The Analog Embrace: How Some Experiences Are Surviving the Digital Age

yRaz

Posts: 4,784   +5,964
You are neither dumb nor wrong. You have a hobby and you enjoy it - nothing wrong with that, and no one should ever try to tell you otherwise! However, I have to question the sanity of installing four 15" woofers and 12,000 watts of amplification in anything smaller than a stadium! :joy: That could take out teeth, much less eardrums!!!
I never claimed to be sane
 

EdmondRC

Posts: 394   +566
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Bullwinkle M

Posts: 812   +743
So, I'm curious, what is YOUR preferred audio setup?

My preferred setup is equalizing every song to a flat response as a starting point so they all have the same relative EQ to each other

Generate a stereo pink noise file and use it in izotope RX to learn the EQ function
Then pop each song into izotope RX and EQ each song to the flat reference response using machine learning
Some songs can be EQ'd to 100% flat and some can only be EQ'd to 60-80% of flat to sound it's best
Some Rolling Stones songs cannot be matched to a flat response as each track in the mix has a different EQ and the result is horrible

When all the songs (except Rolling Stones) now have the same basic EQ response, it becomes incredibly easy to use a separate stand alone Equalizer for the speakers or headphones you are using

I use Equalizer APO with the peace overlay

It is a systemwide EQ that affects every source in Windows
Movies / music and Youtube videos now all have the exact same EQ curve for whichever speakers or headphones I wish to use

Stereo width and imaging is a separate issue that can be handled in dozens of different ways, but I stick with a reference width on a reference set of headphones to get the same relative width for everything

This way I don't get one song sounding mono / one that is perfect and one that is too wide
They all have the same relative width
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,784   +5,964
My preferred setup is equalizing every song to a flat response as a starting point so they all have the same relative EQ to each other

Generate a stereo pink noise file and use it in izotope RX to learn the EQ function
Then pop each song into izotope RX and EQ each song to the flat reference response using machine learning
Some songs can be EQ'd to 100% flat and some can only be EQ'd to 60-80% of flat to sound it's best
Some Rolling Stones songs cannot be matched to a flat response as each track in the mix has a different EQ and the result is horrible

When all the songs (except Rolling Stones) now have the same basic EQ response, it becomes incredibly easy to use a separate stand alone Equalizer for the speakers or headphones you are using

I use Equalizer APO with the peace overlay

It is a systemwide EQ that affects every source in Windows
Movies / music and Youtube videos now all have the exact same EQ curve for whichever speakers or headphones I wish to use

Stereo width and imaging is a separate issue that can be handled in dozens of different ways, but I stick with a reference width on a reference set of headphones to get the same relative width for everything

This way I don't get one song sounding mono / one that is perfect and one that is too wide
They all have the same relative width

I was talking media+amp+speakers. As a sound engineer, what equipment do you have in your personal listening setup?
 

Bullwinkle M

Posts: 812   +743
I was talking media+amp+speakers. As a sound engineer, what equipment do you have in your personal listening setup?
As a sound engineer, I demand that ALL media MUST all be "relatively" the same from an EQ and imaging/width perspective

after that, I can use any amp and speakers with a flat playback response as long as the music sounds as good as it can possibly get on that system

It will now sound great on any "FLAT" reference system regardless of speakers

And No, I will not play the game of which amp or speakers are better with you

I use whatever works (which is a lot)


 

yRaz

Posts: 4,784   +5,964
As a sound engineer, I demand that ALL media MUST all be "relatively" the same from an EQ and imaging/width perspective

after that, I can use any amp and speakers with a flat playback response as long as the music sounds as good as it can possibly get on that system

It will now sound great on any "FLAT" reference system regardless of speakers

And No, I will not play the game of which amp or speakers are better with you

I use whatever works (which is a lot)
I didn't mean to come off thar way, I'm an enthusiast and have many different setups. I wasn't trying to bait you. As some who has tens of thousands in audio equipment I am legitimately curious as to your preferred listening platform. I love my 4311's with a maranatz 3800, what's your goto?
 

passwordistaco

Posts: 409   +944
My preferred setup is equalizing every song to a flat response as a starting point so they all have the same relative EQ to each other

Generate a stereo pink noise file and use it in izotope RX to learn the EQ function
Then pop each song into izotope RX and EQ each song to the flat reference response using machine learning
Some songs can be EQ'd to 100% flat and some can only be EQ'd to 60-80% of flat to sound it's best
Some Rolling Stones songs cannot be matched to a flat response as each track in the mix has a different EQ and the result is horrible

When all the songs (except Rolling Stones) now have the same basic EQ response, it becomes incredibly easy to use a separate stand alone Equalizer for the speakers or headphones you are using

