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Ethan Winer article in Sound on Sound Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 1st December 2009
  #31
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Originally Posted by mobius.media View Post
What is the "magic" you believe to be required?
The magic is in your list below:

Quote:
unique saturation, compression, and phase effects (all frequency, volume, and dynamics dependent), as well as a complete lack of the unique forms of distortion, jitter, temporal, filtering, and phase artifacts that characterize digital.
Phase shift is benign and inaudible, so that's out. Saturation is the same as distortion, so there goes another one. Jitter is never audible, no matter what you read in Mix or on the Internet, so that's another point lost. Filtering is a simple frequency response change, so that's just EQ as I already listed above. Phase artifacts are the same as "phase effects," and again are inaudible.

So now we're down to 1) not very complex frequency response changes - NAB record/play mistracking, head bump, and maybe one other 1- or 2-pole curve - and 2) simple diode-like distortion that increases gently (add a resistor to the diodes) as you approach hard clipping.

Folks, this is not rocket science! What I don't understand is why some people reject the explanation, preferring to believe in magic or at least extreme complexity. This stuff is not complex. It's very basic. What is complex is the human factor: expectation, short term hearing memory, preferring the sound of real tape to a tape-sim but only when you know which is which, and so forth.

--Ethan
Old 1st December 2009
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
No, I am using science and logic to explain science. Audio is a science you know! Versus recording and mixing that are art.

I never talk about the artistic aspect of this stuff because that's entirely subjective. But when people say "plug-ins cannot do the same thing as tape" that is entirely objective and easy to prove or disprove. What tape does is easily quantified, and not complicated. It can be easily simulated with a plug-in, or a pair of diodes as shown in the article I linked above.
Which plugin? You keep talking about it but strangely haven't posted a link. I'd still love to hear it.

Also, who have you double blind tested with this 'two-diode' solution? Who have you double blind tested with the plugin you are referring to?

Where can I read the published experiments?
Old 1st December 2009
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Phase shift is benign and inaudible, so that's out. Saturation is the same as distortion, so there goes another one. Jitter is never audible, no matter what you read in Mix or on the Internet, so that's another point lost. Filtering is a simple frequency response change, so that's just EQ as I already listed above.
Again you are attempting to pass off your personal conjecture as objectively known and undisputed fact. I am sure you believe you know all this to be true, but your belief alone does not make it so.

Which phase shift is benign or inaudible? Under which mix and listening conditions is it benign? Do you have proof it is?

Saturation is distortion heard as musical content. Yes, there is a distinction.

Where is your proof all jitter is inaudible? A clock like the Big Ben adds audible color. Subtle, but significant and certainly audible. For the record, I don't like it, but it is there, and you can hear (and measure) it.

As for EQ, every significantly different EQ design will add different natures of phase and frequency artifacts, so I am not sure what you're getting at there.
Old 1st December 2009
  #34
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One of the things to be wary of when people say something is inaudible is whether they are testing it in isolation or not.

E.g. Dave Moulton who was the Ethan Winer of the early 90's claimed panning was nearly inaudible, you could only hear roughly the "cardinal points". This lead people to believe there was a scientific justification for LCR mixing technique.

But it was all totally wrong. You can hear panning differences of less than 5%, maybe even 1%, if you have two signals at the different pan points to compare. Moulton was testing signals in isolation.

Similarly phase shifts are VERY audible when you have two coherent signals to compare, not when you listen in isolation.
Old 1st December 2009
  #35
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Mobius, you are wrong on all of those counts, and Yes, of course it's easy to prove. But first, let me ask you a question:

How do you know what amounts of phase shift and jitter are audible? The only way I can imagine testing those is to have a box that lets you adjust each continuously. So you turn the knob until you can just hear a change. I've done that with phase shift many times using hardware I built, and also software. This freeware VST plug-in lets anyone test it for themselves:

Sanford Phaser

Yes, you can hear phase shift while the amount of shift is changing, which sounds like the pitch is changing. But you cannot hear static phase shift in usual amounts. Or even ten times a usual amount. Try it with the above plug-in and then you'll understand.

When it comes to jitter, I don't think it's even possible to build such a device. I've seen several scholarly articles that proved jitter is not audible until you have something like 30 times more jitter than what you get from the cheapest consumer digital device. But the only way they could test it reliably was to simulate the jitter in software.

