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What artists mastered to tape and cut with preview head
Old 10th August 2019
  #1
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What artists mastered to tape and cut with preview head

I read Dre had mixed to DAT which kills all the resolution of the analog (then) mix.
There is another source of degradation: getting the sound to the lathe via a digital delay where the original signal, mind you, goes to the groove pitch (read distance between the grooves) computer.
Would like to know from witnesses or reliable sources, who of the bigger artists cut records off tape using master machines with a preview head (read maximum resolution).
And I do believe in digital, just not 44.1 or 48 kHz sample rate.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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Originally Posted by DAH View Post
I read Dre had mixed to DAT which kills all the resolution of the analog (then) mix.
There is another source of degradation: getting the sound to the lathe via a digital delay where the original signal, mind you, goes to the groove pitch (read distance between the grooves) computer.
Would like to know from witnesses or reliable sources, who of the bigger artists cut records off tape using master machines with a preview head (read maximum resolution).
And I do believe in digital, just not 44.1 or 48 kHz sample rate.
Can't speak to which artists use which heads when mastering, but I'd point out that printing a mix to DAT does not kill all the resolution of an analog mix.
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Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
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Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
Can't speak to which artists use which heads when mastering, but I'd point out that printing a mix to DAT does not kill all the resolution of an analog mix.
If I was of the same opinion, I would not have started this thread.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
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Do you know ( does anyone here know) the digital resolution of the stock digital delays incorporated into the cutting systems which were sold as a package? This would be in the early ‘80s, I think. At the time, that delay system didn’t seem to get any of the criticism directed at the CD digital design. I thought then that it was a more sophisticated digital setup, but on reflection I don’t think I ever heard any specifics.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Do you know ( does anyone here know) the digital resolution of the stock digital delays incorporated into the cutting systems which were sold as a package? This would be in the early ‘80s, I think. At the time, that delay system didn’t seem to get any of the criticism directed at the CD digital design. I thought then that it was a more sophisticated digital setup, but on reflection I don’t think I ever heard any specifics.
I read is a post of Cellotron the bit rate was 12 bit, no sample rate mentioned. On the other hand, I read in another topic about the patented delay system incorporated in the lathe which stored discretely sampled at 50 kHz voltage in continuous (non-discrete) form. Anyway, bad enough.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
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Originally Posted by DAH View Post
If I was of the same opinion, I would not have started this thread.
DAT is merely a storage medium. It's no better or worse in terms of sound quality than the DAW you use, save for its 48khz limitation (a non-issue unless you're working at 88.2 or higher...and even then, some machines exist that allow for HD DAT). And it was significantly higher-resolution than CDs.

Have you ever used DAT? Or more specifically, have you ever printed an analog mix in parallel to DAT and compared the outcome to other formats? What exactly gets lost?
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Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
DAT is merely a storage medium. It's no better or worse in terms of sound quality than the DAW you use, save for its 48khz limitation (a non-issue unless you're working at 88.2 or higher). And it was significantly higher-resolution than CDs.

Have you ever used DAT? Or more specifically, have you ever printed an analog mix in parallel to DAT and compared the outcome to other formats? What exactly gets lost?
No, I did not use DAT, and it does not invalidate my point. The thing is, 48 kHz limitation is the very limitation of fidelity observed on different prosumer systems while ABing ADDA against the analogue source (mic feed or vinyl) or at different sample rates. Lost gets the depth or 3d space as well as the air around and the body of individual instruments.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
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Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Do you know ( does anyone here know) the digital resolution of the stock digital delays incorporated into the cutting systems which were sold as a package? This would be in the early ‘80s, I think. At the time, that delay system didn’t seem to get any of the criticism directed at the CD digital design. I thought then that it was a more sophisticated digital setup, but on reflection I don’t think I ever heard any specifics.
There were cutting rooms in the 70s using DDLs. From what I've understood in reading and chatting with mastering engineer friends, they ranged from 14 to 16 bit, with the higher depths being more common as time went on. Not sure about SR though.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
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Originally Posted by DAH View Post
No, I did not use DAT, and it does not invalidate my point. The thing is, 48 kHz limitation is the very limitation of fidelity observed on different prosumer systems while ABing ADDA against the analogue source (mic feed or vinyl) or at different sample rates. Lost gets the depth or 3d space as well as the air around and the body of individual instruments.
But it sort of does. You're saying DATs kill all the resolution of an analog mix, but you've never used one, so you have no way to have ever compared. Again, DAT is a storage medium. What you're arguing here is akin to saying certain brands of hard drive sound better.
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Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
DAT is merely a storage medium. It's no better or worse in terms of sound quality than the DAW you use, save for its 48khz limitation (a non-issue unless you're working at 88.2 or higher). And it was significantly higher-resolution than CDs.

