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Sounding Off: Is New Gear Better? (Ethan's article on SOS) Condenser Microphones
Old 15th November 2009
  #31
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Unclenny's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanDan View Post
Hi Ethan, I have to disagree, hopefully to add a dimension to the discussion.
Really enjoyed reading both of your posts.
Old 15th November 2009
  #32
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An excerpt that I've found superb :

"In years past, thousands of amazing-sounding records were made using only the stock preamps in whatever console was available. Those preamps were designed to be as clean as possible, not coloured with some ‘vintage’ quality. The best recordings of years past still hold up today — but they sound great despite the limitations of the gear used, not because of it."

-> excerpt taken from SOS , december edition , by Ethan .
Old 15th November 2009
  #33
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While I respect Eathan's knowledge of acoustics, an excerpt I found quite reveling...

SOS article." Every day I see a dozen forum posts asking ‘What should I buy next?’ This is inevitably followed by a long list of gear owned, and an even longer list of proposed new gear. In my opinion, what every project studio needs most, but so few have, is an excellent environment in which to record and mix."

and while I do not disagree, It's not a surprise opinion from someone who sells room treatment. And while I agree that room treatment can and has made my basement studio- 12 x 11 -7' 6" ceiling sound less hateful . It doesn't make it sound like a " Most professional studios 40 years ago had a live room large enough that reflections from the walls and ceiling were softer and ‘later’ than recordings done today in a bedroom" any more than a boutique pre amp. does .....
Old 15th November 2009
  #34
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I respectfully have to disagree with some of the points. Saying a digital eq has no noise or distortion is simply not true (objective) Regarding consumer sound cards and analog and fidelity, isn't how it sounds a criteria for fidelity? It should be the only criteria, either it sounds good or it doesn't. In certain applications analog sounds far superior (subjective i know, but most share this opinion in listening tests).

New technology isn't necessarily an improvement, the first transistors were terrible compared to tubes, the first cds sounded horrible compared to tape/vinyl.

There is good sounding cheap gear and bad sounding expensive gear, but for the most part the more expensive stuff sounds better. If you really could build a great sounding mic pre for $10 you'ld be a rich man. As with anything, the more refined your palette becomes the more you can appreciate finer things and understand their value.

The confusion comes when people think brand X is NEEDED for great music. What's needed for great music is a great musician, to record great music you need a great engineer. Giving them great tools to use will only make things better. But let's not pretend all the tools are the same.
Old 15th November 2009
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyc View Post
I respectfully have to disagree with some of the points. Saying a digital eq has no noise or distortion is simply not true (objective) Regarding consumer sound cards and analog and fidelity, isn't how it sounds a criteria for fidelity? It should be the only criteria, either it sounds good or it doesn't. In certain applications analog sounds far superior (subjective i know, but most share this opinion in listening tests).

New technology isn't necessarily an improvement, the first transistors were terrible compared to tubes, the first cds sounded horrible compared to tape/vinyl.

There is good sounding cheap gear and bad sounding expensive gear, but for the most part the more expensive stuff sounds better. If you really could build a great sounding mic pre for $10 you'ld be a rich man. As with anything, the more refined your palette becomes the more you can appreciate finer things and understand their value.

The confusion comes when people think brand X is NEEDED for great music. What's needed for great music is a great musician, to record great music you need a great engineer. Giving them great tools to use will only make things better. But let's not pretend all the tools are the same.
WORD. I was thinking this exact same thing. I agree with you. It's better to have a great (or even good) performance through mediocre gear than a mediocre perfomance on great gear any day of the week.
Old 15th November 2009
  #36
Harmless Wacko
 

Holy Cow.

Emperor Ethan of ConnectMyCutt.

Saint and genius.

All in a 4 measurement universe.

Where everything has been both discovered and explained just a century into this specific technological undertaking.

Because that is very likely.

The historical precedents are legion.

Ya know, boat making, housing, warfare.

