SH Spotlight What sounds just like the analog master tape: CD, Vinyl, SACD or a 1:1 analog Reel tape copy?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Nov 30, 2007.

  1. bgiliberti

    bgiliberti Forum Resident

    Washington DC USA
    So I can understand, with Byrds CDs ( original vs Anesini), which would be accurate, and which realistic? I think I would say neither and both!
  2. Bytor Snowdog

    Bytor Snowdog Forum Resident

    Answer: The one that sounds better, sounds better :)
  3. Espen R

    Espen R Forum Resident

    More like a change of tonality than loss of tonality. But probably not anymore with todays modern converters.

    Similar things happened in the history of CD in the late 80's when Panasonics/Technics came upon the market with the very first D/A converters in CD players that used PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation) technology. It was the 3,5 bit MASH (Multi stAge noiSe sHaping) D/A converter. It was cheap to produce, it performed well and sounded good, especially in the higher frequencies. But, it had a sonic signature to it. I owned a Harman Kardon CD player produced in 1990 that shared this same D/A chip with Technics.

    What this early CD player with MASH D/A converter and DSD/SACD has in common is the use of Noise Shaping. And disadvantage by use of Noise Shaping can "be heard" if not done right.

    Today, nearly everything in consumer and professional A/D and D/A make use of noise shaping.

    A note from 1989 that explained Noise Shaping. "A Complex Recipe For Better Digital Sound".
    `Noise Shaping` A Complex Recipe For Better Digital Sound
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  4. bgiliberti

    bgiliberti Forum Resident

    Washington DC USA
    Is noise shaping the same as upsampling?
  5. Grant

    Grant A Brady-Boomer Musical Free-Spirit

    No! The two have nothing to do with each other.

    Noise shaping is a method of moving the dither noise around.
    Upsampling is converting a lower sampling rate to something higher.
  6. Tusen Takk

    I didn't consider that it could be do to Converters and Quantization. That explains a lot, and while being somewhat complex, I think I understand it better now.
  7. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident

    Curious, did Steve do more experiments after that initial post?

    I read the first 8 pages and the last 2 pages of the thread, I apologize ahead of time if I missed this information in the pages between.

    Did Steve did same experiments in another studio?

    How about doing same experiments, but using digital master?

  8. bgiliberti

    bgiliberti Forum Resident

    Washington DC USA
    My daddy always told me if you know you have to apologize for something in advance, don't do it. :tsk: Steve has several great posts within this thread, which I think will answer your questions directly from him better than I could. That said, to the best of my knowledge, he has only told us about one such test, but I don't recall if it involved a dgitital master -- I don't so, though I could be wrong.
    pdxway likes this.
  9. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident

    You are correct, I read all the pages for Steve's comments and there is no mention of retest.

    So, I am still wondering if the CD sounded different observation is only true for that instance in that specific studio, true for most studios, or true for all studios, including mater tape or master digital transfer to CD format.

  10. bgiliberti

    bgiliberti Forum Resident

    Washington DC USA
    I guess the "reproducibility" question is always out there with just one observation, but I interpreted his comments to apply to more than just that one studio, i.e., generally. What makes you wonder whether a digital master would be different, or is it more of a "could be" question ?
  11. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident

    Yeah, it is more a "could be" question for digital master. The chain of data transfer got to be different between digital master vs tape master.

    Also, the transfer process from tape master to digital might be different between studios? Or all studios use the same method? :confused:
  12. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident

    2 years after original post, Steve himself mentioned that a new way of doing dsd was a great improvement and the results of original test could be different if he was to use the new method.

    This tells me that I should also be wary of this particular studio's way of transferring master tape to CD format. May be there is improvement possibility. May be other studios with other proprietary transfer chain can do it better.

    Basically, my point is this: I think it is a flaw reasoning for other vinyl fans to use the first post to support their assertion that vinyl is superior to CD.
  13. More like ten years after original post.
  14. libertycaps

    libertycaps Forum Resident

    Portland, OR, USA
    Only read the OP.

    Vintage analog cut LPs made a lot more sense after buying higher quality gear that does the format justice.
  15. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident

    Hmm, when did Steve comment this year? I thought I only saw in 2009 comment.
  16. Sorry. What was I thinking?
    pdxway likes this.
  17. wes

    wes Forum Resident

    Very fascinating. Thanks Steve,
    I'm curious about the DSD tonality shift.
    with the flat DSD transfer/playback, did the format shift the tonality darker or brighter?.. was it in the high frequencies, mids?
    Mr_Vinyl likes this.
  18. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    Please note, our DSD transfer back then used a machine that I did not care for. We changed machines right before the Nat King Cole projects and that DSD capture was spot on. It would have been up there with the acetate record capture most likely. The PCM capture might be improved with a more modern A/D but not as wonderful as the DSD. So there.
    marcb, snkcube, marka and 4 others like this.
  19. wes

    wes Forum Resident

    Okay, so it's not inherent in DSD..
    Thanks Steve
  20. Raunchnroll

    Raunchnroll Forum Resident

    This thread is interesting in its relation to the steadily receding technology of magnetic tapes and playback media like vinyl and CD. While vinyl has undergone a slight revival, and CD may eventually experience something similar, both formats are still in decline in the overall picture. Still relevant for reissues and re-releases no doubt, and for audio hounds as well, but I see myself someday as the old man who plays his old music in his old house using archaic technology. I might as well have a steam boiler in the basement.
  21. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Chevelle Ma Belle

    Mid Atlantic
    Given that there are multiple PCM rates above CD Redbook, how does the introduction of multiple higher DSD rates than 64 affect perceived transparency if at all?

    Below is the only somewhat controlled test I could find of the same mastertape track encoded at 3 PCM rates and two DSD rates in files:

    PCM v DSD Comparison: 16/44.1, 24/96, 24/192, 64x DSD, 128x DSD
  22. marcb

    marcb Forum Resident

    DC area
    Didn’t you do some things prior to the NKC projects that “offset” (for lack of a better word) the tonality change by the DSD converter you were using then? Thus (given that resolution, etc wasn’t an issue with earlier converter) the end result was still pretty much the same as with later converters, but it just required a little extra tweaking on your end to get there?
  23. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

  24. Mr_Vinyl

    Mr_Vinyl Forum Resident

    Think of the old telephones (landlines); archaic technology compared to today's smartphones. Less practical, has a cord (sometimes two), but for sound quality, no smartphone presently in existence can beat it.
  25. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident

    Los Angeles CA USA
    Because it is less accurate! Hey, there's only 1 bit of information, noise-shaped to hell and back. And if you look at the tiniest info, I saw a demo once encoding/decoding and whereas PCM was stable, the DSD was not, it jumped all over the place. On the other hand, one fellow corresponded to me "But if it measures so bad, why does it sound so good?!?"-good question. Though on the other other hand, I'd observe that vanishingly few people have actual valid A/B comparisons like Steve did to base their opinion on, so most people really have no valid basis to have an opinion at all! Not that it stops anyone :rolleyes:

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