I use Equalizer APO with the peace overlay

It is a systemwide EQ that affects every source in Windows
Movies / music and Youtube videos now all have the exact same EQ curve for whichever speakers or headphones I wish to use

Stereo width and imaging is a separate issue that can be handled in dozens of different ways, but I stick with a reference width on a reference set of headphones to get the same relative width for everything

This way I don't get one song sounding mono / one that is perfect and one that is too wide
They all have the same relative width
Don't bother with the Rolling Stones. Problem solved!
 

p51d007

Posts: 3,368   +3,029
You can over sample digital all you want to make it sound like analog...but it's still DIGITAL.
Analog still sounds better. Digital is just more convenient.
Give me a good turntable, an old TUBE (VALVE) amplifier and some good speakers any day.
 

Bullwinkle M

Posts: 812   +743
what's your goto?

Lately?
I don't have a goto....

I still have a basement full of Dynaudio drivers from when I was building reference systems back in the 1980's with custom made hybrid crossovers and Denon monoblock amps

Today, I live the simple life

At home I simply have a pair of JBL LSR-305's (original 1st gen) on each computer desk, and I recently found my 15 year old Klipsch Promedia Ultra 2.0 computer speakers that the internal amp died on 12 years ago

I ripped the dead amp out and added an SMSL AO100 Bluetooth amp for my laptop
This is a new Infineon Merus amp with a remote control
An AC extension cord was sacrificed for speaker cables and silver soldered directly to the crossovers
The amp rolls off at the bass end but that is irrelevant as the speakers do too
The amp sounds incredibly good on these tiny speakers and is well matched

I really don't care much about building anything expensive at this point
I just need an amp that is well matched for the speakers being used and a set of speakers that can handle some EQ without freaking out

These tiny Klipsch speakers require very little EQ and the amp is not driver dependent

Good enough for me!
 
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yRaz

Posts: 4,784   +5,964
Lately?
I don't have a goto....

I still have a basement full of Dynaudio drivers from when I was building reference systems back in the 1980's with custom made hybrid crossovers and Denon monoblock amps

Today, I live the simple life

At home I simply have a pair of JBL LSR-305's (original 1st gen) on each computer desk, and I recently found my 15 year old Klipsch Promedia Ultra 2.0 computer speakers that the internal amp died on 12 years ago

I ripped the dead amp out and added an SMSL AO100 Bluetooth amp for my laptop
This is a new Infineon Merus amp with a remote control
An AC extension cord was sacrificed for speaker cables and silver soldered directly to the crossovers
The amp rolls off at the bass end but that is irrelevant as the speakers do too
The amp sounds incredibly good on these tiny speakers and is well matched

I really don't care much about building anything expensive at this point
I just need an amp that is well matched for the speakers being used and a set of speakers that can handle some EQ without freaking out

These tiny Klipsch speakers require very little EQ and the amp is not driver dependent

Good enough for me!
its not a competition, you obviously know what you're talking about. You don't have to flex, but I'd really like to know what YOU like to listen to music on. I have a million different Maranantz amps with different speakers from the 4311's to the Decade 10's

Just come enjoy it with us! I can put together a few decade 10's and a few maranatz amps if you want
 

Bullwinkle M

Posts: 812   +743
its not a competition, you obviously know what you're talking about. You don't have to flex, but I'd really like to know what YOU like to listen to music on. I have a million different Maranantz amps with different speakers from the 4311's to the Decade 10's

Just come enjoy it with us! I can put together a few decade 10's and a few maranatz amps if you want

No thanks
If I live another 10 years, the 6th gen merus amps should make Class A amplifiers obsolete

I'm on gen 2
 

trgz

Posts: 414   +192
I did experiment a couple of years back and bought an LP & CD set of a new release. I losslessly ripped the CD to my DAP and also to 320 on my iPod and set about a blind comparison of the four sources - not easy getting all four sources synched. Straight off the bat the vinyl (I only have a humble Rega 2 and Bias setup), whilst very quiet and pleasant to my ears, just wasn't as good as the CD, the iPod was close to the CD (I did struggle to tell) and the DAP was marginally better again. I've done other tests on older vinyl against decent CDs (not where they've been brickwalled/compressed) and the DAP wins every time - I guess it all ends up being down to the detail and the presence(?) of the music. And if I want that 'vinyl sound' then I can tweak the DAP's parametric EQ to dial down some of the detail ;-)
 

trieste1s

Posts: 83   +112
TechSpot Elite
I would agree, but I've read 40 years of counter-arguments from LP audiophiles. My only point was that none of those arguments even begin to hold water when you're talking about 24-bit/48khz or higher digital audio.
40 years of unscientific counter-arguments.

