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In Reply to: RE: Easy - you like the distortion (nt) posted by magiccarpetride on June 05, 2023 at 07:52:55
tech guys think of the word distortion as a deviation from the original waveform, so adding any harmonics (which circuits are known to do) is distortion. What you can have is musically pleasant distortion and also musically nasty ones.
What he is rightfully referring to are the pleasant ones. Vinyl or any recording and subsequent repro made in any way can have pleasant distortions or irritating ones, and also any type of deviation which is audible or not. He meant no harm, and you have a nice cart/table and some good ears btw
There is a theory that high levels of low order distortion are not unpleasant in themselves, or even noticeable, but they will mask the presence of more offensive high-order distortion products. some combinations of harmonics will be consonant with the music and some will be dissonant. My problem with this theory is that high harmonic distortion will also produce high inter-modulation distortion and that is never consonant, so I don't know.
The only place I see distortion measurements related to vinyl is cartridge reviews in HFN+RR where the 2nd+3rd+4th harmonics are typically 1% below 1kHz and climb up to 10% at 10kHz.
Going back to RvG, I've read opposing views on analog tape from recording/mastering engineers so its not just vinyl. I have come to terms with the fact that if I prefer one sound over another it may-not-be/probably-isn't objectively better, I just prefer it and enjoy it for what it is.
Plenty of producers find that analog tape provides a more "natural" or perhaps I should say musical compression than attainable by most outboard equipment. And compression is a necessary part of the recording process to reduce the dynamic range of "real" life to that reproducible over the noise floors and capabilities of our systems and environments.
RvG is not the last word in musical reproduction--not for Charles Mingus and not for me. Interesting that he talks about distortion since his recordings are loaded with the stuff. Article below is interesting reading despite the clickbait title.
Someone wrote that compression is the soul of rock music - or something similar. For Random Access Memories Daft Punk took the output from Pro-Tools to tape and back into Pro-Tools again to add something to the sound.
I've heard Bernie Grundman wax lyrical about how great analog tape is and that it is the best archive medium, I've heard an interview with Engineer/Producer Al Schmitt where he said he hated tape due to head flutter and stretching. I saw a short interview with rick Rubin recently where he said analog tape sounds great but it soon loses its magic - you replay it after a short time and it doesn't sound as good any more.
I agree that compression is necessary - and, I think, you need a noise floor to let you know where you are. Especially true of groove noise during the run in - it sets your expectations.
> I saw a short interview with rick Rubin recently where he said analog tape sounds great but it soon
> loses its magic - you replay it after a short time and it doesn't sound as good any more.
The best part about digital is its accuracy and its longevity. It's exceedingly accurate so it can copy the sound of analog tape and/or vinyl almost perfectly. Moreover, it doesn't change over time. Therefore, if you want to preserve the beautiful sound of high-speed analog tape, simply make a high-resolution digital copy when the tape is new and you'll have that great sound quality forever.
Yes it can be very accurate, but the longevity of digital storage is challenged by the ever changing formats and encoding that may well make most stored digital archives unrecoverable in 50 years unless they have been constantly updated and transferred, while a vinyl record will still preserve the waveform for maybe 10,000.
> a vinyl record will still preserve the waveform for maybe 10,000 [years].
I think we can all laugh at that one. First of all, there are no records that are 10,000-years old. Secondly, show me a record that's 100-years old and I'll show you a record that sounds like crap compared to modern vinyl pressings.
Digital is only about 50-years old. I own some of the first CDs made. I bought them in 1982 or thereabouts and as far as I can tell, they sound just the same as they did when brand new. Actually, they probably sound better now because the playback equipment sounds better. However, the binary data on the CD hasn't changed as far as I can tell.
Digital is simply binary data -- numbers. You can write them down on a piece of paper if you want.
Just because there are new digital formats being developed doesn't mean you still can't play the original formats. However, DSD256 sounds as good as anything I've ever heard. Therefore, even if newer and better digital formats are developed, DSD256 will still sound just as good as it sounds now and I find it hard to believe that any newer digital formats can be significantly better sounding. You can only get so close to perfection and DSD256 comes pretty close as far as I can tell.
Anyway, I disagree with your arguments against the longevity of digital.
So 10,000 years is hyperbolic, but pvc takes a very long time to degrade (a big ecological problem,) and an archived lp should last a very long time. There was no vinyl records a 100 years ago, yet 100 year old phonograph records pressed on shellac (a much less stable material) if unplayed and well stored still sound pretty much just like the day they were pressed.