All pretty much wrapped up in a century or so.

Total distillation of all this insuperable wisdom:


Don't buy audio equipment, buy room treatment.


Hoo woulda thunk-ed it?

SM.
Old 15th November 2009
  #37
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You don't know what you had until it's gone..

All that cranky old gear was bringing certain qualities to the table that was taken for granted at the time. And it was all kicked into the gutter almost overnight once digital came along. Yes, digital is clean pristine and quiet. Which is nice n all. But by & large it is devoid of character. Which is a bit.. yawn inspiring, to be blunt.. Evidently this didn't go unnoticed by many folk..
So im not surprised all that dusty old vintage kit has been dragged back out the cellars and still fetches good money on ebay etc..

Still, it's perfectly feasible to embrace and use both old and new technology simultaneously. Thus having the advantages of both, but with not so many of eithers drawbacks (Thats if we're just talking sound quality/character, and not factoring in cost and maintenance issues etc etc)

I notice out of your analogies of people not preferring old cell phones or old computers and old medical cures etc.. You didn't mention old cars Sure, they may be noisier perhaps, and not so reliable. But they got heaps more character, and they were built by proper engineers rather than the cost conscious company accountants of today. And it shows!
Hmm, not so unlike the current situation with studio gear now, is it?

Ethan, this isn't to disagree entirely with all you said however. You still raised many other good points, which I certainly do agree with thumbsup
Old 15th November 2009
  #38
Hmmm..... most people seem to be focusing on the "old vs. new gear" thing and totally ignoring the actual point of the article, which is in the last line. If your room is not acoustically sound and you're not a good engineer then it doesn't matter what gear you have. If it is and you are you can use either one and get results.

To me, analog sounds better. It just does, and the workflow is so vastly superior as to be night and day. Your mileage may vary, especially if you didn't grow up with analog consoles like I did.

You can get good, even great recordings digitally, especially using tools like the RADAR. You can get good results ITB, but it seems to take a lot more processing and futzing around to do it - and personally I don't like the results as much most of the time, although I must say that I don't hear as much difference in my own work as in the work of others - maybe I just don't like the style of a lot of guys these days, or maybe I just don't like what most labels have the ME do to the finished mix. Actually, there's no "maybe" to the latter in most cases......

To me, workflow is the worst place where standard digital recording (with a DAW, not a digital multitrack) falls flat on its face. The DAW interface encourages all manner of terrible habits, starting with mixing with the eyes, not the ears. That alone causes a multitude of problems, including pitch correction when it "looks wrong" even though it doesn't sound bad (and actually sounds BETTER uncorrected), grid based tempo that robs the feel and swing from the music, judging aspects of the mix by the waveform readout, not the sound, eqing by eye, etc, etc,etc. The DAW interface also tends to make you think about the mechanics of what you're doing, using the analytical side or the brain, not the creative, artistic side. Using a mouse or touchscreen is not as intuitive as using a knob (and you can only adjust one parameter at a time!) Using a keyboard is even worse.

So to me, regardless of the abstreact technical "superiority" of digital (which I do not admit to, btw), until the severe human interface problems of the DAW are solved (and by all indications it's gonna be a long, long time unless you can afford a quarter million dollars for a big Euphonix control surface) (no, I don't like the Digidesign units at all - not enough knobs) digital is in no way a superior tool for recording music, no matter what the specs say. Yeah, it works kinda OK, but it's a big PITA.
Old 15th November 2009
  #39
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Quote:
=Llitsor;4783937]You don't know what you had until it's gone..

