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

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

  1. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Mid Atlantic
    The Sony 1600 had 16 bit capability in 1978. There were chips from Texas Instruments and Burr Brown. Since the F1 came out after the 1600 I assume they would use the same. The earlier Sony PCM 1 was 14 bit.
     
  2. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Mid Atlantic
    I wonder if anyone knows whether the 3M Digital Mastering system when installed at a recording studio was actually used? Two records in 1978 from Sound80 are verified users as are 2 Warner Brothers records one in 1979 and one in 1982..

    According to a CD history website (which stresses the info is tentative) the following are install dates for the 3M digital mastering system:


    Note: All dates are for installs of the final 32-track+2/4-track dual-unit production system unless noted.

    • Mid-1978 - Sound 80 Studios, Minneapolis, MN (2-track prototype).[2]
    • 6 Jan 1979 - The Record Plant, Los Angeles, CA[3]
    • 6 Jan 1979 - A&M Studios, Los Angeles, CA[4]
    • Q1 1979 - Warner Bros. Studios, Los Angeles, CA[5]
    • Q1 1979 - Sound 80 Studios, Minneapolis, MN.[6]
    • 1979 - Westlake Audio, West Hollywood, CA [7]
    3M Digital Audio Mastering System - cdHistory ยป
     
  3. crooner

    crooner Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    That's the ADC, which was 16 bit. The DAC to play back the tapes is what I was talking about.
    I did some research and the F1 apparently employed the Sony CX-890 16 bit DAC which must have cost a fortune in 1981. This was then used on the Sony CDP-101, their first CD player.

    This DAC is 16 bit but it multiplexes the outputs, processing both left and right channels at the same time, causing a slight delay between them.

    The production yield must have been very poor on these early DAC chips as it delayed their CD player launch several months, pushing it to October of 1982 in Japan.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
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  4. It's a 1/2 sample delay, i.e. 1/88,200 second delay between the two channels. Imperceptible by the human ear.
     
  5. crooner

    crooner Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Some "golden eared" folks at the time claimed they could hear it. But most likely it was the Chesbichev brickwall filters causing phase shift in the audible frequencies.

    The ADC chip, is also multiplexed. The construction of the F1 was pretty amazing at the time: Glass epoxy circuit boards, and copper plated chassis...'

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Mid Atlantic
    Thanks for your research. This raises the question of what chips the Denon, 3M and Soundstream systems were using for ADC and DAC? The Denon never used 16 bit processing of course. Since the 3M and Sounstream sampled at 50kHZ they must have used a different ADC chip than Sony. We do know the Soundstream had an Analogic MP8016 16-bit Analog-to-Digital Converter operating at a 50 kHz sample rate. We also know that the 3M had No 16 bit converter and instead used a 12 bit converter with an 8 bit converter.

    I would agree that the filters are likely the culprit.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
  7. crooner

    crooner Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    The F1 was a semi-professional product, more in the consumer realm. The Denon, 3M and Soundstream were huge and most likely used arrays of plug in cards with very little LSI integration. The F1 was groundbreaking in the fact that it used single chips for both ADC and DAC, and it actually made possible the launch of 16 bit CD players for around $1K retail price a year or so later...

    Speaking of Denon... Didn't they produce 16 bit recordings at the end of the 70's? I would have thought they upgraded their PCM system by the end of this decade or the beginning of the 80's when CD was imminent. Maybe not...
     
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  8. crooner

    crooner Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    By the way, I am a also a fan of Denon early digital recordings. Not harsh or fatiguing at all. Even in sample converted CD's they sound nice. Ditto for Soundstream. The early Telarcs are undoubtedly excellent. Dave Grusin's Mountain Dance, also recorded on a Soundstream sounds fantastic even today. Not a huge fan of the Mitsubishi or the 3M. The Mitsubishi recorded "In the Digital Mood" by GRP records sounds dull to these ears...
     
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  9. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Mid Atlantic
    I am sure that all these systems over time made modifications to achieve compatibility with Redbook standards. I seem to remember that one or more of these systems had certain attachments which would reprocess their files at Redbook rates.

    However I want to emphasize that what started this whole thread from me was my favorable perception of the sonics of Denon PCM LPs from the mid 70s when the Sony PCM1 was just being developed and there was no Redbook.
     
  10. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Mid Atlantic
    Thanks very much for your sonic perceptions. I am in the process of acquiring a better cross section of LPs mastered through these different systems. An important step is to get some consensus on the sonic differences if any between them.
     