But really I think we are talking about two very different things. You are approaching this from an audiophile perspective, and I am thinking about this from an archival perspective of preserving cultural material across long periods of time with no guaranteed of a continuous and uninterrupted cultural and social continuity. In other words, if our "civilization" collapses in a few hundred years and a new human social formation develops a thousand years later, if they discover an lp it wouldn't take all that much technical sophistication to retrieve information from it, but what would they do with a compact disk or a hard drive?
My first record project was recorded 23 years ago on a Tascam D-88, an 8 track digital recorder that used Dtrs 8mm video cassettes (they look like DATs, but are different.) This was Tascam's response to the more common ADAT system from Alesis that used VHS tapes for 8 track digital recording. But the twist was that my engineer used a special box (I think it was called a Rat Packer) that instead of 8 tracks at 16/44.1, it enabled two tracks at 24/88.2 (or was it 24/96?) It would be difficult for me retrieve this data today, and in a 100 years . . .?
> But really I think we are talking about two very different things.
Let's suppose you're right about everything. You can still copy a vinyl record in DSD128 like I do, and save the LP while playing the digital copy. I've found that high-resolution digital copies like DSD128 sound identical to the vinyl record. Therefore, you can preserve the LP and play the digital copy.
I store my digital copies in triplicate in case a hard drive goes bad. That way I won't lose the digital recording. You can also make duplicate copies periodically to keep them alive if you feel they fade over time. That's the beauty of digital. It's just numbers and they don't change if you take care of them. You can duplicate a digital recording as many times as you like and all the duplicates will be perfectly identical to the original.
Anyway, if you're concerned with the longevity of the digital recording, you can always retain the vinyl and find out if one outlasts the other. However, with proper care, I'm sure you can preserve both for a long time!
Allegedly, the data collected during the trip to the moon in 1969 were stored in some digital format that is not readable by any devices in existence today.
Digital sucks. Both as an approximation to the analog, and as an archival medium. Paper outlasts millennia, and so does plastic. Digital is super convenient but anyone serious about archiving some information must rely on physical, tangible objects.
Everything is an approximation compared to the original live performance. The beauty of high-resolution digital is that it's the most accurate approximation relative to any other format available today. It's better than vinyl and it's better than analog tape. All you have to do is listen to some music recorded in high-resolution digital and let your ears make up your mind.
Otherwise, you can continue believing what you now believe in lieu of discovering the truth.
I have many high resolution FLAC files (some even in 32 bit/360 kHz format) but:
a) They don't sound any better than 16 bit/44.6 kHz format
b) They still lack the air, space, and the almost frightening dynamics that good LPs have
Digital is hype. Yes, it is quiet, clinically clean, and super convenient to stream at will. But it lacks life.
> tech guys think of the word distortion as a deviation from the original waveform, so adding any harmonics (which
> circuits are known to do) is distortion. What you can have is musically pleasant distortion and also musically nasty ones.
This is true. The type of distortion produced by vinyl is musically pleasing for the most part. It's easy to prove this.
Buy a high-quality digital recorder and make a digital copy of an LP. I've been doing this since 1991 and I found that my digital recordings of vinyl sound virtually identical to vinyl. This is because the digital recorder is very accurate and produces very low distortion. Therefore, it copies all the vinyl distortion almost perfectly and my digital copies of vinyl sound like vinyl.
What I don't really understand is why so many CDs sound bad when they're simply copies of analog master tapes. If you've ever heard any of the analog master tapes that I've heard, they sound simply beautiful to me. In fact, I think high-speed analog tape sounds even better than vinyl. Furthermore, the digital copies of analog master tapes that my friend records from his Studer tape deck to his TASCAM DA-3000 digital recorder sound just like the tapes he copies. So, why do CDs sound so bad?
Some people say it's the mastering that causes CDs to sound bad. Maybe that's true, but I still don't understand why. Don't the mastering engineers listen to their digital masters before burning a CD?
Oh, well. Such is life!
I seem to recall some early RCA transfers (gold label?) from the 80's sounding so bad that they had to pull them from the market. Starting with a good recording and a good master is essential but I think JVC conclusively proved with XRCD that the mastering change for Redbook is a critical process. There is no excuse for a bad sounding CD in this day and age but some will sound better than others for a myriad of reasons.
That makes sense. My personal litmus test of a good sound system is how loud can I crank it up. Lousy systems sound hurtful even at low volumes. But really good ones will sound pleasant at very loud levels.
Whether that's down to distortion or not, I must admit I don't really know. I tend to think the lower the distortion the less unpleasant it sounds at loud levels. But I may be wrong.
I have a drum kit in my house. If I start banging at it with all my might, they get loud as hell. And yet, I find that sound pleasant. Why? No distortions. Loud cymbals, if they're good quality, sound amazing.
Loud cymbals on a poorly mastered CD sound frighteningly bad. Why? Distortion!
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