Have you done either of those tests yourself? If you haven't, how can you possibly know or claim to know?

Quote:
Saturation is distortion heard as musical content. Yes, there is a distinction.
Say what? Please describe the difference being as technically specific as possible.

Quote:
As for EQ, every significantly different EQ design will add different natures of phase and frequency artifacts, so I am not sure what you're getting at there.
Most digital EQs are exactly the same:

signaltonoize.com » Digital EQ Fact & Myth.

But that's not what we were talking about. I said that the frequency response changes you get from a tape recorder can easily be duplicated with an EQ. Hence, no "magic," and no need for an actual analog recorder to get that sound. If you can prove otherwise, I'd love to see it.

--Ethan
Old 1st December 2009
  #36
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Originally Posted by spicemix View Post
Dave Moulton who was the Ethan Winer of the early 90's claimed panning was nearly inaudible
Whoa there big fella! I am not Dave Moulton!

Quote:
You can hear panning differences of less than 5%, maybe even 1%, if you have two signals at the different pan points to compare. Moulton was testing signals in isolation.
I don't know about 1 percent, but even with my 61-year-old ears I can hear very small changes in panning. Many people cannot, but that's usually because they are not listening in a reflection-free environment. This is the key to being able to hear small changes in panning, and level, and EQ. It may be interesting to note that Dave Moulton does not believe in reflection-free zones, which likely explains his "position." (No pun intended. heh)

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Similarly phase shifts are VERY audible when you have two coherent signals to compare, not when you listen in isolation.
Yes, if you apply phase shift to only one channel of two, of course that changes the sound. But no gear changes the phase of only one stereo channel unless it's aiming for an intentional spatial or "widening" effect. And if you combine an original and shifted version of the same sound, even in mono, you get the classic phaser effect. But the phaser effect is a gross change in frequency response, not the sound of phase shift alone.

--Ethan
Old 1st December 2009
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Mobius, you are wrong on all of those counts, and Yes, of course it's easy to prove.
Jitter is clearly audible in many conditions when attaching an external clock. For example, Steven Slate posted a simple loopback here:

Index of /norman

One ADA8000 clip is with a Big Ben. The other is not.

I have tried comparing them by listening and via time-aligned audio diff. In both cases the difference is clear and significant, and matches my own listening experiences. If I have made some error in comparison, please let me know.

I would also be interested in whatever proof you believe you have that your diodes or plugins cannot be distinguished from a true tape response. You cannot claim to be an adherent of science then simply claim you are right 'because you say so'. That is a gross perversion of the word 'science'.

I know you must have performed extensive, intensive double blind experiments with large listener populations on all manner of audio equipment to develop the certainty you have.

I'd be very eager to read your results.
Old 1st December 2009
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Yes, if you apply phase shift to only one channel of two, of course that changes the sound. But no gear changes the phase of only one stereo channel unless it's aiming for an intentional spatial or "widening" effect. And if you combine an original and shifted version of the same sound, even in mono, you get the classic phaser effect. But the phaser effect is a gross change in frequency response, not the sound of phase shift alone.
And when you record any given instrument with more than one mic, the phase of one relative to another is very important to how it sounds.

In my understanding, phasing is also only potentially 'inaudible' if it is incredibly minute, or a perfectly implemented full-bandwidth shift (ie. delay). That is not what we are talking about.

EQ phasing is frequency specific.
Old 1st December 2009
  #39
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Originally Posted by mobius.media View Post
Jitter is clearly audible in many conditions when attaching an external clock. For example, Steven Slate posted a simple loopback here:
The files sound the same to me, but they null only to about -30. Where is the setup and explanation text that goes with the files? How exactly did they record these clips? The residual has more ambience than either separate track. So that's my guess for what's keeping them from nulling. Maybe one file has 2 percent more reverb or whatever. Regardless, I'm certain there is more to the difference than jitter or just changing the master clock. Unless one clock was outright broken.

Again, have you ever actually adjusted jitter continuously in a way that lets you conclude at what level it's audible? Or are you just going by this single pair of files prepared by someone else? Likewise for phase shift. Have you ever actually tested it?

--Ethan
Old 1st December 2009
  #40
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Originally Posted by mobius.media View Post
And when you record any given instrument with more than one mic, the phase of one relative to another is very important to how it sounds.
Yes, but the difference is frequency response! That's why I mentioned combining two versions of the same signal to create the phaser effect. What you are hearing is not phase shift, but the change in response.

