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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. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Location:
    City of Angels
    Indeed, I listened to Montrose first album on CD and the track Rock Candy. Listen to the reverb or natural room sound on the drums in the intro. It's a fantastic sounding drum sound, and for a hard rock record it is perfect.

    When you listen to the CD, once the bass and electric guitar kick in, the room sound (reverb) on the drums gets destroyed. There is simply not enough resolution at 44.1 to display the delicate reverb of the drums at the same time that the electric guitar and bass is kicking the doors down.
    The limited 16/44.1 is being smashed to bits with the reverb being the first thing to go.

    On my original LP pressing, the drums' reverb does not diminish as those other elements come in.

    Of course I do not expect anyone at all to agree with my findings. I expect someone to tell me that I need to check my preemphasis flag and make sure it is correct, and that my motor is messin' with my D to A conversion, or that my $39.99 power strip is sucking out the ambiance from my CDs (BUT NOT MY LPs FOR SOME ODD REASON). Whatever, and whatever works for everyone else is all good by me.
     
    druboogie likes this.
  2. LeeS

    LeeS Martini Time

    Location:
    Atlanta
    I hope no one thinks I'm being too harsh in my view. I'm just pretty convinced on this one.

    To me, resolution and tonality go a bit "hand in hand". I think they compliment each other. Resolution seems to let me hear more of the natural tone of the instrument.
     
  3. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    Nope. If you want the format with most proven longevity, back things up to wax cylinders. Just make sure you keep a handle on the humidity and don't let any mice into the room!

    Seriously, the longevity of backup media is a big headache for archivists the world over. What you want is something that will retain quality for many decades. Acetate disks, at least the "Recordio Discs" and such designed for instant recording machines in the '30s and '40s, have aged terribly. Analogue tape has a pretty good track record, but the high frequencies deteriorate with time even if it *isn't* played, and duplication is slow and subject to generational loss. (Note that what Steve found a bit wanting was a dub from a master, not the master tape itself--in that guise, the tape defines the possible!) Kidding aside, we have wax cylinders that are still playable 100 years or more on--and, of course, many MORE wax cylinders that have decayed beyond playability. We also have metal mastering parts from the 78 era that are capable of making useable copies, although the vinyl pressings that I've heard from acoustic era metal parts have displayed noise surprisingly close to that of clean original shellac disks. Digital media are a huge question mark; I've read that some digital master tapes from the '80s have already deteriorated beyond playability, and the various sorts of optical discs, from the point of view of longevity, are all unproven experiments involving laminated systems of materials, a notoriously trouble-prone configuration. As hard drives become ever larger and cheaper, they present another possibility, but of course drive failure is an ever-present possibility, and remember that files created as recently as the mid-'80s are no longer readable with current operating systems (i.e., XP generation computers can't handle files created under CP/M). During transition periods, transcription is possible, but only at the cost of a lot of labor, time, and, ultimately, $$$$.
     
    cracklehead likes this.
  4. enVias

    enVias New Member

    Location:
    Adelade, Australia
    I find it interesting that you can hear resolution loss on a 16-bit CD.

    Was the audio dithered for the final 24-bit > 16-bit process?
     
  5. Scott Wheeler

    Scott Wheeler Forum Resident

    Location:
    ---------------
    i don't think you are being harsh. you hear what you hear and you tell us. OTOH I can see how one *can* easily shift tonality without loosing resolution.
     
  6. LeeS

    LeeS Martini Time

    Location:
    Atlanta
    Thanks Scott. In my experience tonality can be better with different DACs on the same material. It might be interesting to hear from Steve what SACD playback gear, such as ADC and DAC, was used at the time.
     
  7. Sean Keane

    Sean Keane Pre-Mono record collector In Memoriam

    Aren't acetates as good as regular LPs as far as holding up over time? Surely a dozen of them would last a few lifetimes.
     
