Re: [dallasaudioclub] Re: need turntabe
I don't want to argue but as engineer with a Master's degree and over 2 and half decades in audio systems design I am a little confused by your points and would begin with their is little in what you wrote that I could agree with. Your argument's below are a bit inaccurate. No doubt that analog tape can provide a good medium and sufficient bandwidth for most music recording but to try to imply that it has better dynamic range or signal to noise ratio than digital systems is simply a wasted exercise. The non-linearities in the recording/playback system put it out of contention before you start. As far as clipping in the digital domain that would only occur if you did not know what you were doing. These myths mostly seem to be perpetuated by people who either don't understand digital recording or analog systems or both. A lot of them are created by those selling $300 tone arms.
I would love to see a reference to a document discussing "listening -30db into the noise". Not that I don't believe it was done but when in the digital domain 100db snr is achievable it becomes of no consequence. Why would you want to listen to electronic noise or radio static in the first place. If a system has a decent signal to noise of 80db which is pretty mediocre by most standards, are you implying that we can hear signals at -80 to -110db? Even old vacuum tube devices had SNR's of 60db this statement implies you are hearing things that are -90db? It is typically accepted that -20db to -25db is inaudible. If it weren't tube amps would be very objectionable since they easily generate distortion artifacts approaching that level. Or are you inferring that the analog recordings you are listening to have noise so high that is eating up 30db of your dynamic range? I don't get your point at all you talk about recording levels then switch to signal to noise ratio.
"The reason is that digital recording uses as it's "0" level 12 10 16 dBFS (decibels below full scale). When analog clips hardly anyone notices so it uses at most 1 - 2 dBFS for it's "0" point. So there goes 10 -14 dB of digitals supposed signal to noise ratio"What the heck does this have to do with signal to noise ratio? You might have had an argument if you said dynamic range but even that is not true. Actually the opposite is true hence this is why digital has significantly better signal to noise performance and better dynamic range. You do understand that at 24bit depth rate affords 16,777,217 levels? This is why even with 1" tape you could never achieve the dynamic range of digital. And when you factor the much higher distortion and non linearity of even the best of tape machines you can't get close to the accuracy.
You do realize the typical professional quality 1" tape machine has less than 55db signal to noise and varied across the audio bandwidth by as much as 2 to 3db plus or minus. Distortion was usually well over the 1% range and this was professional grade systems. I am not saying they can not be good but they are not even in the realm of what can be do with digital systems. Unfortunately we rarely see the abilities of digital due to the recording practices of the music industry. But this does not make analog a better choice. I am not opposed to spinning vinyl for the sake of nostalgia but to imply that it is better is simply an indication of a lack of understanding. Actually it is the boutique audio suppliers who are perpetuating these snake oil myths about $300 tone arms that do more harm to the high end audio industry.
I am 50 years old and began my career in audio design when analog tape was king and compact discs were not even considered. I got a Master's in electrical engineering and the closest thing to a computer I ever owned before leaving college was an HP scientific calculator and that baby cost almost $400 and weighed over 1lb. The advances in digital technology have improved audio recording and playback. It is difficult for many of the analog folks to understand but it simply is true. Actually if you think of it most people who try to convince you that a turntable is far superior usually end the conversation with "will that be check or charge".
Robert Cham <cham@...>
- Robert Cham <cham@...>
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12/04/2010 03:45 PMPlease respond to
Re: [dallasaudioclub] Re: need turntabe
Interesting thread, if somewhat vague about standards.
Speaking as someone involved with audio recording either full or part time since the '60s, I must say that 24 bit 192 KHz digital recording approaches the quality of a good analog tape machine at 15 ips. CDs are a kludge forced upon the Audio Engineering Society, when they were trying to set a standard for digital recording in the early '80s. The perpetrators were Sony and Phillips, who simply came to the first AES Digital Conference, and stated that the players and CDs would be available the following monday. They were tired of spending money on research and that was that. Power trumps basic research every time. Just look at HD radio and TV.
Now for some basic facts. When digital runs out of bits there is either nothing, for small signals, or some rather obnoxious noises, for large signals (digital clipping). Believe me, you'll never hear digital clipping. The reason is that digital recording uses as it's "0" level 12 10 16 dBFS (decibels below full scale). When analog clips hardly anyone notices so it uses at most 1 - 2 dBFS for it's "0" point. So there goes 10 -14 dB of digitals supposed signal to noise ratio.
Now we look at the bottom end of the loudness scale. With digital 1 bit is the bottom. There is NOTHING below one bit. Analog is another matter. Have you ever noticed that If your listening to a radio station in your car, you can finish listening to a song or story as you drive away and the
station becomes noisy? This is known as listening down into the noise.
Research in the '70s and early '80s showed us that the AVERAGE person could discern information more than 30 dB down into the noise. This is small signal information, the stuff that gives you the "air" around an instrument, and tells you the shape of the hall and where the side walls are. In short, everything that makes a recording come alive! Guess what falls below one bit on most digital recordings.
So, if we agree that you don't use the top 12 - 16 dB in digital recordings, and analog recordings actually exist more than 30 dB below the noise floor, what has become of the "advantage" to digital recordings?
- I have to agree that current digital recordings far exceed old analog recordings at least from a pure capabilities standpoint. Don't want to offend but the nostalgia factor for vinyl is cool but the limitations of vinyl are easily proved when compared to digital. That is not to say that there aren't good analog recordings. But the advantages that digital offer make analog inferior. Biggest problem with recordings is the mastering, so much music is and was and is poorly mastered.
Good recordings have very little to do with the playback technology. The biggest advantage of digital over analog is the available dynamic range. You lose about 50db when you step back to analog. Unfortunately recording engineers don't as a practice take advantage of it. Since the 50's compression has been a popular tool in the recording studio. Without all the boring details it is done to sell more records even today. The masses don't own a system that can resolve hifi quali ty so they don't care.
There are some artist that insist on accurate and good mastering but if your favorite genre is rock or pop forget about it. You've been hosed for about 5 decades. There are a few good recordings in this genre but for every good one there are dozens that are unlistenable regardless of whether they are digital or analog. Actually the only audible difference between a digital and analog source of the same recording is a big loss in dynamic range on the analog version.
Compare some digital tracks from a provider like HDTracks.com you will easily see how superior digital formats can be. Too bad the selections are so limited.
From: "chimeralabs" [chimeraone@...]
Sent: 12/04/2010 03:41 PM GMT
Subject: [dallasaudioclub] Re: need turntabe
Based on what my ears tell me, how we store and playback Music to maximize sound performance will be digital.
There are very few analog recording studios left. I always thought a record offered better sound performance because it was recorded in analog. Using a Digital Master to cut an analog record doesn't make much sense to me.
I have heard some superb audio systems where the Music is stored on a solid state hard drive or SD card, no jitter, and fed into a USB DAC. Here are some links you might find interesting.
Digital done properly is getting aw fully good. Some people I know with large record collection are digitally recording them for conveniance and listening to their records less and less.
In my opinion, using a computer to create your own "records" by selecting tracks from your favorite albums is a great way to listen to Music.
- I posted some picks at PE of my latest build. not really a build, per se, but used some cabinets from some old north American Sound mini-Monitors that I slapped on a coat of rustoleum and screwed in the drivers. I still have my old NAS monitors that are below the garage speakers. Dave Thomas designed the XO and I just assemble them. It's amazing what you can learn on You Tube!