Quote:
In my understanding, phasing is also only potentially 'inaudible' if it is incredibly minute
Not so. When I demo'd this at my AES workshop I set the Sanford Phase to 14 stages, which is way more than you'd ever get from a microphone pre or analog recorder. BTW, I should have included these setup instructions for the Sanford Phaser:

Set Feedback and Modulation to 0, Left and Right Frequency the same and near the middle, and Wet/Dry to full Wet (slider all the way to the right). Then disable Sync and Quad, set Mod Source to None, and select 4 or 6 stages which gives far more phase shift than you'd get from any gear in a normal situation. Now play a track without the plug-in, stop playback, and play it again with the plug-in engaged.

--Ethan
Old 1st December 2009
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Again, have you ever actually adjusted jitter continuously in a way that lets you conclude at what level it's audible? Or are you just going by this single pair of files prepared by someone else? Likewise for phase shift. Have you ever actually tested it?

--Ethan
Adjusting jitter continuously using one piece of gear will only tell you how the jitter introduced by that unit sounds at varying levels. It has no real-world application, because you will never buy a clock of identical design with different jitter manifested in the same frequency patterns. There is no such thing.

Similarly, it is not the quantity of phase shift that is of consideration, it is the relative frequencies and the differing slopes it affects with.

Ethan, since you are so eager to demonstrate this to all others, you could easily replicate such an experiment yourself. All major music stores will sell you a Big Ben and an ADA8000. You can test to your heart's content and return for refund within the 30 day window. Think of all the money you could save others from the Snake Oil salesmen and Gear Pimp charlatans.

I have used a number of clocks and converters in different setups and my experience has mirrored this precisely. Not all clocks are audible. Not all converter differences are audible. But things are not as simple as you like to imagine.

Still waiting for your reports on the irrefutable perfection of your two-diode solution and 'the plugin which shall not be named'.
Old 1st December 2009
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Yes, but the difference is frequency response! That's why I mentioned combining two versions of the same signal to create the phaser effect. What you are hearing is not phase shift, but the change in response.
Phasing shift leads to a change in response which is audible. Yes. And your point is? Semantics?


Quote:
Not so. When I demo'd this at my AES workshop I set the Sanford Phase to 14 stages, which is way more than you'd ever get from a microphone pre or analog recorder. BTW, I should have included these setup instructions for the Sanford Phaser:

Set Feedback and Modulation to 0, Left and Right Frequency the same and near the middle, and Wet/Dry to full Wet (slider all the way to the right). Then disable Sync and Quad, set Mod Source to None, and select 4 or 6 stages which gives far more phase shift than you'd get from any gear in a normal situation. Now play a track without the plug-in, stop playback, and play it again with the plug-in engaged.

--Ethan
Are you talking about simply applying a whole-spectrum phase rotation (delay) to a solitary signal? Of course that's not audible. That again has nothing to do with making music.
Old 1st December 2009
  #43
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Originally Posted by mobius.media View Post
Adjusting jitter continuously using one piece of gear will only tell you how the jitter introduced by that unit sounds at varying levels.
No! It will tell you at what level jitter is audible. Of course, there are different types of jitter. But lets be practical here. Jitter manifests as artifacts some number of dB below the music. In practice jitter is well below the noise floor of a 16-bit CD. How could that possibly be audible, regardless of the jitter spectrum?

Quote:
All major music stores will sell you a Big Ben and an ADA8000. You can test to your heart's content and return for refund within the 30 day window.
I have no interest in doing that because I already know the answer. Plus, wasn't it Dan Lavry who explained why external clocks generally make jitter worse, not better? Either way, if jitter is ever audible, something is broken. Or the comparison wasn't done properly.

Quote:
Still waiting for your reports on the irrefutable perfection of your two-diode solution and 'the plugin which shall not be named'.
LOL, I've had great results with the tape-sim that comes free with SONAR Producer. It sounds like tape distortion to me, though of course I never use the hiss feature.

--Ethan
Old 1st December 2009
  #44
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Originally Posted by mobius.media View Post
Are you talking about simply applying a whole-spectrum phase rotation (delay) to a solitary signal? Of course that's not audible.
Yes, and that's my entire point. Phase shift is inaudible. So when someone says tape recorders add phase shift, which they do, that's irrelevant. It's not phase shift that contributes to the "tape" sound, it's the change in frequency response. Which can be emulated with an EQ. Which again was my point.