Still, it's perfectly feasible to embrace and use both old and new technology simultaneously.
+ 1 .. Yes indeed and a really good example is some of the new gear based on proven analog tech. like my A- Designs MP2A
Quote:
I notice out of your analogies of people not preferring old cell phones or old computers and old medical cures etc.. You didn't mention old cars Sure, they may be noisier perhaps, and not so reliable. But they got heaps more character, and they were built by proper engineers rather than the cost conscious company accountants of today. And it shows!
Yes , but not in all cases. " character" maybe depending on the nostalgic point of view. However some of the new cars are so superior in engineering, that one can only fully appreciate through actual driving.( i. e. test drive a new Mini Cooper by BMW, un-freaking believable .. Much like some of the new audio gear. hey ?
Old 15th November 2009
  #40
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Does the world really need another analog/digital debate thread centered around Ethan Winer?
Old 15th November 2009
  #41
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I think the main point is we've never been in such a favorable moment in audio industry.
Ever !

We've hold lots of options and a huge arsenal of gear at our disposal .

This is great ! We don't have reasons to freak out , everything is fine out there .
Range from Behringer to Weiss .

Folks just wanna enjoy great music and have great moments enjoying music .
Old 15th November 2009
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camus View Post
Does the world really need another analog/digital debate thread centered around Ethan Winer?
Not at all . Actually we don't .

However , Ethan raises questions regarding this current audio industry that confuse people and make them freak out for things they really shouldn't .


As I've posted earlier , we're in good shape nowadays .
Old 15th November 2009
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyc View Post
Saying a digital eq has no noise or distortion is simply not true (objective)
If you have evidence or even an explanation for how a modern digital 32-bit EQ could add noise or distortion, I'd love to hear it.

You may be making the same logic mistake I see when people subjectively compare different equalizer models that in fact sound the same. The sound of a clean EQ is basically the sound of the source material. If you boost the highs on a track and it then sounds scratchy, that just means the scratchiness was already present in the track! The same happens when a hollow "phasy" sound is added after boosting highs. I've seen people say this EQ or that adds "bad phase shift" because they heard that sound after boosting. But the hollowness was in the track, just too soft too hear until the boost was applied.

Quote:
Regarding consumer sound cards and analog and fidelity, isn't how it sounds a criteria for fidelity?
No! Fidelity has a very clear definition:

From the 3rd paragraph of the above link:
"Fidelity also denotes how accurate a copy is to its source ... in electronics,
fidelity refers to the correspondence of the output signal to the input signal,
rather than sound."
Quote:
New technology isn't necessarily an improvement, the first transistors were terrible compared to tubes, the first cds sounded horrible compared to tape/vinyl.
LOL, there's two more myths that need busting. Terrible? Horrible? I remember the first time I heard a CD and was blown away at the sheer quality. Truly extended highs, no hiss or surface noise, no rumble, and you could play it an infinite number of times with no degradation.

--Ethan
Old 15th November 2009
  #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
i. e. test drive a new Mini Cooper by BMW, un-freaking believable .. Much like some of the new audio gear. hey ?
To a certain extent, perhaps this further proves my point. Its a good new car, granted. Yet its entire ethos is completely founded on a car 50 years its junior (Although its rather more expensive now..)
Again though, this isn't so unlike much of todays 'Retro' themed audio kit either!

But yes, we're agreed. Old & new can work together very well. So why not make the best of it thumbsup

-----

As for all this chat about distortion. I find it somewhat ironic.. We can hark on all day long about how much less distortion todays equipment is capable of, which is perfectly true. But because so much of the recording industry is currently "Compressed Obsessed" we're piling in tons of 'distortion' manually. It screws with dynamics in not such good ways all the time. It takes a dump on the finer qualities of our expensive reverbs, and throws the natural decay sound of instruments right out the window. Yet it is tolerated to distort music in this way because 'thick & loud' is in vogue. But hey, thats ok right, just so long as the noise floor is so low that you need a spade to find it..

Anyway, I feel im going off on a bit of a tangent, so i'll make a run for it while the going is good!

Regards..
Old 15th November 2009
  #45
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Disagree. But, you know...it takes all kinds. What's NOT in doubt is the economics of sound has changed greatly. Partly due to technology...partly due to Chinese manufacture...which have both fanned the flames of market demand.

