Denon PCM Encoding in 1970s. Is it different than Sony CD PCM?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Mr Bass, Aug 7, 2016.

  1. Many DG recordings are "average to poor," period (IMHO). I never understood the love for the label and its dry, clinical sound. Too many microphones and too much close-micing.
     
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  2. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    Mid Atlantic
    The love should only be for the many fine performances sadly marginalized by the poor sonics. There are some exceptions but all too few. The early Denon digital LPs I have are superior to most analog DG records although I need to acquire more Denons to see how stable the Denon sound is. But if digital had sounded more like them I would have been less turned off by the usual CD sound.
     
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  3. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles CA USA
    Hey, I want to hear that! I'll have to see if I can stream that...
     
  4. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles CA USA
    I really like the sound of George Benson's Give Me The Night, which IIRC was done on the 3M system. Too bad we ended up at 16/44.1-I guess it's like the Roman roads determining the size of the Space Shuttle. Or that we didn't implement an oversampling setup, like a paper I once read where it showed how a system designed to incorporate post-oversampling could push a lot more information through the same size window of CD.
     
  5. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Mid Atlantic
    https://www.amazon.com/Janacek-Stri...&qid=1471098123&sr=1-2-mp3-albums-bar-strip-0

    According to the literature, the Redbook rates were based on compatibity with videocamera encoding. The computing power at the time couldn't handle the sampling rate I think would be necessary around 5.6 MHz.

    Nevertheless as you imply there are better and worse ways to work with what you have. Given the marginality of the Redbook rates and concomitant filtering it doesn't take much to tilt it in an unpleasant or at least unsatisfactory direction.

    I'm in the process of acquiring more early digital LPs from Denon and Telarc. Getting recordings based on the Sony PCM 1 or F1 is probably going to be more of a challenge as the 1600 seems to have taken over the audio recording business quickly.
     
  6. I don't have too many of the Denon LP's but I have some of the reissues on CD. As I have noted before, the Steve Marcus jazz fusion album Something sounds really good, and it was recorded in 1970 using the 13-bit/32kHz Denon deck.

    What I would really like to hear are the 1968 experimental recordings by NHK using their mono PCM equipment.

    As a historical note, I wonder if any recordings of SIGSALY speech transmissions exist? BTW, here it is--the first PCM A/D and D/A converter system, circa 1943:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    See here for more info and different photos:

    SIGSALY »
     
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  7. The F1 became pretty popular too, especially for location recording.

    This engineer used it from 1981 until at least 1999;

    Sony PCM-F1 Digital Recording Processor »
     
  8. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I always wondered what is the earliest piece of original digital audio floating around on the web or someone's hard drive. Not a recording of digital audio per se, but actual original pcm data encapsulated in one form or another. A SIGSALY transmission would be cool. I guess one of those early DDD CDs recorded in the 70's would be the answer for me, like the Denon PCM Jazz titles. Like Moonlight In Vermont, On Green Dolphin Street, Night In Tunisia… and these all have very good sonics for what it's worth. Kinda cool to have data originally created nearly 40 years ago on your hard drive, that you can click play on and hear history just like that.
     
  9. Marketing materials for the PCM-F1. They note the PCM-1 was released in 1977 and that the second Sony PCM recorder was the PCM-10, released in 1980:

    Sony PCM-F1 Review »
     
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  10. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Mid Atlantic
    Obviously many people bought them, but not for standard studio recording. There must be LPs out there that were recorded with the PCM 1 or F1 but identifying them and determining whether the entire content was recorded with them is the problem.



    Interesting. So there was a device between the PCM 1 and the PCM F1. I thought 6 years was a rather long interval between the two as the F1 came out in 1983.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2016
  11. Robert C

    Robert C Forum Resident

    Location:
    London, UK
    I agree. As far as I know, "digital" is neutral. I'd imagine the sonic attributes the OP is noticing are caused by human decisions and analogue circuitry.
     
  12. F1 came out in 1981, actually. I think the PCM1600 came out around 1983.
     
  13. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Mid Atlantic
    Leaving aside the issue of whether digital by its very nature "really" sounds like neutrality, I think it highly unlikely that mere mastering moves by a mastering engineer are responsible. It would require that subsequent digital LP mastering didn't reproduce it even by accident. The analog stages are more of a possibility although it would require some analog circuitry that was subsequently either forgotten or was incorporated with other circuits that mitigated the effect.

    The Denon digital encoder outputs were stored to a VTR tape but given that the encoder was 8 track I don't know technically how that was done or how the tracks were edited. So the issue would be whether there was analog editing of the tracks. Of course Mercury Records' Cozart and Fine used 35 mm film stock on some of the early 3 channel stereo recordings.
     
  14. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Mid Atlantic
    You are right that the F1 came out in 1981 not 1983. My bad. However
    From the Sony website:

    Following the development of the home-use PCM-1 digital audio processor in 1977, the professional-use PCM-1600, which used the U-Matic machine, was launched in March 1978.
     
  15. OK, right. I think the PCM-1630 is the one that came out in 1983.
     
  16. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

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    San Francisco
    Where are you seeing the PCM-10 listed on that page? I couldn't find any reference to such a model.
     
  17. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    According to this 2011 post (from you!), the album says it was recorded on the Soundstream deck:

    First full digital recordings (using digital mixing desks). »

    I think both the Soundstream and the 3M decks sound incredible.
     
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  18. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Mid Atlantic
    RE The 3M Digital Mastering System

    According to Mixonline

    In December 1978, the first commercial albums cut on the system were released: Flim & The BB's, by jazz group Flim & The BB's, and Aaron Copeland's Appalachian Spring, by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. This was followed by Cooder’s Bop Till You Drop (engineered by Lee Herschberg) and Donald Fagen’s The Nightfly,

    I am going to try to pull together a Discography for these three systems under discussion at least prior to 1982 (because there might have been subsequent modifications to make them more Redbook compliant): The Denon, the 3M and the Soundstream.
     
  19. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Maybe I'm mistaken, but I was under the impression the 3M & Soundstream were the same thing, just referred to by one company over the other? 3M just made the tape transport, Soundstream made the converters. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, both are noted as being 16/50 systems upthread.
     
  20. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
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  21. Look towards the bottom of the page titled "Sony and Digital Audio: The Future of Sound." The information about the PCM-10 is listed there.
     
  22. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Interesting. Never heard of it and not much comes up online about it, but I did find it mentioned on one site, where they had a link to an eBay auction:

    Sony PCM-10 Digital Audio Processor - VERY - VERY RARE »
     
  23. crooner

    crooner Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    I wonder what kind of DAC chip was inside the F1 for playback purposes. Perhaps a 14 bit device? I say this because monolithic 16 bit DAC chips were not available in 1981. This fact delayed the introduction of CD players for quite some time...
     

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