--Ethan
Old 1st December 2009
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
I have no interest in doing that because I already know the answer. Plus, wasn't it Dan Lavry who explained why external clocks generally make jitter worse, not better? Either way, if jitter is ever audible, something is broken. Or the comparison wasn't done properly.
How do you know if you've never tested? Divine inspiration? From Dan Lavry's ear into your's?

Quote:
LOL, I've had great results with the tape-sim that comes free with SONAR Producer. It sounds like tape distortion to me, though of course I never use the hiss feature.
And of course you've performed extensive audio diff analysis and AB analysis? I'd like to see the reports.
Old 1st December 2009
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Yes, and that's my entire point. Phase shift is inaudible. So when someone says tape recorders add phase shift, which they do, that's irrelevant. It's not phase shift that contributes to the "tape" sound, it's the change in frequency response. Which can be emulated with an EQ. Which again was my point.


Frequency dependent phase shift is still phase shift.

If you've emulated tape with an EQ, please post ABX/diff results.
Old 1st December 2009
  #47
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This is becoming pointless, though I give you (and the others) credit for not getting po'd.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobius.media View Post
How do you know if you've never tested?
Yet again, jitter manifests as artifacts some number of dB below the music. It's always way too soft for anyone to hear unless something is broken. Plus, I've read journal articles by serious researchers who concluded it's never audible. If you email me from my Home Page I can send you some PDFs describing the tests.

Quote:
Frequency dependent phase shift is still phase shift. If you've emulated tape with an EQ, please post ABX/diff results.
I don't get your point. Phase shift is inaudible. We already agreed on that. Frequency changes are not inaudible unless they're tiny.

At this point I have to put it on you: Please describe in detail what sort of phase shift and/or response changes occur in a tape recorder giving that "analog" sound that cannot be easily emulated with a basic EQ.

Edit: I can't help adding this: The "jitter" (flutter really) in even the finest analog tape recorder is literally a thousand times worse than the cheapest sound card built onto a computer motherboard. Yet we know that with a good recorder the flutter is small enough not to be a problem. So why do people think 1/1000th that much jitter is a problem with digital?

--Ethan
Old 1st December 2009
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Yet again, jitter manifests as artifacts some number of dB below the music. It's always way too soft for anyone to hear unless something is broken. Plus, I've read journal articles by serious researchers who concluded it's never audible. If you email me from my Home Page I can send you some PDFs describing the tests.
Why not just post them here?

Quote:
I don't get your point. Phase shift is inaudible. We already agreed on that. Frequency changes are not inaudible unless they're tiny.

At this point I have to put it on you: Please describe in detail what sort of phase shift and/or response changes occur in a tape recorder giving that "analog" sound that cannot be easily emulated with a basic EQ.
Why is it necessary for me to quantify it? You are the one who has made the claim you can perfectly emulate a tape deck with nothing more than an EQ and two diodes. That is an incredibly bold and outlandish claim yet you have offered nothing to back it up. The burden of proof is on you. Don't try to pass the buck. If you can so simply prove it, do so, or stop claiming you can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
This is becoming pointless
Of course, it is only pointless when people ask you for proof of your unsubstantiated assertions.
Old 1st December 2009
  #49
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I am generally on Ethan's side of these arguments, and I appreciate that while he might overstate some cases it's good to be provocative and maybe we can find the truth between the extremes.
Old 2nd December 2009
  #50
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Originally Posted by mobius.media View Post
Why not just post them here?
The main PDF is an AES Journal article that is for-pay on their site. (That's the one that details a series of blind listening tests that concluded to be audible, jitter must be far worse then what you typically get.) So it's not fair for me to post it here. It's not fair for me to email it to you either! But it's less not fair. heh

Here's the summary:
Audio professionals and semi-professionals participated in the experiments. They
were allowed to use their own listening environments and their favorite sound materials.
The results indicate that the threshold for random jitter on program materials is several
hundreds ns for well-trained listeners under their preferable listening conditions. The
threshold values seem to be sufficiently larger than the jitter actually observed in various
consumer products.
Quote:
The burden of proof is on you.
I have done my best to explain the mechanics of what tape does, and by extension why it is not difficult to emulate with hardware and software. I have also explained why jitter is not audible, because its artifacts are too soft to hear. If that's not good enough for you, I don't know what else I can offer. You keep saying there's more to analog tape "color" than distortion and frequency response, but with no further believable explanation. So from my perspective the burden of proof is on you.