See, I've got to like Ethan for always posing with his cat. Us pussy loving guys gots to stick together...but, to imply that somehow a cheap soundcard's preamp/converter and a Chinese LDC being mixed with Sonar and it's built in plug ins sounds anywhere near as good as a professional rig, new OR old, is just silly, IMO.

I do agree 100% that there is a whole host of people who incorrectly "blame the gear" for something missing in their recordings...but, that's a different argument than saying new cheap gear is better than new or old expensive gear. But, it's all more subtle and cumulative than the "problems" encountered in modern productions of the low/mid budget range.
Old 15th November 2009
  #46
Great article Ethan!

I really love your no non-sense approach to things.
Old 15th November 2009
  #47
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Some old gear is "better."

Some old music is better (and was made on gear that was new at the time).

Some new music is pretty good.

Much of the new music (some of which which was NOT better) was made with old gear.

Some of the new music that IS good was made with NEW gear.

I used to not be able to afford NEW gear.

Now, I can't afford to buy OLD gear.

...But ALL good music has ALWAYS been made on whatever gear was available to those who made the music.

Tag...you're IT!
Old 16th November 2009
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12ax7 View Post
Tag...you're IT!
Ditto. I love new gear. Just not all new gear. And I don't feel that precludes me from still loving old gear.

Some people are just extremists, which is usually silly.
Old 16th November 2009
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mobius.media View Post
Ditto. I love new gear. Just not all new gear. And I don't feel that precludes me from still loving old gear.

Some people are just extremists, which is usually silly.
Well, yeah. There ain't much more extreme than silliness, nor much more slly than extremism.

...But as Barry Goldwater once (almost) said: "Extremism in the defense of silliness is no vice, and silliness in the advancement of extremism is no virtue!"

QED.
Old 16th November 2009
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
If you have evidence or even an explanation for how a modern digital 32-bit EQ could add noise or distortion, I'd love to hear it.
Quantization noise for one. We can debate how this affects audio and it's significance, but it does exist. Digital filtering is not perfect, if it was there wouldn't be such a huge field of DSP devoted to it. (I actually like digital eq btw)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
No! Fidelity has a very clear definition:

From the 3rd paragraph of the above link:
"Fidelity also denotes how accurate a copy is to its source ... in electronics,
fidelity refers to the correspondence of the output signal to the input signal,
rather than sound."

I stand corrected. But by that definition I know of no rock/pop recording engineer who strives for fidelity. We should be trying to build perfectly accurate microphones and record in anechoic chambers. Dont ever use eq unless it is to correct for some deficiency/inaccuracy in the signal chain/room acoustics/etc. I will also gladly take everyones distressors, 1176s, la2as, because compression should never ever be used as they certainly destroy fidelity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
LOL, there's two more myths that need busting. Terrible? Horrible?
Thermal runaway, relability issues, power transmission as far as transitors go. This is clearly documented. The analog/digital thing is more of a subjective debate and we can agree to disagree.

Technology does move forward but not in a continual upward and improved direction. Often times it takes a step back and side ways before new advances/improvements can be made.
Old 16th November 2009
  #51
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David Robinson's Avatar
 

my take,
only a very few have the dollars to own an acoustically beneficial studio space.
if you own what you're living in, yes, you have the advantage.
bigger rooms = better sound.
ethan,
thank you.
David R.
Old 16th November 2009
  #52
Gear Head
 

Apologies to all, this turned into a big one. It's positive, and definitely not an analog v. digital barnburner. But stick with me, I'd be curious to see if anyone agrees.

I really love Ethan's article; it's pretty great. I don't agree with all of it, but recognize that I don't have his years of perspective and experience, either. I'm always learning, every time I use my mics, my ears, anything and everything.

