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Thread: Digital vs. Analog from Dummies like me...

  1. #1
    Senior Member edgewound's Avatar
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    Kinda, sorta....Pretty much...

    This discussion began on another thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1audiohack View Post
    I am away from a PC and hate writing via phone so please excuse the brevity.

    I spotted this link on ProSoundWeb. It reminded me of a conversation I had with Prof Doug Jones (currently working with Danley Sound Labs) a year or so ago about digital signals and processing.

    Take a look and give it a think. I would love to discuss it more, but from a key board!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIQ9IXSUzuM

    All the best,
    Barry.
    ...lays to rest the idea that vinyl is superior to good ol' CDs.

    Great stuff, Barry. Thanks for sharing that!
    Edgewound...JBL Pro Authorized...since 1988
    Upland Loudspeaker Service, Upland, CA

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edgewound View Post
    ...lays to rest the idea that vinyl is superior to good ol' CDs.
    Does it?

    A quiet record may only be the equivalent to 10-11 bits, but other than noise floor, I'm not convinced digital is superior.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    Does it?

    A quiet record may only be the equivalent to 10-11 bits, but other than noise floor, I'm not convinced digital is superior.


    Widget
    Which brings us back to something we barely discussed a few years ago - the engineering/mastering whatever on the CDs vs the albums. I'm not sure what the deal is, CDs are technically superior, but I tend to think what is put on the CD is (sometimes) inferior. If that makes any sense.

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    Senior Member edgewound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    Does it?

    A quiet record may only be the equivalent to 10-11 bits, but other than noise floor, I'm not convinced digital is superior.


    Widget
    Pretty much.


    From an absolute bandwidth and lack of noise standpoint, digital has much greater capabilities than analog...but the recording itself does matter. From the video that Barry posted, the looks of a sinewave between digital and analog are identical.

    This video is indicative of what most people prefer to listen to. That said, vinyl is a more romantic ritual...if you're into that.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnxexlHRY2E
    Edgewound...JBL Pro Authorized...since 1988
    Upland Loudspeaker Service, Upland, CA

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edgewound View Post
    Pretty much.
    I'm pretty confident that a CD playing a 1KHz sine wave will look identical on a calibrated scope whether it is played on a $30 CD player or the high end player of your choice. I'm also confident that even a casual listener will hear differences between the two players when playing a well recorded CD of music played through a high quality system.

    Therefore digital audio accurately re-creating a sine wave tells us some information, but not the whole picture.


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    Senior Señor boputnam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    I'm pretty confident that a CD playing a 1KHz sine wave will look identical on a calibrated scope whether it is played on a $30 CD player or the high end player of your choice. I'm also confident that even a casual listener will hear differences between the two players when playing a well recorded CD of music played through a high quality system.

    Therefore digital audio accurately re-creating a sine wave tells us some information, but not the whole picture.


    Widget
    I've played with this more, of late, than for many years.

    I unearthed the turntable a while back and using a Radial J33 phono pre-amp (yes, I tried several - in my price range - and there are audible differences) I've been buying vinyl with CD combo packages the past year or so. I can compare audibly (A/B) the WAV files on the CD (thru Bryston BDA-1) with the same track off the turntable. To my hearing, there's no argument - the sonic quality of vinyl is not matched by CD. I suspect there is some characteristic(s) we are not measuring - perhaps not easily measured. That said, for convenience, the vinyl doesn't get sufficient listening time!

    Anyway, to argue the point is largely mooted by the convenience factor(s) alone. And, by the lack of WAF for larger-sized audio systems required for proper reproduction. So, I balance the want with the possible/needed. When it's my turn, it's vinyl - I happy to get up flip...
    bo

    "Indeed, not!!"

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    Senior Member edgewound's Avatar
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    I'm honestly not trying to get into a pissing match over the merits of analog vs. digital, because they both have redeeming qualities in various sensory ways. A great recording is a great recording no matter the medium. Fact is, one of these mediums very handicapped by it's packaging.

    Here's an article that interviews some recording industry heavy-weights from both the art-making and scientific and production side of the topic.

    Hope you get a chance to read this. The two "Bobs", Bob Ludwig and Bob Clearmountain have pretty stellar credentials to have determining opinions on which is better technologically.

    http://www.laweekly.com/music/why-cd...-vinyl-5352162
    Edgewound...JBL Pro Authorized...since 1988
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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edgewound View Post
    I'm honestly not trying to...
    In my response to you I purposely left the analog comparison out of the conversation as I was only pointing out that the example shown in the video while compelling doesn't answer all of the questions.


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    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edgewound View Post
    Here's an article that interviews some recording industry heavy-weights from both the art-making and scientific and production side of the topic.

    Hope you get a chance to read this. The two "Bobs", Bob Ludwig and Bob Clearmountain have pretty stellar credentials to have determining opinions on which is better technologically.

    http://www.laweekly.com/music/why-cd...-vinyl-5352162
    Thanks so much for the link. While we all enjoy consensual validation, I think this says it better than most opinions and backs it with simple facts and science. I'm not a vinyl hater. I own four turntables currently and grew up with a Thorens (that I loved and hated) until the CD was introduced. But I listen to, and buy, CDs today.