For example, you argued phase shift, which I explained is irrelevant and you eventually agreed. You argued a few other things which I shot down successfully. So now what? Do you have a better explanation or don't you?

The problem with expecting me to prove that tape color can be emulated is who will be the judge? I suppose I could ask you to email me a music track, which I'd then run through a real tape recorder and a tape-sim, and challenge you to identify which is which. That's a huge amount of effort - I don't even know anyone with a high quality tape recorder! - and you have a 50-50 chance of being right or wrong. So then it gets even more complicated, having to do a "real" test with 10 or more people multiple times to get a statistically valid sample. Who has time for that?

If you could give a reasonable explanation for why tape is "too complex" to emulate we'd have the basis for further discussion. But you haven't even done that.

--Ethan
Old 3rd December 2009
  #51
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Originally Posted by fonman View Post
I don't think you could get the same effect with just eq. My understanding is that low order harmonic distortion creates the illusion of a louder fundamental, even though the fundamental is not being boosted. I thought that was the premise for technologies like Ren-Bass. Maybe I'm wrong.
Ethan, I'm a little disappointed that you didn't respond to this. I am interested to hear if you support or refute my statement(s).
Old 3rd December 2009
  #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post

If you could give a reasonable explanation for why tape is "too complex" to emulate we'd have the basis for further discussion. But you haven't even done that.

--Ethan
Wow and flutter?

Jitter is a flittering whisper at the edge of our consciousness IMHO. Probably if you crank the "silence" up very high, you can hear funny stuff going on. And if I did get to hear it, I think I probably wouldn't like it very much.

Wow and flutter on the other hand ... wow ... can be very (un)subtle, yet also deeply random. Anyone who's ever synced up Cubase on an Atari to a cassette deck and watched the bpm counter bounce about all over the shop can tell you that.

I guess computers can "emulate" the broad brush of THD, but I don't think they've really got a handle on the unpredictable time-variables of recording/playback etc of a recording made on a good honest piece of so-called old-fashioned machinery.
Old 3rd December 2009
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Audio professionals and semi-professionals participated in the experiments. They were allowed to use their own listening environments and their favorite sound materials. The results indicate that the threshold for random jitter on program materials is several hundreds ns for well-trained listeners under their preferable listening conditions. The threshold values seem to be sufficiently larger than the jitter actually observed in various consumer products.
I would like to know if they actually tested different word clocks with different sound cards. eg. ADA8000 with or without Big Ben, as posted in this thread. It would seem they did not.

Quote:
I have done my best to explain the mechanics of what tape does, and by extension why it is not difficult to emulate with hardware and software. I have also explained why jitter is not audible, because its artifacts are too soft to hear. If that's not good enough for you, I don't know what else I can offer. You keep saying there's more to analog tape "color" than distortion and frequency response, but with no further believable explanation.

For example, you argued phase shift, which I explained is irrelevant and you eventually agreed. You argued a few other things which I shot down successfully. So now what? Do you have a better explanation or don't you?
Maybe in your mind, but as per this thread, what goes on in your mind alone does not dictate objective reality.

You have claimed:

1) Frequency-dependent phase shift is just another type of EQ.
2) Harmonic saturation is a type of distortion.

Both can be agreed with if you wish. However, both points are semantics and if you prefer, we can call these ideas anything you like. The name you refer to any of these is irrelevant. But the fewer words we have, the less specific and descriptive we can be. If you would like the English dictionary reduced to suit your tastes, that is another subject.

I have stated that phase shift is only inaudible in an isolated signal where the shift is equally applied to all frequencies of its spectrum. That is not how phase shift generally takes place in gear or mixing. In most cases, it is frequency selective or accompanying other signals and thus quite audible and significant.

I suppose you would call the Radial Phazer and Little Labs IBP "EQ" as well? Few other "engineers" likely would. Phase rotating selectively or at a selective rate or specific point across the spectrum will absolutely be audible, even in isolation, and I don't know any that would refer to that as "just another EQ" process. Please do call these companies and tell them they're selling magic. Or that they have mislabeled their devices since "phase" is never audible and they are selling "EQ" (or apparently, to you, fairy dust).


