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SH Spotlight CD & Digital flaws: Our technique for finding A/D & D/A converters for DCC Golds in 1992

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Jun 6, 2008.

  1. Trebor

    Trebor Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL, USA
    Compact Discs don't have to disappear. Vinyl never did. I was told vinyl was over 25 years ago and it hasn't gone away yet. CDs will continue if there is a market for them... even if a smaller than current one.
  2. BIG ED

    BIG ED Forum Resident

    BIG thanks (as always) for sharing that digital historical tidbit, Steve.
  3. kevintomb

    kevintomb Forum Resident

    Very interesting steve...Thats pretty much what I hear...a minor difference with low level resolution and space...but I guess to me its minor enough to make CDs convenience win me over.
  4. stereoptic

    stereoptic Anaglyphic GORT Staff

    Steve - Is the Sony 1630 the standard today for transfers from analog to digital? If so, in your opinion, have transfers using it improved since the 1990's ?
  5. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Most people feel this way, yes. For engineers who have the privilege of hearing the original analog masters and comparing to the digital transfer it has always been frustrating.

    It's like the old doctor joke. "Doc, it hurts when I do this".

    "Don't do that, then!"
    VQRex likes this.
  6. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    No one uses the PCM-1630 system any more. It's like so 20th century, man...
    McLover likes this.
  7. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    Steve, what A/D converters do you like now?

    I agree, Wadia makes fantastic stuff. And some of the converters in the Sony 1600/1630 days were really terrible. I used to hear a kind of "ripping paper" distortion in low-level stuff all the time with those D/A's.
  8. kevintomb

    kevintomb Forum Resident

    I can imagine...You and your colleagues get to hear the "Real thing" first hand, we are just imagining the difference or in our ongoing debate over VINYL>CD arguing over who can and cant or who has good enough equipment or over the astoundingly huge ( hyperbole users in the forum) difference. In the end its kinda sad, I still at most hear a Minor difference in Air, low level resolution or detail or something. Too bad it cant all be the same, then we could just argue ( discuss:angel: ) masterings and music:D
  9. kevintomb

    kevintomb Forum Resident

    Steve, I have an ancient recording thats DIRECT TO DIGITAL ..from dmp (digital music products) recorded by Tom Jung in 1985 on a Mitsubishi x-80 digital recorder, according to the notes. Its titled "Flim and the BBs" "Big notes", a modern jazz trio from the 80s. It has Very good sound and Some great dynamics, really loud bass and so forth on some of the songs, kind of a showoffy sound similar to how Telarc does with classical. What do you know of this ancient digital recorder? Or is it another dustbin classic?
  10. Grant

    Grant Just chillin'!

    United States
    Great info, Steve!

    Problem is, with improved converters, we still don't get the benefit of then when the mastering guys have to tweak the sound to death for modern CDs.:sigh:
  11. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    I'm sure it sounds good. When recording to digital there is no analog original to compare it to. You just strive for a certain sound and can usually get it. If you want more echo, just add more until it reproduces it the way you want. Can't do that with old "fixed" analog mixes.
  12. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    To record A/D we use the Pacific Microsonics. For D/A playback I favor the Japanese Concert Fidelity DAC-040 tube digital to analog converter designed and built by Masataka Tsuda, it has very lifelike digital reproduction. Best I've heard so far.
    DavidFell likes this.
  13. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    True. That's irony for you. Use the real master tapes, the best A/D converters but digitally compress, No-Noise and otherwise muck up the sound.:laugh:
  14. I Am The Lolrus

    I Am The Lolrus New Member

    LA, CA, US
    when doing transfers do you always do A/D at final output spec (eg: when planning a CD, you make the conversion directly at 16/44.1) or do you start as high as possible and then deal with it later? If the answer is the former, is it because there is no audible difference or is it that its easier than to do the down sampling later?
  15. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    I never downsample. We do all mastering moves in analog and then into the Pacific Microsonics at 16. This is the way I've done it since back in the 80s.
  16. I Am The Lolrus

    I Am The Lolrus New Member

    LA, CA, US
    have you attempted it in the other manner though? Experimented with it?
  17. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

  18. I Am The Lolrus

    I Am The Lolrus New Member

    LA, CA, US
    interesting- thank you!
  19. Claus

    Claus Senior Member

    interesting thread... thanks Steve

    Do you have more infos (what kind of DACs) about the Concert Fidelity DAC-040 tube digital to analog converter?
  20. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    The Concert Fidelity DAC-040 tube d/a converter is a neat unit. Uses two 12AU7s and a (I think) XB4 rectifier tube. Sounds great. Not many of them out there. In fact, my unit is serial number #00001. Since these are totally hand built, one at a time by Masa Tsuda in Japan, it takes a while to fill orders. Nori Sayanagi, Silicon Arts Design/Concert Fidelity's marketing person has recently moved to the USA to expedite the growth of the company in North America.... I use their CF-80 line stage and am getting the Silicon Arts ZL-120 monoblock amplifiers as well as the SA SPA-4 phono stage. All wonderful neutral sounding hand-built units.

  21. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    A Forum member requested a bump up on this thread.

    Here you go..

  22. THANKS! somehow I missed this before :confused:
  23. nosticker

    nosticker Forum Guy

    Ringwood, NJ
    Gads, I remember back in 1990 doing a mix to a Sony DAT deck(forget which one). It was a nice, gentle ballad, with lots of detail played very well on a Martin D-28. Bass, drums, and a male/female vocal duet. Somehow, these are the hardest songs to mix! Anyway, did about a 2 hour final mix, then played it back and the result was appalling; it sounded nothing like the mix we had labored over. Weeks later, enter the Apogee A/D and D/A. Giant step forward. Hard to remember exactly which qualities were missing, but I remember thinking something like "our mix just got a bad chest cold".

    Later in the 90's, I used a SONY 8mm deck to record stuff on. I knew it was low-res PCM, but the song I recorded had heavy reverb on it. I played the song back, and it had less reverb! I thought the clarity was better, but the song now lacked punch.

    I think some of these experiences were why I took a long time to warm back up to the idea of "digital". Now I like it again. For a while there, I thought it had all the soul of a GPS system.

  24. Baron Von Talbot

    Baron Von Talbot Well-Known Member

    Fine inside info ! Very useful, so i learn something new every other day....

    The best phrase so far was " I never downsample.."

    After hearing some Reel To Reels over the Radio from Classical Live Recordings at grand opera houses all over the country from the big State Broadcasting Stations , sometimes from the 50ies and 6oies, sometimes LIVE i learned to appreciate the sound of a Master Tape. Can you call a Live Recording a Master Tape technically ?
    Anyway at least the sound is superb.
    What is the better sounding medium - Mastertape or Stamper (Direct To Disk) ? Vinyl or Reel ?
    Some questions I'd really like to know...
  25. Steve G

    Steve G Senior Member

    los angeles
    so true, I last used one in 1999

    if you made a mistake you had to start from scratch

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