  8. Scott Wheeler

    Scott Wheeler Forum Resident

    Location:
    ---------------


    well best thing would be to make the stampers and store them I think.
     
  9. dyno guy

    dyno guy Forum Resident

    Location:
    st.paul, MN, USA

    Yeah, I was wondering the same thing: what kind of SACD playback gear was used. I have no doubt that it was top-notch, but different DAC's can have an effect on sound quality, and therefore, tonality.

    Your description, Steve, of the listening comparison between different media was extremely interesting. Most baffling to me was your finding that standard redbook cd playback had more accurate tonality than DSD/SACD playback. It was good to read that you gave the nod to DSD/SACD in terms of resolution, over standard cd playback; otherwise, I would really have been stumped.

    Maybe I've drank too much of the Sony 'koolade' touting the benefits of DSD technology, and fallen into the 'numbers' trap. Quoting from Sony's own 2000 ES Training Manual:

    "Direct Stream Digital processing is dramatically different, even when compared to the most sophisticated PCM technology. This 1-bit system encodes music at an astonishing 2.8224 million samples per second. The result is more than just superb frequency response and dynamic range. Consumers hear the inner detail of choral ensembles. The reverberation trailing from a guitar chord. And the acoustic space surrounding the instruments. With DSD technology, users hear every nuance of sound reproduced with incredible ease and clarity."

    "The DSD analog-to-digital converter produces a one-bit pulse train that appears remarkably analog. In this manner, DSD encoding combines the advantages of digital recording with the warmer characteristics of analog sound. For recording artists, producers and engineers, DSD technology is a priceless new tool. It's a major step closer to pure music. And while SACD was launched as a high-end audiophile format, Sony fully intends to broaden the SACD product line in the future." ( all from pg. 22).

    Must say, reverting to the analog front, that I was surprised that the 15 ips tape copy sounded "more lackluster" than the lacquer/acetate. Why no Dolby A NR for the copy tape? What about 30ips? Guess that finding renders another tape-related question I had kind of....hopeless..... .

    Still, interesting stuff to read and ponder.:confused:
     
  10. Scott Wheeler

    Scott Wheeler Forum Resident

    Location:
    ---------------
    I think Steve pointed out that all the differences were subtle. how would anyone know there are small tonal changes from the master when listening to any SACD? The better resolution is easier to pick up on when listening to CDs v. SACDs but tonal shifts are a bit harder to pick up on without a reference
     
  11. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Location:
    City of Angels
    1-bit encoding at 2.8224 million samples, DSD analog-to-digital converter produces a one-bit pulse trains, DolbyNR at 30ips rather than 15ips, Pre emphisis flags, 24 bit super maps, jitter corrections, 24/96 pcm colorations vs. DSD, all the other distractions, and all that. :D

    Steve's post speaks for itself without any of that. :thumbsup:
     
  12. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Probably is.
     
  13. Espen R

    Espen R Forum Resident

    Location:
    Norway
    Some people find it interesting that one can hear resolution loss on a Mp3 256 file. I think it has something to do with lack of references.

    In Norway we have a record label/recording studio that's named 2L/Lindberg Lyd. Since 2005 all of their releases have been in mulichannel hybrid SACD. And a year back they began recording in pure DXD (Digital eXtreme Definition) DXD samples at 11.28 Mbit/s, thats 4 times DSD. But higher the resolution you have to start with, the better you hear the shortcomings of CD downconverted from the DSD master, IMO.
    There is soo much more resolution on the stereo SACD layer compared to the stereo CD layer, that if you don't recognize it, you must be deaf. Sorry to say.
    And I have spoken with Mr. Lindberg, he says he does all he can to make sure the CD layer sounds as good as it can.

    Pictures from the forthcoming release of Marianne Thorsen/Trondheimssolistene recorded in the Selbu church, of course a DXD recording.

    http://www.lindberg.no/english/collection/012.htm
     
  14. LeeS

    LeeS Martini Time

    Location:
    Atlanta
    I've heard about DXD but this is the first I have heard about an in-production title.
     