Quote:
The problem with expecting me to prove that tape color can be emulated is who will be the judge? I suppose I could ask you to email me a music track, which I'd then run through a real tape recorder and a tape-sim, and challenge you to identify which is which. That's a huge amount of effort - I don't even know anyone with a high quality tape recorder! - and you have a 50-50 chance of being right or wrong. So then it gets even more complicated, having to do a "real" test with 10 or more people multiple times to get a statistically valid sample. Who has time for that?
And yet you routinely request these same tests of everyone else on this board? Why are your grandiose claims exempt from proper scientific inquiry? Why can you personally determine what is and is not "fact" without thorough investigation, while others cannot?

Quote:
If you could give a reasonable explanation for why tape is "too complex" to emulate we'd have the basis for further discussion. But you haven't even done that.
I am not a DSP programmer so cannot describe the precise challenges they face in programming. With enough study and computer programming, theoretically anything can be emulated. However, it is my belief from actually trying the various emulators out, they have fallen drastically short of the sound I desire, and in most cases, I am better off not using them at all.

From what I know of most VST plugin programming, the algorithms are usually extremely simple and provide only one possible result. This differs completely from analog, where two passes using the same gear and settings can produce slightly, but measurably different results depending on a multitude of factors. No two kick drum hits generated by an 808 are exactly the same. Yet every hit generated by an 808 softsynth can be nulled against another with the same preset. Similarly, it has been my experience that there is little or no effort yet put into emulating the full depth of random behavior exhibited by other analog media like tape, most likely because it would be too CPU intensive.

I can also point out the obvious that analog-sim plugins continue to get more and more complex, using more and more CPU power by the day. With these improvements, most UAD, Waves, and Nebula type buyers have claimed to have heard a consistent increase in sonic realism. If the simplest plugin emulations were already perfect, that would be impossible. Or do you claim to know that as a matter of fact that these plugin users are somehow "wrong" as well?

You are welcome to differ. I understand you enjoy your Cakewalk Tape plugin and 'two-diode solution', believing both perfectly emulate tape. But please don't state or imply that your opinion is a matter of scientific fact without actual proof to back it up.
Old 3rd December 2009
  #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fonman View Post
Ethan, I'm a little disappointed that you didn't respond to this. I am interested to hear if you support or refute my statement(s).
He would almost certainly claim that is "just another distortion" that his two diodes or Cakewalk plugin would clearly, perfectly reproduce.

Of course.
Old 3rd December 2009
  #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fonman View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by fonman View Post
I don't think you could get the same effect with just eq. My understanding is that low order harmonic distortion creates the illusion of a louder fundamental, even though the fundamental is not being boosted. I thought that was the premise for technologies like Ren-Bass. Maybe I'm wrong.
Ethan, I'm a little disappointed that you didn't respond to this. I am interested to hear if you support or refute my statement(s).
There wasn't really anything to address. Analog tape recorders add distortion and also alter the frequency response. Both are simple algorithms. However, plug-ins like Waves MaxxBass, which I have tried, and Ren-Bass, which I have not tried, are more complicated than either real analog tape or tape-sims. I haven't researched that type of algorithm, but I assume they use a combination of filtering and distortion or frequency multiplying. Frequency multiplying can be done with analog electronics using four diodes in a bridge configuration. DSP can do the same and more.

So bass enhancers aren't really doing what tape or tape-sims do. That's why I didn't address that post.

--Ethan
Old 3rd December 2009
  #56
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Originally Posted by badmark View Post
Jitter is a flittering whisper at the edge of our consciousness IMHO.
Even "at the edge" is overstating things because jitter is way softer than anyone could hear. Suppose you play a tune on a 16-bit CD very loudly, let's say 105 dB. The inherent noise floor of a CD is 96 dB below that, so that puts the noise at 9 dB SPL. If you think you can hear stuff that soft, I urge you to measure your room with an SPL meter! heh Jitter is even softer than that, not to mention that the music itself is masking the noise and jitter further.

Quote:
Wow and flutter on the other hand ... wow ... can be very (un)subtle, yet also deeply random. Anyone who's ever synced up Cubase on an Atari to a cassette deck and watched the bpm counter bounce about all over the shop can tell you that.
That's a good test. I'm not sure that sort of random frequency instability is either wow or flutter though. To me, wow is a slow but cyclical variation that we associate with vinyl records. And flutter is also cyclical, found in analog tape recorders.