There's are a few points from the SOS article I'd like to weigh in on though:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
A current consumer-grade soundcard beats the finest analogue recorder in every way one could possibly assess fidelity. I’ll argue that modern digital equaliser plug-ins are far better than any analogue hardware, no matter what the price. A digital EQ has no noise and no distortion, regardless of signal level. Parameters are repeatable, and can be set precisely, so left-right matching is assured. You can also save and recall presets.
That's an empirically, demonstrably true statement, save for the subjective 'better' in Ethan's EQ description; the point is understood.

But in so many modern multitrack recordings, the overabundance of accurate, transient-intact, unmasked detail is precisely the problem.

In a stereo recording situation it's not usually an issue: Detail is fantastic when you've got a point source and two microphones that do a very good version what our ears would do in the same situation, without any noise, harmonic artifacts or transient compromise.

But in a multitrack situation, that detail builds up in a fatiguing way. When every mic, preamp and recorder on the market specs well — that is to say, pretty flat and pretty accurate, keeping transients more or less intact — the recordings these devices together make take on an everything-all-the-time feeling. Another quote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
The best recordings of years past still hold up today — but they sound great despite the limitations of the gear used, not because of it.
That's also true. I would add that the records we all love, old and new alike, also sound good because they have a clear focal point, a hierarchy of sonic presentation. But the difference between the dark ages of tubes, tape and transformers and today is that the engineers of the day were fighting through literal layers of tape and the physics of needles and recordsfor that focal point — not against it, which is often the case now that all the old non-linearities are gone. Especially in a small physical space, like many of us record in, every last sound we commit defaults naturally to a state of general focus with digital recorders, and razor-sharp focus isn't too hard to achieve.

But it's totally counterintuitive to consciously, actively spend time and energy pushing selective things [I]out of focus.[I]

The very default state of any individual track on, say, Petty's Hard Promises (hopefully we can find this example generally pleasing and non-controversial) is not one of focus by the time it makes it to the AM radio in your Camaro in 1981. After any performance has left the floor of the studio en route to any channel on that 8028 (a stack of transformers), it goes to the multitrack deck (a layer of tape and more transformers), back through the console for the mix (more channel transformers + all the iron in the master section), to a mix deck (a second layer of tape and more transformers), then onto the LP sequence reel (a third layer of tape and more transformers), then off to Calbi for cutting (probably still more transformers and / or tubes before the physical process), plating (still mysterious to me), making the stamper (a third physical process), and finally, an actual record; which is then played on whatever turntable the station has, sent through a phalanx of beautiful blue Orban boxes and off to the transmitter.

A semi-gratuitous, and probably ballpark-accurate exploded diagram of the old world process, yes. But the point it's meant to illustrate: When all the technology of the day was working against you, the engineer, you had to fight for the important stuff. The weird, musically unimportant transients were sucked up in that process, at one stage or another, but the primary and vital transients would be too if you didn't fight like hell to keep them intact!

Ethan writes:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Many home recordists today, unhappy with the sound of their productions, wrongly blame their gear.
That's true too, and wrongly is the key word. But it seems to me that the blame and unhappiness come from making A/B comparisons to records made with completely different tools and processes. It's a classic apples-and-oranges scenario — both are great, and very different.

But back to my original point. Having modern equipment at every step of the multitrack process that specs near-perfectly poses a weird question of, for lack of a better term, negative focus that I doubt Shelly Yakus or Ethan Winer had to ask very often: What, sonically, should I actively knock out of focus? Not speaking musically (as in, the shaker is masking the vocal so let's turn it down), but in terms of sheer clarity, sharpness and unbroken transient detail across dozens of tracks; detail that, unless consciously controlled, makes its way to the end listener and confuses the music. If someone hasn't coined the phrase already, I'd like to call that conscious process 'detail management'.

There's an impression that vintage equipment helps with detail management, and sometimes it does; tubes, transformers and tape (the three Ts, anyone?) are powerful management tools in the digital world but they're largely misunderstood. I misunderstand them on an hourly basis, thinking I want tubes when VCAs would be perfect, and I'm not alone. But there are plenty of modern boxes — and more importantly, timeless techniques — for detail management too. 'A good-sounding room and the skills to get the most from it', as the article says, pretty much nails it.