Have you ever used DAT? Or more specifically, have you ever printed an analog mix in parallel to DAT and compared the outcome to other formats? What exactly gets lost?
No, I did not use DAT, and it does not invalidate my point. The thing is, 48 kHz limitation is the very limitation of fidelity observed on different prosumer systems while ABing ADDA against the analogue source (mic feed or vinyl) or at different sample rates. Lost gets the depth or 3d space as well as the air around and the body of individual instruments.
As for my chain and hearing abilities, I did tests in headphones, hd580, yes, with speakers + room it is harder or impossible to hear these miniscule things. To say more, I did hear the dithered version as the better one in a proposed 32fp to 24 integer test on a inbuilt laptop DAC later confirmed on a better DAC, cant give you the link now, though the tester has my PM with my right guess. Also, on my own recording I did recognize 8 of 10 times while ABing dithered vs truncated at 24/96. Do not know whether it adds credibility to my hearing/words/experience.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAH View Post
No, I did not use DAT, and it does not invalidate my point. The thing is, 48 kHz limitation is the very limitation of fidelity observed on different prosumer systems while ABing ADDA against the analogue source (mic feed or vinyl) or at different sample rates. Lost gets the depth or 3d space as well as the air around and the body of individual instruments.
So, do you hear depth in the records done in the era when we all used DAT tapes?

Do you hear it on CDs?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
But it sort of does. You're saying DATs kill all the resolution of an analog mix, but you've never used one, so you have no way to have ever compared. Again, DAT is a storage medium. What you're arguing here is akin to saying certain brands of hard drive sound better.
no, it is visa versa, you are stating the DAT's adda at 48 kHz is better than other ad and da combinations. My point, the 48 kHz is in general too poor in fidelity compared to the higher sample rates, no matter the particular hardware.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
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Originally Posted by DAH View Post
No, I did not use DAT, and it does not invalidate my point. The thing is, 48 kHz limitation is the very limitation of fidelity observed on different prosumer systems while ABing ADDA against the analogue source (mic feed or vinyl) or at different sample rates. Lost gets the depth or 3d space as well as the air around and the body of individual instruments.
As for my chain and hearing abilities, I did tests in headphones, hd580, yes, with speakers + room it is harder or impossible to hear these miniscule things. To say more, I did hear the dithered version as the better one in a proposed 32fp to 24 integer test on a inbuilt laptop DAC later confirmed on a better DAC, cant give you the link now, though the tester has my PM with my right guess. Also, on my own recording I did recognize 8 of 10 times while ABing dithered vs truncated at 24/96. Do not know whether it adds credibility to my hearing/words/experience.
Please understand that I am in no way impeaching your listening skills. I'm simply saying that DAT is merely a format, and neither uniquely adds or subtracts anything in terms of quality. A 44.1/16 CD, and DAT, and playback directly from your DAW should all sound the same if you're using the same DA. Singling out DAT as some sort of problematic ruiner of otherwise great-sounding digital audio is misled.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
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Originally Posted by DAH View Post
no, it is visa versa, you are stating the DAT's adda at 48 kHz is better than other ad and da combinations. My point, the 48 kHz is in general too poor in fidelity compared to the higher sample rates, no matter the particular hardware.
Well, the AD of the DAT machine used to capture a particular mix may or may not have actually been used to capture the incoming analog audio, and the machine's DA almost certainly wasn't used during the creation of the master, so it's sort of a moot point.

I'll not bother with the arguments about sample rate.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
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Originally Posted by IM WHO YOU THINK View Post
So, do you hear depth in the records done in the era when we all used DAT tapes?