Quote:
I guess computers can "emulate" the broad brush of THD, but I don't think they've really got a handle on the unpredictable time-variables of recording/playback etc
But why would you want random pitch changes? How is that ever a good thing?

Another aspect of analog tape I've mentioned before, but not yet in this thread, are the micro-dropouts that occur constantly. Maybe more modern recorders are better than the old 2-inch MCI I had in 1978. But I remember aligning the deck and setting the bias using a 10 KHz tone, while watching the output on an oscilloscope. There were constant dropouts so severe I wondered why it wasn't as audible as it looked! I think those constant dropouts, which are different on each channel, might be the reason some people think analog tape sounds wider than digital recording. This is one "feature" missing from tape-sims, though again I'm not sure why anyone would want that effect.

--Ethan
Old 3rd December 2009
  #57
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

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Originally Posted by mobius.media View Post
I would like to know if they actually tested different word clocks with different sound cards. eg. ADA8000 with or without Big Ben, as posted in this thread. It would seem they did not.
No, they simulated jitter by generating the same type of artifacts using software. This is vastly more useful (and more reliable) than randomly trying different converters with and without an external clock. By simulating the artifacts they were able to increase the level gradually, and repeatably, to determine the threshold at which jitter is audible. Their conclusion I posted above is therefore infinitely more believable than 100 non-blind anecdotal reports posted in a gear forum.

Quote:
You have claimed:

1) Frequency-dependent phase shift is just another type of EQ.
2) Harmonic saturation is a type of distortion.
Phase shift is not EQ, though most EQ uses phase shift internally to create boost and cut. I never said phase shift and EQ are the same! I don't know what "harmonic saturation" is supposed to be, but I never used that term either. Tape saturation occurs when the particles cannot accept any more magnetization. This is exactly analogous to sending more signal to a preamp - or pair of diodes - than it can handle without clipping.

Quote:
I have stated that phase shift is only inaudible in an isolated signal where the shift is equally applied to all frequencies of its spectrum. That is not how phase shift generally takes place in gear or mixing. In most cases, it is frequency selective or accompanying other signals and thus quite audible and significant.
Again you are tossing around terms that I suspect you don't understand. I know exactly what sort of phase shift typically occurs in circuits, and I know what causes it. Phase shift in a circuit is never the same delay for all frequencies, unless that circuit is part of a delay line. heh

Quote:
I suppose you would call the Radial Phazer and Little Labs IBP "EQ" as well?
Of course not. This is why I linked to the Sanford Phaser plug-in, because that box does the same thing as the IBP, but with much more flexibility and a much larger range of shift amounts.

Quote:
Please do call these companies and tell them they're selling magic.
A phase rotator like the IBP is a legitimate tool! But it's not meant as a sound effect, where a single music source is sent through it. It's meant to reduce frequency cancellations when two versions of the same signal are combined. Like a mic'd bass amp plus a DI feed. You do understand this, right?

--Ethan
Old 3rd December 2009
  #58
Lives for gear
 

I think the important thing with clock is how a converter's PLL reacts to it. Some converters have "clockwashers" (I think a derogatory term invented by greedy dealers eyeing large spiffs on costly clocks) which make the sync source irrelevant. Others don't or let you turn it off, which IMO could produce totally random results. I think the clock from an old SPDIF reverb may produce a more desirable change in tone (if any change is in fact audible) vs. the fancypants woodgrain Grimm clock. The Antelope Rubidium atomic clock is the most over-the-top of these, and apparently it has more jitter rather than less...leading me to think the sound people like is actually a converter PLL freaking out.

I have proposed jitter knobs on external clocks allowing people to turn this effect up if they wish. A huge turnaround from the days clocks were sold as better (rather than worse) timekeepers.

But I am entirely open to proof that no clock source has any audible effect on any modern converter. I would really enjoy being pointed to such. The Digi whitepaper is the only thing that includes a reproducible chart that I am aware of.
Old 3rd December 2009
  #59
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Hey, this is another one of those classic threads, isn't it? How could I miss it.......let me go get the popcorn for the second half heh
Old 3rd December 2009
  #60
Gear Guru
 
Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by spicemix View Post
I am entirely open to proof that no clock source has any audible effect on any modern converter.
That's the attitude!

Here's my contribution to helping folks understand at what level artifacts matter:

Artifact Audibility Report

--Ethan
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