  11. crooner

    crooner Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    First Denon PCM based LP I heard was on the Columbia Odyssey label. It was Jean Pierre Rampal doing Telemann. I found it on the bins of a thrift store, so they must have sold scores of these. Perhaps most folks first encounter with Denon's PCM system...
    [​IMG]
     
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  12. crooner

    crooner Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    My impressions of Mountain Dance and the Telarcs are in their original LP form. I have heard Mountain Dance on CD and it's not that exciting. Dull. Like the Glenn Miller I mentioned earlier...
     
  13. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles CA USA
    Digital Copy Out! Ah, what innocent days!
    And days when you could see ACTUAL PRODUCT INFORMATION, instead of now just some list of bullet points with no details, and every product the same few features.
    Then again, as the technology improves, I suppose these details matter less. Compared to tape, the differences from one CD player to the other are less (or, are they, if we bring in reel-to-reel? But certainly WAY less than differences in Dolby playback between different cassette decks). Now we get to high-rez, and the raw spec is so high the differences are less.
    Of course, I'm kind of lying, because we are still at the mercy of the production, or horribleness thereof, but that's not really a hardware issue.
    And the analog stages won't all be the same and still of course affect the sound...not that you'll find much information about that from most manufacturers, so maybe it's close to the same anyway. Even if there were measurable performance differences between mass market machines, we'd never know, because Stereophile doesn't deign to test that kind of stuff and Sound & Vision tests on only the most scratch-the-surface level.
     
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  14. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Mid Atlantic
    The Telemann came from Denon OX-7057 in 1972.

    So you liked Grusin's Mountain dance in LP form from Soundstream but not its Redbook conversion. It would be truly sad if digital was going great until Redbook!
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
  15. crooner

    crooner Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Yes and you can see how groundbreaking the F1 was at the time. Totally cutting edge and they even hinted at the fact the newly developed CD players would use the same DAC chip!
    Sony was really a tour-de-force back then. Even the ad copy editors knew how to write back in those days. Perfect brochures!
     
  16. crooner

    crooner Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    I think it was the sample conversion unfortunately. The 50 kHz to 44.1 kHz conversion was not kind to the recordings. This is the reason why Telarc decided to reissue their early recordings in SACD/DSD form to break free from the old sample converters which were never transparent...
     
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  17. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Mid Atlantic
    This perception is of course confounded by the ubiquity of Burr Brown and TI chips. Any audiophile company making a CD player (when they used to make such things) had to use the same old chips everyone else used. They could only fiddle with the analog stage. But like operating systems if there was some poor design elements put in at the outset, then continually adding things on top of it doesn't really fix the basic problem. Yes the sampling rates are higher and filter artifacts are less. But I still don't hear the kind of midrange realism I get from these old 70s digital LPs.
     
  18. crooner

    crooner Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Sony and Burr Brown cornered the early DAC market back in the day. However, there was an american upstart called Intech that made a single chip 16 bit DAC. It was used in the very early versions of the Mitsubishi DP-101 CD player...

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Mid Atlantic
    My understanding is that it was only recently that non even sample conversions could be accomplished transparently. So yes I would think bad things happened when they made the change.

    On the other hand I have a Denon CD from 1986 which is the oldest CD in my collection and sounds pretty good. But by then Denon would have been using Redbook processors. Nevertheless they were still getting better sound from something they were doing.
     
  20. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Mid Atlantic
    Yes in terms of mass production, consumer features and marketing Sony was tops. Unfortunately they may have lost the baby in the process.
     
  21. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Mid Atlantic
    Apologies but can't type very well. It should be Denon OX-7007 in 1972.
     
  22. crooner

    crooner Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Since I currently don't have an LP playback system installed I gave this very early Denon CD a listen today. Actually it is a rip using EAC played back using 192 kHz upsampling filters on my Resonessence Labs Concero HD DAC.

    Sounds pretty damn good for early digital. Not harsh or overly aggressive. Actually quite smooth and listenable.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  23. crooner

    crooner Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    By the way, I am playing back rips of all my early digital recordings and the 192 kHz IIR and Apodizing filters really do wonders for the sound. Even the often maligned Glenn Miller "In The Digital Mood" CD is sounding quite decent. Not as dull. Opened up the sound!

    [​IMG]
     
  24. I don't mind In The Digital Mood at all. I have a radio station promo copy so maybe the mastering is different. It does have some of the worst cover artwork of all time, though.
     
    crooner likes this.
  25. Yep, same cover as the LP. Bleh!
     

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