a phonograph, a reel to reel, tube amplifier, a cassette deck, etc...is the point where hopefully humankind can finally put to rest what can best be described as a sordid taint on worthwhile use of frivolous time, for good...
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Old 13th June 2018
  #1527
Gear Guru
Back in the day the most advanced tape system people were playing with as I remember, were Akai video tape based ones. Video tape runs at a high rate of speed, so ultra high fidelity was where that was going. All this talk of developing better tape machines was already solved. People couldn't get rid of analogue fast enough, ADAT was it......! Tape was/is a pain to work with....... Like film...... Expensive, time consuming, horrible for the environment, and a sync and generation loss unstable archiving nightmare. Decks sound great if you want the effect. Tape sound is an effect, and not a superior reality........There is NO superior reality in audio unless you're listening to a live performance.......
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Old 13th June 2018
  #1528
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Originally Posted by psykostx View Post
Electricity wasn't discovered by number crunching it was discovered by ballsiness. Same with flight. Things can be greatly refined by measurement but concepts themselves are never discovered by raw math, rather the raw math is discovered to describe a concept. A model of nature is not nature nor does it describe nature, it describes a perspective on nature.
Totally off-topic, but noticed your sig and felt compelled to point out that electricity was discovered by accident; there was nothing ballsy about it. On the other hand, trying to fly your own hand-built airplane is definitely ballsy, but the Wright bros. didn't discover powered flight -- insects figured it out a couple hundred million years before.

As for concepts never being discovered by raw math, the history of science and engineering shows that this is definitely not true. In fact, for the past 100 years that's exactly how physics has been done: start with the mathematical theory, let symmetries define the constraints, and then test it against experimental data.

Einstein didn't invent special relativity by performing experiments; he postulated the invariance of the speed of light (a symmetry implied by Maxwell's equations) and the notion that physical laws are frame-invariant (another symmetry), and worked out the math. Likewise, his general relativity was a geometrical theory of gravity. Einstein left it to the experimenters to show that his theories were valid.

Black holes were first discovered as an analytical solution to Einstein's field equations, decades before astronomers found evidence of their existence. The standard model in quantum field theory -- by far the most experimentally accurate physics in the history of humanity -- was invented by physicists playing with group theory, one of the most abstract mathematical fields we have.

There are countless other examples. To bring this somewhat back on topic, there's neither analog nor digital without the math. Anyway, the point is that scientists and engineers have long known that, for some crazy reason, true statements in mathematics seem to correspond to true statements about our universe. That makes math not only a helluva tool for describing the universe, but also a bottomless source of inspiration for discovering new truths about the universe. Best part is that it's free!
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Old 13th June 2018
  #1529
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Originally Posted by psykostx View Post
Digital as a medium has always been far better than any analog system. [...]

It's the digital processing tools that are, and always will be the issue. And it's not a matter of opinion, it's fact. Analog circuit behavior cannot be modeled by simple, concept-ideal equations. Analog circuits are designed within stated tolerance goals, because they don't behave mathematically perfect upon in-depth analysis. To model this digitally is a virtual impossibility, characterized by the P!=NP theorem. We won't know for certain until the theorem is proven, but there's more evidence supporting the inequality than not.
IMHO, that's biased wording acrobatics.

Point is, neither can digital processing be modelled with classic analogue circuits tech. It fails substantially! Digital does a better job at emulating even the most extreme analogue processing, much much better than the other way around. Of course, it's costly and hard to justify using 1 fat desktop computer per plugin today, but still cheap in comparison! Try to build a clean analogue delay for example, or a proper multiplication.

Your idea would be valid if analogue processing guaranteed the most useful and reliable results, the best recallability and usability.

This simply isn't the case. In fact, most funding behind digital tech came from the fact that analogue ideas failed to adequately cover simple, rather lofi tasks such as telephony! Analogue today has a few economical advantages in the "creative saturation" field. This is just a small facet of audio processing. In fact, it's even irrelevant in essentially any non music audio field. Say, post production, field recording, telephony, acoustic, control, hearing aids, sonar and so on.

In this world, digital processing is the light tower. Analogue processing is largely a romantic bias, literally laughed at in most other audio fields (and essentially any other field of engineering).

Last edited by FabienTDR; 13th June 2018 at 05:30 PM..
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Old 13th June 2018
  #1530
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Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
Totally off-topic, but noticed your sig and felt compelled to point out that electricity was discovered by accident; there was nothing ballsy about it. On the other hand, trying to fly your own hand-built airplane is definitely ballsy, but the Wright bros. didn't discover powered flight -- insects figured it out a couple hundred million years before.

As for concepts never being discovered by raw math, the history of science and engineering shows that this is definitely not true. In fact, for the past 100 years that's exactly how physics has been done: start with the mathematical theory, let symmetries define the constraints, and then test it against experimental data.

Einstein didn't invent special relativity by performing experiments; he postulated the invariance of the speed of light (a symmetry implied by Maxwell's equations) and the notion that physical laws are frame-invariant (another symmetry), and worked out the math. Likewise, his general relativity was a geometrical theory of gravity. Einstein left it to the experimenters to show that his theories were valid.

Black holes were first discovered as an analytical solution to Einstein's field equations, decades before astronomers found evidence of their existence. The standard model in quantum field theory -- by far the most experimentally accurate physics in the history of humanity -- was invented by physicists playing with group theory, one of the most abstract mathematical fields we have.

There are countless other examples. To bring this somewhat back on topic, there's neither analog nor digital without the math. Anyway, the point is that scientists and engineers have long known that, for some crazy reason, true statements in mathematics seem to correspond to true statements about our universe. That makes math not only a helluva tool for describing the universe, but also a bottomless source of inspiration for discovering new truths about the universe. Best part is that it's free!
So you're agreeing with me with a tone of disagreement. Classic GS. Great. Thanks.
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