High-end 16-bit, 44.1 kHz equipment are out there, flexing that noise floor and noise-shaped dynamic range that would blow out the eardrums of even Clark Kent if fully utilised, but nobody's interested in testing these.

All just want to see "moar bigga numbers zomg 24-bit zomg 96/192 kHz".

On the other hand, LP "audiophiles" just prefer their warm-distorted sound, that's really all there is to it. They could add the exact same type of distortion to "sterile" digitals and make the digitals sound exactly the same at a tiny fraction of the cost, but they won't... it simply doesn't justify their highly expensive purchases.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 3,053   +3,949
TechSpot Elite
I understand the nostalgia for vinyl, hell, I grew up listening to Dark Side of the Moon on vinyl but the idea that digital media somehow sounds different to the human ear is a placebo effect, that is to say, it is imaginary.

"Jason Corey, recording engineer and professor of performing arts technology at the University of Michigan says that by almost every objective measure, given an acceptable bitrate (the amount of data per second the audio file contains), digital is going to be superior to vinyl. What are those objective measures? Corey lists four:
https://www.discovermagazine.com/the-sciences/vinyl-vs-digital-which-sounds-better
Distortion: A measure of how well the recording represents the original source.
Noise: Any sound you don’t want to hear in a recording, caused by dust on the album or small scratches in the vinyl, for example.
Frequency response: How well and how evenly the recording reproduces the very lowest and very highest frequencies of the original source.
Dynamic range: The difference between loud sounds and quiet sounds. Digital allows for a much wider dynamic range than vinyl."

The problem that I have with physical media like vinyl, cassettes and CDs is the fact that it's more plastic waste that we don't need in the world. Anyone who has seen pictures of the crap-load of plastic floating in the northern Pacific would understand:
maxresdefault.jpg

Call me woke if you want but I don't think that this is worth it. People who whine about the sound of vinyl aren't thinking about what happens to that vinyl when it breaks. Sooner or later it will be plastic waste because...
"Nothing last forever but the Earth and sky!"
- Kansas, 1978

My emotional love of vinyl albums does not come before the well-being of the planet of which I am but a feature.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,838   +1,909
My emotional love of vinyl albums does not come before the well-being of the planet of which I am but a feature.
I tried to calculate what percentage of the annual plastic waste generated is from vinyl CDs, but my desktop calculator reported an underflow error, as it can't represent a value smaller than 0.00000000000001.

In any case, vinyl, unlike many plastics, photo-degrades rather rapidly in sunlight, which is why vinyl products intended for outdoor use always add UV stabilizers to their production.
 

Bullwinkle M

Posts: 812   +743
All just want to see "moar bigga numbers zomg 24-bit zomg 96/192 kHz".

Being capable of 352Khz or 384Khz does not mean the DAC sounds better at these higher frequencies
"Most" modern DAC's perform optimally around 88.2 or 96Khz and actually sound their best at these frequencies

If your speakers and playback equipment are good enough to hear the difference, you can verify this yourself

While playing a 44.1 X 16bit audio track, switch the DAC between 44.1 and 88.2Khz

Did you hear the difference?
If yes, then keep playing the music as you switch between 88.1 and 176 (or 352)
If you cannot hear the difference, then your speakers and/or amp and/or DAC are crap and you should just leave it set to 44.1 and be happy
If you did hear the difference, then which frequency was it and which DAC are you using?

If it sounded best above 96Khz, congratulations, you are in a very rare and elite club and probably a liar as well
------------------------------------------------------------------
16 bit / 24bit or 32bit ?

Setting your USB DAC to 32 bit simply Pads the audio file for distortionless playback as you lower the digital volume in Windows

Leaving your DAC @ 16bits removes musical content from 44.1 X 16bit audio files as you lower the digital volume control

Setting your DAC to 24bit also helps but it is best to leave it at 32 bits if you have that option for best results and the greatest control over the volume

This will give you ALL of the music even as you lower the volume all the way down to zero
 
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trgz

Posts: 414   +192
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A 'bit' amusing
 

trieste1s

Posts: 83   +112
TechSpot Elite
I understand the nostalgia for vinyl, hell, I grew up listening to Dark Side of the Moon on vinyl but the idea that digital media somehow sounds different to the human ear is a placebo effect, that is to say, it is imaginary.

"Jason Corey, recording engineer and professor of performing arts technology at the University of Michigan says that by almost every objective measure, given an acceptable bitrate (the amount of data per second the audio file contains), digital is going to be superior to vinyl. What are those objective measures? Corey lists four:
https://www.discovermagazine.com/the-sciences/vinyl-vs-digital-which-sounds-better
Distortion: A measure of how well the recording represents the original source.
Noise: Any sound you don’t want to hear in a recording, caused by dust on the album or small scratches in the vinyl, for example.
Frequency response: How well and how evenly the recording reproduces the very lowest and very highest frequencies of the original source.
Dynamic range: The difference between loud sounds and quiet sounds. Digital allows for a much wider dynamic range than vinyl."