Beyond mere sonics, there's a generational thing too that makes the SOS piece important:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
I’m old enough to remember vintage gear when it was brand new!
And — hoping it's okay to make some assumptions about you, Ethan — old enough to recognize that nostalgia and romance are a real bitch.

None of us kids (I mean, I'm 34, but whatever) have the blessing / curse of knowing how those places actually worked, or the years of brutal, technical sausage-making that resulted in the equipment and music we have today. Without that context, we're left with stacks of records which we love and feel deeply; stacks of smoky, mysterious, dark Tri-X studio photos; and the occasional piece of smoky, mysterious rack equipment that allows us the chance to connect, if even in a tiny and diluted way, with those photos and records.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
I don’t know anyone who prefers old cellphones, or old computers, or even old medical cures, for that matter.
Right, of course not. But a Pultec HLF-3C is as close as I'm likely to get to an EQP-1A, and while these two items are totally unrelated electronically, they are veritable twins in terms of construction, timeline and paint stock.

And there's value in that, too, even if it is a placebo of sorts, because romance is great. Beautiful things come from connections to what inspires us, even if imagined or tenuous or based on wobbly logic.

Ethan's piece straightens that logic up a little bit, but doesn't invalidate it. I like that. And I like the cat, too.

It's important to find context wherever we can for the endless world of recording — it's never so blocky as 'now' and 'then'; it's a fluid, dynamic craft, with feet planted firmly in both art and science. Asking questions (about what a device or technique is; what problem it was intended to address, or what purpose it was built to serve, and how it got that way) is usually a good path. . . The tools and their actual, intended jobs are more closely related than I often realize.

Epic!

- Chris

Last edited by walla; 16th November 2009 at 01:41 AM.. Reason: Word choices, for clarity.
Old 16th November 2009
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Robinson View Post
bigger rooms = better sound.
True ... But I think virtually any decent treated room may give you the opportunity to achieve spectacular results . I mean , professional results .

Lots of great records today are mixed in the comfort of engineers houses , who have their own gear and don't even pay a visit to the so called "big studios" .
Old 16th November 2009
  #54
There's a lot of amazing new gear around.
And incredibly affordable.

That's one reason not to go back to the past.
I remember a time when you had to save up for months to book an expensive studio just to do a demo.
Now you can make the actual record with better gear and for less money than that demo.

But analog vs digital isn't mutually exclusive.
There are good aspects to both.
In the end it should only be about what each individual thinks achieves the best sound.
The best drum sound I've ever had was using an EMI TGI console.
Even better if you can use vintage mics like U67's with it too.
And I mostly use older drums and cymbals.
Modern consoles sound cleaner than the TGI, modern drums are more perfect than vintage. But if I prefer to use the older stuff because it sounds better to me, who's to say I'm wrong?
Old 16th November 2009
  #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
who's to say I'm wrong?
You're wrong !


Sorry I couldn't resist to joke ! ;-)
Just kidding , actually I think your post was superb .

Cheers
Old 16th November 2009
  #56
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyc View Post
Quantization noise for one. We can debate how this affects audio and it's significance, but it does exist.
Right. In theory there's always some residual noise and distortion. But in a modern 32-bit DAW I can't imagine the noise added by an EQ is a factor even with 50 dB of boost.

Quote:
But by that definition I know of no rock/pop recording engineer who strives for fidelity. We should be trying to build perfectly accurate microphones and record in anechoic chambers.
These are two totally different issues. The "sound you get" from mic placement and choices and effects when recording and/or mixing is one thing. But once that sound is exactly as you like - which might include intentional distortion and added room tone etc - from that point forward the gear and distribution mediums should be transparent. As in, everything between your master mix and the consumer's ears.