Do you hear it on CDs?
no depth on CD, and no depth on LPs made off digital in 1980 (classical) compared to the Wall ( do not temember the country and the code now, but done at half-speed - 30 Hz spike as a give away) and Bob Marleys Rastaman Vibration ( either Canada, or UK), both pressed mid-70s. As well as I can hear depth in classical pressed in 1980 probably made of the stampers done earlier with the recording done in some 60s (the queen of spades).
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
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Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
Well, the AD of the DAT machine used to capture a particular mix may or may not have actually been used to capture the incoming analog audio, and the machine's DA almost certainly wasn't used during the creation of the master, so it's sort of a moot point.

I'll not bother with the arguments about sample rate.
As I said, a particular ADC does not matter as much as the sample rate.
My concern is right about the 48 kHz DAT limitation which prohibits using say 2001 on vinyl as a reference since Dre been mixing to DAT read 48 PCM.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
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Which plugin does the best job of creating that magic 3D depth that hardware imparts? the thread where I proposed to add non existing depth to the record by using hardware and scraggs posted the dither/truncated test.

Last edited by DAH; 4 weeks ago at 03:41 PM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #18
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don't see the logic of sample rate mattering more than particular ad/da at all? If you can find out who cut the vinyl lacquers and they have info online they quite often say whether they use a delay.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #19
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Originally Posted by DAH View Post
As I said, a particular ADC does not matter as much as the sample rate.
That is...a unique position.

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My concern is right about the 48 kHz DAT limitation which prohibits using say 2001 on vinyl as a reference since Dre been mixing to DAT read 48 PCM.
Well, as some DATs allowed for higher sample rates to be used, it's sort of a moot point, but, properly-implemented 48khz capture is more than adequate. But again, the argument about sample rates is a boring one that has been hashed out more times than i can count. If your argument is about sample rates, that's fine. I won't bother refuting you. But you keep bringing up DATs, which is silly, because DAT is a storage medium, not a sample rate.

In terms of 2001 on vinyl...I'm not sure I see your point. Does that record sound good to you or not? I think it sounds great. The format for capture and storage is irrelevant. If you think it sounds bad or good, i can assure you DAT had little to do with it. And this tie-in you're trying to make with vinyl and cutting via DDL is strange. It literally has nothing to do with DAT at all. What is the connection you're trying to make with these unrelated things?

At best, it seems you're misunderstanding some fundamental aspect about the workings of digital audio.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #20
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Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
That is...a unique position.



Well, as some DATs allowed for higher sample rates to be used, it's sort of a moot point, but, properly-implemented 48khz capture is more than adequate. But again, the argument about sample rates is a boring one that has been hashed out more times than i can count. If your argument is about sample rates, that's fine. I won't bother refuting you. But you keep bringing up DATs, which is silly, because DAT is a storage medium, not a sample rate.

In terms of 2001 on vinyl...I'm not sure I see your point. Does that record sound good to you or not? I think it sounds great. The format for capture and storage is irrelevant. If you think it sounds bad or good, i can assure you DAT had little to do with it. And this tie-in you're trying to make with vinyl and cutting via DDL is strange. It literally has nothing to do with DAT at all. What is the connection you're trying to make with these unrelated things?

At best, it seems you're misunderstanding some fundamental aspect about the workings of digital audio.
Please remove the last accusative paragraph, else I could blame you in being deaf not hearing the vast difference between 44-48 and 96, or not bright enough to see the direct relation between using DAT and DDL in that both are non-high-res digital with destroyed 3d space resolution.
2001 is good, but there must be better references on vinyl cut from tape with no DDL. 24/96 hip-hop records, I have failed to find.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #21
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I'm sure there are hip hop records cut from tape with no ddl, ones that sound better than 2001 though? those you might well fail too find lol.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #22
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Originally Posted by DAH View Post
Would like to know from witnesses or reliable sources, who of the bigger artists cut records off tape using master machines with a preview head (read maximum resolution).
When it was a full court press to get multiple sets of parts to plants all over the world on a tight deadline for a big international release, there often would be some of each. All-analogue, analogue through ddl, or 1610/1630 through ddl. No telling what plants got what. At the time, nobody cared.

