[rollei_list] Re: OT Ancient Computers (was Re: Re: Rollei -Singapore) now analogue versus digital

  • From: Frank Dernie <Frank.Dernie@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: rollei_list@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 13 Jan 2009 16:27:51 +0000

Certainly my master tapes sound better than any other medium. Pity I don't have any really enjoyable music on them :-( As you say high frequencies -can- be recorded onto an LP but few pickup cartridges can actually track them, and even then, they wear away. One of the biggest things contributing to the sound of LPs are the multitude of spurious additions coming from the hardware. In the mid-band there are chassis and arm modes which can easily be only 20 to 30dB down, and feedback, both airborne and structure borne can, in some designs be at an equally high level too. The pickup cartridge and its equalising amplifier are also usually pretty inaccurate too. Anyway it sound pretty good to me anyway! It is a shame that CDs are being increasingly recorded at ridiculous levels. 16 bit should allow recordings with -less- compression than was typically used for vinyl, not more, and in the early days was certainly the case, at least on classical releases. I agree there is good and bad valve gear and solid state gear. Attributing good or bad to one of the other is silly. A bit like attributing good and bad to nationality! There are good guys and a**eholes of all nationalities :-)


Frank

On 13 Jan, 2009, at 11:09, Thor Legvold wrote:

I think most of the popularity of vinyl has to do with several simple factors.

1. Rolled off high end. It's hard to make vinyl sound shrill (although it can be done). A new record might have information as high as 18-20k, after a few playings you'll be lucky to find anything over 16k.

2. Distortion. Vinyl has a pretty high distortion compared to digital, and this often translates at the listening stage as more pleasing, even though technically it's less accurate.

3. Headroom. With the advent of digital limiting and CD's not having any physical limitation, the average levels have crept higher and higher until there's pretty much no headroom left. We're listening to white noise diguised as music. Due to the constraints of the physical medium (don't want the needle jumping out of the groove and angry customers demanding their money back), you'll always have at least around 12dB of headroom (crest factor) with vinyl, often more.

As far as valve gear goes, good valve gear has the same bandwidth as solid state. If you have no high end, you might want to either replace the valves, the driver (speaker) or find a better design. So many magazines tout the 'warmth' of valves, yet really good valve gear is amazingly transparent. As with solid state, 'really good' is largely a matter of design. Good designers generally create good designs, and there are plenty of horrible sounding solid state and digital boxes as there are valve ones.

Meridian was right. The LP is/was a low resolution delivery format. Done right, it can sound amazing. Same with CD. The problem is a whole bunch of folks that don't do it right, and consumers that either don't care or don't bother to speak up about it.

Master formats for recording in general are/were 1/4" or 1/2" tape, today digital formats are the norm (although *which* digital format and carrier is still being discussed).

There is one place that is releasing limited edition runs of 1/4" tape, essentially copies of the master tapes of classic recordings. Played on a properly set up tape machine, it should blow away pretty much anything else.

That's probably the big paradigmic shift we've had the last few years, moving from high quality and high maintenence (turntable needs to be adjusted regularly, tape machine cleaned, degaussed, aligned, cameras CLA'd, valves replaced, I'm sure you'll find a parellell in pretty much every area) to medium quality (good enough) and no maintenence (plug and play), i.e. CD players, digital cameras, transistors and IC's, etc.

My 2 cents.

Cheers,
Thor




On 12. jan.. 2009, at 16.38, Frank Dernie wrote:

The fact that several (no more) prominent people still use film is not evidence that it is better. In all practical ways digital has exceeded the capability of film for some time. Certainly if there is an effect which one wishes to achieve, using a vintage LF lens for example, film may have to be the choice but that does not make film better, just an appropriate choice in some circumstances. Analogue sound is the same. The fact that some people prefer the sound of analogue is not evidence that it is better (I am one by the way) but that it matches their taste in sound. My Mum likes her old valve (tube) radio - "lovely tone" and it does sound nice, but there are no high frequencies at all, along the same lines as LPs in real world systems but more extreme. When Meridian, the digital specialists, were looking at the frequency and amplitude of the "music data" on LP records the - highest- dynamic range they found was equivalent to 11-bit IIRC, though many "experts" attribute the inferiority of digital as they hear it to the inadequacy of 16 bit recording, which it almost certainly can't be. The shortcoming of the 44.1kHz sampling frequency is a different story in real engineering implementation though. I designed high end HiFi equipment for a while. I have never seen so many ridiculous pseudo-technological explanations for real phenomena in any other field of work I have done.
cheers,
Frank


On 12 Jan, 2009, at 14:58, Eric Goldstein wrote:

Hi Rob -

I think we have to choose our words carefully here. Yes, digital
capture will continue to evolve and continue to replace film as a
mainstream technology. As to whether it will "surpass" it is a dicey
matter. Remember, there are the cognoscenti who still operate analog
tape recording studios and have no shortage of customers recording
top-end albums there. And vinyl has reemerged as a small, top-end
premium medium for recording distribution. Film has been the dominant
visual technology for about a century, a remarkable stretch of time,
and it was inevitable that it be largely replaced by something else.
But I suspect film will remain with us as a small, top-end market for those who can afford to work in the best medium available. Film- makers such as Scorsese and Coppola have gone on record that they will NEVER
use HD/digital capture as a first generation medium; we will see who
will follow in their footsteps. I am confident some will even many
years from now...


Eric Goldstein

--

On Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 9:41 AM, Robert Lilley <54moggie@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx > wrote:
Eric,

But as you sort of said, it peaked and it's not evolving. Whether I like it or not, the 'emerging technology of digital imaging' will eventually surpass
film.

Rob


On Jan 12, 2009, at 9:29 AM, Eric Goldstein wrote:

Hi Elias -

Fair is in the eye of the beholder but my point really is to use the comparison to demonstrate the difference in the maturity between the two industries. 50 years ago, Rollei could design a film camera which is still close to the best available all these many years later, and which even bests the emerging technology of digital imaging on just
about every measure but low-light shooting and turn-around...


Eric Goldstein

--

On Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 9:24 AM, Eric Goldstein <egoldste@xxxxxxxxx >
wrote:

Hi Aaron -

Yes, I mis-spoke... it is the 25th anniversary of Macintosh.


Eric Goldstein

--

On Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 8:46 AM, Aaron Reece <oboeaaron@xxxxxxx> wrote:

On Jan 11, 2009, at 8:50 PM, Eric Goldstein wrote:

This month is the 25th anniversary of Apple...

Apologies for nitpicking (what? on THIS list?) but Apple Computer was
incorporated January 3, 1977, making it 32 years old.

Best regards,
Aaron
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