Quote:
Thermal runaway, relability issues, power transmission as far as transitors go.
Agreed.

--Ethan
Old 16th November 2009
  #57
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by walla View Post
Apologies to all, this turned into a big one. It's positive, and definitely not an analog v. digital barnburner. But stick with me, I'd be curious to see if anyone agrees.
Thanks for a great post Chris.

--Ethan
Old 16th November 2009
  #58
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4'33" View Post
I just think a generation of engineers who have never sat in a control room and heard a real, great analog tape deck are passing off the medium's "mojo" as the kind of horrific characteristics generated by saturation and tape sims. To mistake those things as representative of tape is as silly as mistaking a starved-plate design as representative of "the sound of toobs".

There is nothing remotely related to "tape saturation" or "tape compression" on the Mercury Living Presence stuff, nor the Blue Note stuff, nor any of the jazz recordings done at Columbia's 30th street studios in the late 50s to mid 60s. But they are in no way "cold", "sterile", or in any need of additional "juicing" that is so hankered for after nowadays. And they are among the best hi-fidelity recordings we have in our history.



Yeah I agree but that's not really the point Ethan was making in his article...
On the last point, I was actually responding to something someone wrote in this thread.

With regard tot he Mercury Living Presence stuff, I think I'd have to respectfully take possible exception, based on my experiences in the early 60s with a few of their records. Their records often sounded sounded hot and hyped to me. Lots of reverb, and pushed 8k. (Of course, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to gin up some excitement. One of their big names popular around my house was Mantovani. heh ) I liked at least some of it but a lot of it was bright and more than a little squashed. I remember one sampler record I had from them that really jumped off the 'table. I remember feeling guilty about liking it. heh

But totally agreed on your overall point that good analog gear can produce great results. I was hanging out with my audiophile buddy (every recordist should have at least one heh ) yesterday and we popped on a few sides of Coltrane from '61, a really expensive Japanese pressing. (Africa/Brass) It sounded great. No surprise, mind you.

[We also gave a first listen to the super high quality pressing of a Decembrists' album he already owned on CD. It sounded okay to me (not really familiar with the band) but he felt it sounded inferior to the CD and he said, ruefully, it's not the first expensive LP he's got that didn't sound as good as the CD. And when a guy has a turntable that cost $10K new, sans cartridge, it's a consideration. (He bought his used but, let's just say, they hold their value pretty okay, looks like.)]

Much (but not all by a long shot) of my listening spans the era from the late 20s through the 60s, and when I was a kid, I considered myself a would-be audiophile. Everyone else was going gaga over the Brit invasion and I was listening to bossa nova, jazz, folk and classical. (Talk about the loneliest geek in junior high.)

So it's no surprise at all for me to hear great recordings from the 50s and 60s; I grew up with them. I spent my lawn mowing money on them. I obsessed over more than a few of them.
Old 17th November 2009
  #59
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Instead of jumping for joy at the amazing possibilities we have before us, everybody is going in the opposite direction, saying everything was better in the old days. Well I REMEMBER the old days, with my Tascam 4 track and dynamic mic, using a Boss Delay pedal as a reverb send, and sure it was fun, but the audio quality sucked.
The analog gear that is so highly desired today is not your old Tascam 4-track, or your old dynamic mic, or a Boss delay pedal. It is the higher-end equipment that was used primarily in professional studios that was designed to sound good, not around a price.

Another thing to keep in mind is that not all "old" gear is so highly desired.

Quote:
Exceptions prove the rule. The Massenberg Eq Plug in sounds better to me than the Analogue.
That's not really surprising, as Massenburg's analog EQ is generally considered to be among the cleanest, most transparent on the market...something that digital processors excel at.
Old 17th November 2009
  #60
Gear Guru
Old is the new young

Here's a comprehensive and IMHO plausible research paper. It examines the hypothesis that tubes sound better than solid state, and comes up with some very significant areas of superiority.
tvst1

Enjoy, DD
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