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What's the value in sound enhancement in adding a dynamic expander to my Reel to Reel system? I'm a vinyl guy with a reel to reel secondary system looking for help from my friends? Truly appreciate the insight. Tx.
I loved my 3bx from dbx system. worked great with recorded RTR's tapes and later cassettes from albums. CD's kinda eliminated the surface noise issue and early CD's offered better high end dynamics (crest factor). When I sold my RTR, the dbx's went with it (I also used a dbx 124 compander).
The loudness battle since downloaded and streamed music came onboard has pretty much crunched the dynamics of a lot of music to levels worse than AM radio! Even on CD's - where they seem to use about 40dB tops (Typically 25dB) dynamic range.
Live music is typically > 40dB and often up to 60dB dynamic range. Now when I record CD's and Albums to my server I use a processing step to reduce the noise, and then a processing step to increase the dynamics. You noise a 5-6 dB increase. The trouble is that if you try to restore too much - the artifacts sound unnatural unless you really hone in on the details of the signals - and then you are talking about hours just to remaster a single song!
I think the modern DSP tools are much better than the old analog tools.
I do use a little expansion (4dB) in my most commonly used setting in my Crown amplifiers in the frequency range of 2kHz-6kHz. I had turned the setting back off for a project I was working on. went on vacation - and last weekend jumped back in to do some listening. Put my Rumors CD on and the percussion seemed flat. Selected the right program and bling! everything back to normal. Note I use some bass compression on my MMG's so at very loud levels they don't stress.
"The hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat" - Confucius
I used to have a DBX 4BX dynamic range expander many years ago. It was kind of interesting for a while and then I got tired of it and sold it. I decided music sounded more natural without dynamic range expansion. I think you'll need to try it yourself to determine whether it has value in your system.
I also had a Teac X-1000R reel-to-reel tape recorder with DBX noise reduction. It sounded rather impressive at first, but as time passed I began to prefer my recordings without any noise reduction. On the other hand, I always used Dolby noise reduction on my Nakamichi Dragon cassette deck. Unfortunately, I didn't have a reel-to-reel tape deck with Dolby so I made reel-to-reel recordings without noise reduction and/or dynamic expansion.
I'd say that you're better off without it. The trade off with
expansion is that you can usually hear it work (pumping effect) if not precisely set with the threshold and amount of expansion, not to mention
the added noise from added circuitry.
Your R-R should have no problem with dynamics from vinyl anyway.
What is your goal? I.e., what would you want to accomplish? Make the quiet stuff/noise quieter? Make the medium/louder parts louder?
The (now) vintage Valley People "Kepex" could do all that. Presumably, PMI Audio has resurrected Valley People and is working on a "Kepex II". I don't know what the status is or if it'll ever get off the ground. There are, of course, several other products currently on the market, both hardware and software. The important question remains: What would you want to accomplish?
Also, you might want to post your message in the General forum, where you might get more replies. I know your intention is to apply the component to a R-R tape system, but the question/topic of dynamic expansion is applicable to many other situations as well.
Add-on: I don't know how many people here would be familiar with signal processing, so I'll just say that you might consider posting on tapeheads.net and/or diyaudio.com, where a number of pros post.
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