And the artists who got released internationally in huge quantities with massive promotion and a single worldwide release date were -- stands to reason -- the biggest ones.
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Old 4 weeks ago
  #23
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Originally Posted by DAH View Post
the patented delay system incorporated in the lathe which stored discretely sampled at 50 kHz voltage.
Can you clarify what you mean? 50 kHz is not a measure of voltage.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #24
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Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
When it was a full court press to get multiple sets of parts to plants all over the world on a tight deadline for a big international release, there often would be some of each. All-analogue, analogue through ddl, or 1610/1630 through ddl. No telling what plants got what. At the time, nobody cared.

And the artists who got released internationally in huge quantities with massive promotion and a single worldwide release date were -- stands to reason -- the biggest ones.
Thanks, that makes sense. I suspect then, the paths varied across different plants, not within one plant.
I can even recall an unlicensed post-USSR Sting release on vinyl where the A side was fine, but the B side was flat as a pancake in terms of 3d. Obviously, different sources. Here's the release: https://www.discogs.com/Sting-Sting/release/8857421
Old 4 weeks ago
  #25
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Originally Posted by meez61 View Post
I'm sure there are hip hop records cut from tape with no ddl, ones that sound better than 2001 though? those you might well fail too find lol.
That is the problem. Judging purely by the sound quality, Snoop Dogg's (except maybe the NoLimit era) and Ice Cube's releases (War and Peace and later) are quite on par, but both coming from under Dre's wing, so the mixing to DAT practice might as well be adopted by them.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #26
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Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Can you clarify what you mean? 50 kHz is not a measure of voltage.
50 kHz sampling rate for the delayed original analogue signal that went to lathe whereas the original signal went to the groove pitch computer.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #27
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Originally Posted by meez61 View Post
don't see the logic of sample rate mattering more than particular ad/da at all?
It is not logic but the observations. This topic has been discussed many times/ It is probably has more to do with the DAC artifacts moved to the ultrasonic range at higher sample rates, though native 24/96 sounds still better than upsampled 24/44-48 at 96.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #28
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Originally Posted by DAH View Post
Please remove the last accusative paragraph, else I could blame you in being deaf not hearing the vast difference between 44-48 and 96, or not bright enough to see the direct relation between using DAT and DDL in that both are non-high-res digital with destroyed 3d space resolution.
2001 is good, but there must be better references on vinyl cut from tape with no DDL. 24/96 hip-hop records, I have failed to find.
I don't need my hearing validated by strangers on the internet, nor am i arguing that sample rates don't have an impact on sound.

With regards to your linking DAT and DDL, again, those things are completely unrelated. You may as well include DASH, DA88, and even Pro Tools to that list of 'resolution killers'. And let's not even get into the hip hop-specific quandary of 32k 12-bit samplers and their impact on 'depth'.

What you're effectively arguing is that no worthy digital reference material existed prior to the advent of Pro Tools HD in the early 2000s. Is that your position? If so, then why the preoccupation with DAT (a storage format, and one which you've never actually used)?

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Originally Posted by DAH View Post
It is not logic but the observations. This topic has been discussed many times/ It is probably has more to do with the DAC artifacts moved to the ultrasonic range at higher sample rates, though native 24/96 sounds still better than upsampled 24/44-48 at 96.
Are you familiar with the concept of oversampling? Most modern DACs don't actually record the signal at 44.1k or 48k. They record the signal at much, much higher resolutions. So, there aren't really a lot of "DAC artifacts" relative to the sampling process.

Most DACs' biggest weakness is the analog section, and all the high resolution sampling in the world can't fix what's already been broken by that.
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Old 4 weeks ago
  #29
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I don't need my hearing validated by strangers on the internet,
So do I not need my degree of understanding the digital sound matters to be evaluated by Internet strangers.

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With regards to your linking DAT and DDL, again, those things are completely unrelated. You may as well include DASH, DA88, and even Pro Tools to that list of 'resolution killers'.
I specified DAT only in the context of the mix storage medium used by one of the biggest producers in the genre. Although my point stands for any digital format with lesser than say 88/96 khz sample rate.

Quote:
And let's not even get into the hip hop-specific quandary of 32k 12-bit samplers and their impact on 'depth'.
As you may know, the sound fatness\chunkiness\forwardness of the samples used in production is just a part of the picture. The vocals, the spatial FX and EQ\dynamics as well as summing were not done at the sampler's resolution of 32k 12bit. Do not mix up things.