    Thanks again for the link.
    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."—Greg Timbers

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMWCCA View Post
    Thanks so much for the link...
    Yes!

    I certainly agree that CDs have significant technical advantages in both dynamic range and response below 40Hz. That said, from the article:

    "That said, every audio engineer L.A. Weekly spoke to said it's not hard to find LPs that sound better than CDs. Mastering, production and manufacturing variables can drastically tilt the scale either way."

    I strongly agree with this statement and have experienced the scale tipped both ways in listening to my own collection of black and silver discs.


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    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    Yes!

    I certainly agree that CDs have significant technical advantages in both dynamic range and response below 40Hz. That said, from the article:

    "That said, every audio engineer L.A. Weekly spoke to said it's not hard to find LPs that sound better than CDs. Mastering, production and manufacturing variables can drastically tilt the scale either way."

    I strongly agree with this statement and have experienced the scale tipped both ways in listening to my own collection of black and silver discs.


    Widget
    Not to prolong the off-topic aspect of this discussion, but what this means to me is that digital, whether it be high-res downloads or CDs, is capable of the "purest" reproduction but the end result is in the hands of the engineers for the various versions of the final product. I would most certainly agree. CD engineers may be guilty of creating the "Loudness War" and early CDs of analog recordings are notoriously awful. But just as I tell folks who dismiss JBL monitors for being irritating or dry, the real problem is in the recording, not the medium. A good recording will sound great on a more revealing system and a bad recording has a high probability of sounding worse. If one considers as LP as a lower-resolution medium than a CD, then a bad recording on an LP can sound "warmer" than the same recording on a CD, compression being equal. That's not the fault of the CD or a benefit of the LP. I can do the same thing with an EQ.

    It just causes me to appreciate better recordings and lean toward those so I can better enjoy the music I listen to.
    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."—Greg Timbers

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMWCCA View Post
    Not to prolong the off-topic aspect of this discussion...
    Not off topic at all, I cloned the OT posts from Barry's thread and created this thread to give us space to bash analog.


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    The quote that caught my eye, and alludes back to a previous post I made here:

    "It's not just the format," Mayo says. "It's what you do with it."

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    Senior Member Ducatista47's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edgewound View Post
    Pretty much.


    From an absolute bandwidth and lack of noise standpoint, digital has much greater capabilities than analog...but the recording itself does matter. From the video that Barry posted, the looks of a sinewave between digital and analog are identical.

    This video is indicative of what most people prefer to listen to. That said, vinyl is a more romantic ritual...if you're into that.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnxexlHRY2E
    Apples to apples comparisons have rarely been what this topic is about. Another elephant in the room is euphonics. What sounds pleasing to a listener is a wildfire in comparison to fidelity to the recording, media and process capabilities, and anything else measurable.

    While certainly conditioned by the listening history of the individual and non audio factors like what gear looks like and whatever said listener has read and been told, what sounds pleasing is as variable as human personality, and the physical condition of of the biological hearing system as well. It is also heavily dependent on circumstances. My audio friend shares my preference for audio that sounds most like what went into the microphone. Like me, he is a long time "been there and done that" system owner/listener. We both answered the siren call of vinyl, twice, of the tube revival, of large speakers and small, and of all sorts of personal listening. I am surprised that while he is a quintessential vinyl lover, he (as have I) has sworn off tubes completely and knows tape is not in the hunt for recording accuracy.

    But, what we are both most surprised at is his eventual discovery that, despite despising bass heads in general, with portable listening he has come to prefer boosted bass. In fact, almost everyone arrives at this point sooner or later. The euphonic presentation of tape, vinyl, tubes, and colored speakers (JBL Centuries, anyone?) have appeal to most listeners at some point, but wanting extra bass from portable listening seems to dominate. Don't ask me, I have not authored a tome on this. Sometimes even I want a touch of it, and in my case it seems to be emotional. Emotion is a term/condition that travels the halls of euphonia with the frequency that peanut butter ends up with jelly. I do suspect that the privacy of private listening is likely it. Like listening to a speaker system in a house when no one else is home, one does not give a rat's ass if monster bass might put someone else off. Music lives in the midrange, but adrenaline and testosterone live in the bass.
    Information is not Knowledge; Knowledge is not Wisdom
    Too many audiophiles listen with their eyes instead of their ears


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    Senior Member SEAWOLF97's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    Not off topic at all, I cloned the OT posts from Barry's thread and created this thread to give us space to bash analog.


    Widget
    Hope you are being facetious ?

    It doesn't have to be "either or" , both co-exist in a system very well . I'm not going to advocate for either side. They both have pluses and minus's .

    Had gotten tired of CD and veered back the LP direction until I obtained a player with an outstanding DAC and then things shifted again.

    Using vinyl records as the representative for analog I think is misleading. NEARLY all analog has emanated from tape. Maybe we should be comparing digi to tape*, not records ?

    From my experience, a well recorded 15ips (or 7.50) can well rival digital. Much great sounding digi was created in the AAD stream . Now I'm seeing an increasing amount of DAD stream , meaning the mix was done analog.

    *R2R , not 8T or cassette
    “If you think that’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard,
    just wait a couple minutes!”

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