The problem that I have with physical media like vinyl, cassettes and CDs is the fact that it's more plastic waste that we don't need in the world. Anyone who has seen pictures of the crap-load of plastic floating in the northern Pacific would understand:
maxresdefault.jpg

Call me woke if you want but I don't think that this is worth it. People who whine about the sound of vinyl aren't thinking about what happens to that vinyl when it breaks. Sooner or later it will be plastic waste because...
"Nothing last forever but the Earth and sky!"
- Kansas, 1978

My emotional love of vinyl albums does not come before the well-being of the planet of which I am but a feature.

Despite the common public perception of the patch existing as giant islands of floating garbage, its low density (4 particles per cubic metre (3.1/cu yd)) prevents detection by satellite imagery, or even by casual boaters or divers in the area. This is because the patch is a widely dispersed area consisting primarily of suspended "fingernail-sized or smaller"—often microscopic—particles in the upper water column known as microplastics.
 

lazer

Posts: 453   +138
I was in a store that sold new and old LP records. I asked the fellow selling them why do people buy these, mp3 seems as good, cheaper, copy-able, and so on. He said people claim that they have better sound.

I can't hear the difference, but I have many many worn and newer LP and 78's and 45's that I havent listened to in years. I still have my phonograph too.
 
If I told you I was introducing a new music medium that had only 30 decibels of stereo separation, a clearly audible noise floor that is only 60 decibels down on a good day, a dynamic range even less than 60 decibels, a frequency response of only about 40 Hertz to 15 KHz on a good day, and that this new medium would introduce second, third, and fourth order harmonic distortion, would you buy it? Then why do people still think vinyl albums and turntables are so great???

Sorry whilst I might agree modern digit systems have made huge strides in quality since their introduction I think the comment about frequency response of analogue LP’s made me smile as it’s every so slightly misleading.

Back in the early 1970’s Mr Shibata developed a stylus tip for decoding CD4 (quad) records at 45kHz whereas CD’s have a brick wall 22kHz so yes with 96kHz+ sampling now available we have managed to match the figures from 1973…
 

trieste1s

Posts: 83   +112
TechSpot Elite
Sorry whilst I might agree modern digit systems have made huge strides in quality since their introduction I think the comment about frequency response of analogue LP’s made me smile as it’s every so slightly misleading.

Back in the early 1970’s Mr Shibata developed a stylus tip for decoding CD4 (quad) records at 45kHz whereas CD’s have a brick wall 22kHz so yes with 96kHz+ sampling now available we have managed to match the figures from 1973…
"Brick wall" is somewhat of a misnomer, though a steeper frequency filter does have to deal with more ringing in the time domain. How this is dealt with is beyond my technical understanding.

However, weighing pros and cons, these filters are a GOOD, not bad thing.

Unless you have some published papers on the faithful reproducibility of signals between 22 and 45 kHz on LP, I'd have to assume that there must be tons of ultrasonic noise aliasing down into the audible range. That is, even though ultrasonic noise is inaudible to us, the aliasing artifacts they end up creating are adding significant distortion to what is audible to listeners.
 

Bullwinkle M

Posts: 812   +743
I think the comment about frequency response of analogue LP’s made me smile as it’s every so slightly misleading.

Back in the early 1970’s Mr Shibata developed a stylus tip for decoding CD4 (quad) records at 45kHz whereas CD’s have a brick wall 22kHz so yes with 96kHz+ sampling now available we have managed to match the figures from 1973…

Correct, we have not matched the massive distortion figures from 1973

With digital, we no longer have transformers adding harmonics at every step in the transmission line or tubes adding additional harmonics and distortion for the so-called "Audiophile" gear, massive frequency tweaks and compression to fit the content of a CD onto an LP without having the needle jump tracks, the clicks, the pops or the out of phase crosstalk adding a false sense of ambience from the stylus itself

If you want your CD to keep the distortion figures from 1973, then you will need to add compression, EQ, out of phase crosstalk, transformer harmonics and tube distortion in many cases, and the limited potential of speakers and amps of that era

If you really enjoy the additional distortion of a stylus tip for decoding CD4 (quad) records at 45kHz, you can try MQA in the digital realm
 
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trgz

Posts: 414   +192
CD’s have a brick wall 22kHz
I think you may be using terminology that is actually only really applicable to volume - brickwalling applies to all peaks in volume regardless of frequency - terms like 'lowpass filtering', 'maximum upper limit' or even 'glass ceiling' would be more appropriate.