Quote:
What you're effectively arguing is that no worthy digital reference material existed prior to the advent of Pro Tools HD in the early 2000s. Is that your position? If so, then why the preoccupation with DAT (a storage format, and one which you've never actually used)?
No, I did not mention ProTools specifically. It is just that digital at 44/48 kHz, be it DAT, DASH, CD-DA, PCM Wav file has less resolution than either a master tape, a 96 PCM file, or a vinyl cut from either of the former two sources without low sample rate DDL. Yes, my point is that for me CDs or vinyls cut by using or from non-high-res digital gear/source are not a valid reference, or just not good enough anymore.

Quote:
Are you familiar with the concept of oversampling? Most modern DACs don't actually record the signal at 44.1k or 48k. They record the signal at much, much higher resolutions. So, there aren't really a lot of "DAC artifacts" relative to the sampling process.
Most DACs' biggest weakness is the analog section, and all the high resolution sampling in the world can't fix what's already been broken by that.
So DACs even got used to record. Quite a new function to me. I and many other always knew DACs were to convert digital data to analogue voltage.
And yes, I do know about delta sigma ADCs and oversampling.
As for the DAC filters having more optimal work conditions at higher sample rates, there are several threads on GS and other forums.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #30
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Originally Posted by DAH View Post
I specified DAT only in the context of the mix storage medium used by one of the biggest producers in the genre. Although my point stands for any digital format with lesser than say 88/96 khz sample rate.
IOW - virtually every recording made prior to the advent of Pro Tools HD c.2002, and virtually very recording made since.

Quote:
As you may know, the sound fatness\chunkiness\forwardness of the samples used in production is just a part of the picture. The vocals,
Captured with mics that rarely pick up much over 18khz.

Quote:
the spatial FX
Which, in digital devices, largely operate BELOW 44.1khz (the state of the art 480L maxed out at the dreaded 48k SR).

Plates are almost always low-pass filtered because they get damn noisy, so those maybe go up to 10khz.

So maybe if rap records were using a bunch of chamber reverbs, ok..?

Quote:
and EQ\dynamics as well as summing were not done at the sampler's resolution of 32k 12bit. Do not mix up things.
So you're talking about harmonics (ie - distortion) added by various analog stages?


Quote:
No, I did not mention ProTools specifically. It is just that digital at 44/48 kHz, be it DAT, DASH, CD-DA, PCM Wav file has less resolution than either a master tape, a 96 PCM file, or a vinyl cut from either of the former two sources without low sample rate DDL.
Of those three, the 96 PCM is by far the highest-resolution format. But 48k easily outperforms the other two in terms of objective fidelity.

Vinyl is easily the worst. Smallest dynamic range, much more limited frequency response (fyi - vinyl rarely has anything above 20khz; to that end, it's even worse than 48k or even 44.1k PCM audio), plus, there's the physical wear factor, which further diminishes both dynamic and frequency ranges. And, the playback quality is highly limited by the system, meaning, there are MANY opportunities for further degradation along the output signal path.

Tape is second worst. The manual for my ATR 102 (amongst the finest and certainly most commonly-used tape deck for mixing and mastering) l shows an upper frequency limit of 28k at 30ips, and a measly 20k at 15ips. That's not taking into consideration different tape formulas, biases, etc, and it's for an optimum maintained machine with brand-new, perfect heads. So at best, its frequency response is akin to approximately a 60kHz sample rate. To put this into perspective, that's about a minor third's worth of added musical information over what's offered by 48khz SR. Three semitones.

But wait! There's more! With every generation of tape transfer (eg - a multitrack being mixed and printed to a half-inch deck), you lose 3db of SNR. And the first thing to go is that high end. And of course, the tape itself wears down over time and again, the first thing to go is that high end.

And we're only focusing on the upper frequency response. In most cases, tape will roll off the LF, especially at high speeds. So, most engineers have to consider what matters more for a given project: extended HF or extended LF. In the case of a hip hop record, I'll let you guess what most folks choose

And of course, the dynamic range is much, much smaller than digital.

So I wonder, where exactly is this "resolution" coming from...? And how on earth can you ever find a listenable reference master in a world of such low-resolution audio mediums?

Quote:
So DACs even got used to record. Quite a new function to me. I and many other always knew DACs were to convert digital data to analogue voltage.
By "DAC" i meant "Digital Audio Convertor", not "Digital-to-Analog Convertor".
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