  15. Bob Olhsson

    Bob Olhsson Motown Legend

    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Some apples are being compared to oranges here. A Pacific Microsonics converter playing 44.1k x16 audio is not comparable to your average CD player.

    In theory, red book CD should be able to be virtually perfect. In practice, there is no perfect implementation. Format differences really come down to a question of implementation. A four cylinder car can be faster than a twelve.
     
  16. dyno guy

    dyno guy Forum Resident

    Location:
    st.paul, MN, USA

    I said I enjoyed Steve's post.

    What's wrong with raising a few 'sidebar' questions about some of the peripheral technical issues that might be involved here?????????????????
    Is there some law about asking some well-intended questions?

    Thought this was an open-ended discussion. I'm not questioning Steve's methodology or conclusions. I respect that he reported what he and Kevin heard. I just was surprised at some of the findings.

    Don't think there's any need to 'jump on' someone's post, and dismiss it out of hand. Think it's called oversimplification, and knee-jerk reaction......
     
  17. Scott Wheeler

    Scott Wheeler Forum Resident

    Location:
    ---------------

    Everyone like this one, done blind by top recording and/or mastering engineers using a genuine reference as a source such as a high quality master or better yet a live mic feed have all favored the LP medium. But this is only the fourth such acount I have seen. I do want to hear about the ones you keep alluding to. Please give us the details. Who did them? What was the reference source? How were the CDs and LPs mastered? etc etc
     
  18. Grant

    Grant Just chillin'!

    Location:
    United States
    Yup!:thumbsup:
     
  19. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Nothing at all.
     
  20. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Good morning all.

    Raise as many questions as you wish in this thread. That's one of the reasons I started it in the first place.

    Remember, the differences I found are SUBTLE. Still, surprising though.
     
  21. kevintomb

    kevintomb Forum Resident

    Steve....can you give more details about the OPEN REEL...was any noise reduction used etc...and WHY do you think it wasnt close to perfect? I mean just in your opinion...I know there is no definite answer to any of this since is was VERY SUBTLE as you say?
     
  22. Espen R

    Espen R Forum Resident

    Location:
    Norway
    Yes, back in 1985, in the days that I bought my first CD player, I was told that CD gave me perfect digital sound. Later, we have been told that the perfect has become even more perfect. I wonder how many decades more before the 16 bit/44.1 kHz medium declares itself as most perfect?

    When you listen to the first Marianne Thorsen Mozart disc recorded in DXD, already out in the market, you can on the DSD layer hear the size of the room, the ambience of the church that is spectacular. When switching to the CD layer, the whole thing collapse, and the strings become dryer in sound. The music becomes not so interesting listen to, compares to the SACD layer.
    And my Sony SACD player with Vacuumstate Level 5 modification is sonically onpair with the best there is, both in CD and SACD mode.
    I think this indicates the fact that 16/44 is not enough for captuering the whole sound.

    [​IMG]
     
    Tuco likes this.
  23. Rock Klammer

    Rock Klammer Formerly pompatusoflove

    Location:
    Clarkesville, Ga.
    Steve. What type of DSD recording system was used at the time?
     
  24. LeeS

    LeeS Martini Time

    Location:
    Atlanta
    :agree:

    This is what we noticed at Chesky Records as well when we started doing hirez in the early 90s. We also found it to be true on SACDs. It also echoes what I am doing now with 24/176.
     
  25. LeeS

    LeeS Martini Time

    Location:
    Atlanta
    On a related note...

    One handicap I have is that I am not an electrical engineer. This leads to sometimes funny discussions when a trained engineer brings up the Nyquist Theorem. In order to expand my horizons, I have been talking to a EE friend that designs chips. His take on Nyquist (which suggests 44.1khz is enough) is that the Theorem refers to a continuous wave. Real music, however, has many stops and starts, and he feels that the transients cannot be captured properly in such a low sampling rate.
     
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