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First generation CD players - how good?

pkwba

New member
Musical taste and cd players.

Musical taste and cd players.

Was there ever an update on your listening results?

You may find of interest some comments made about the CDP-101 in this article: http://www.stereophile.com/content/meridians-bob-stuart
I think that since 1986 Robert Stuart has changed his views on digital coding and decoding analogue signals many times. In fact, the capabilities and the sound of cd or multi-players is changing all the time with advance of digital technology.

If someone after his own long-term experience claims that the quality of sound from old cd-player is satisfactory enough I do believe him. For instance I re-play my cds mainly with very advanced and praised multi-format player today but I totally don't understand the need for upsampling digital data from cd before decoding / converting to analogue signal. For me all these (multitude) options sound unnatural, I personally hear and feel the best result is obtained without them with dynamics being the most convincing. Maybe if we consider modern cd-player as a superfast digital decoding / converting audio machine it obtains the best results from cd without all these additional processing power consuming emulations ? I don't know :).

ATB
 

DP100

New member
First generation CD players

First generation CD players

Well, we can address the convenient marketing tale that has accompanied the CD story, oft repeated, that 'first generation CD players had nasty DACs and a horrible, harsh sound'. Personally, I've never subscribed to that convenient line, but we will see because we certainly have the means here to make audio comparisons for you to decide for yourselves.
The convenient marketing tale in the first place was "Perfect Sound Forever!" - remember? A magnificent lie if ever there was one. Now, of course, we have the SACD fairytale: "The CD was a good idea, but this (SACD) is even better".
I've always thought you can't deceive people the same way twice. Boy, was I wrong!

There was (and still is) so much wrong with (first generation) CD-players that you wonder if the people responsible for the original design had actually listened to what they were going to send out into the world. From the very beginning it was a medium devised by theorists - not audio/music people. Had they actually listened to and consulted with recording engineers, music producers and, above all, musicians, then maybe it would have turned out otherwise. Now we're forever stuck with the Philips/Sony Red Book 16-bit standard.

Those first gen players had awful converters that didn't even comply with 16-bit resolution. They still don't. Converters with a claimed 20 or 24-bit resolution in practice (measurement) often barely make it to 18-bit. The brick wall digital filtering at 20kHz has an even more devastating effect on sound quality, flattening the perception of the concert hall soundstage, diminishing reverberation and killing the timbre of acoustic instruments; most notably guitar and piano.

Some claim there is no relevant musical information above 20K, because that is supposed to be the upper limit of human hearing. And therefore this information is irrelevant and can be dispensed with altogether. However, research into this matter has extensively shown that the complex overtones we hear by listening to, for instance, a grand piano, are for a significant part made up of tones that go out far beyond 20K. Throw that information away and you destroy a large part of the timbre of the instrument.

Media like analog tape and direct-to-disc vinyl, which are capable of going out far beyond 20K demonstrate this clearly. On top of that they are media of unlimited resolution as opposed to digital recording and playback media which rely on chopping up the audio signal in a rather rude way (stepped ladder) and later on in the process need to 'restore' that signal in some approximate way by connecting the 'dots' back together. Clearly not the most trustworthy or elegant way of doing things, is it?
 

G Spiggott

New member
Acclimatisation?

Acclimatisation?

It's fascinating to hear people's recollections of their first exposure to CD, but I can't help but wonder if there are a couple of reasons why they do not quite live up to the 'narrative':

1. Early CD mastering may have been a hit and miss affair - apparently sometimes they inadvertently had tape pre-emphasis etc. Listening to a few of these might cloud anyone's judgement from then on.

2. 1980s CD players were a bit cheap and nasty looking - in contrast to our family's Thorens record deck, for example. Another psychological challenge for CD to contend with

3. At the time, everyone would have been acclimatised to the sound of LP, and their systems would be basically designed for the more gentle, dynamically-compressed sound of LP. As time has worn on, it is natural for people to have become more prosperous and to have bought better speakers and become accustomed to the more dynamic sound of digital audio - a plausible explanation for some people's perception that CD players got better over time.

When I think back to the speakers and headphones I was using in the 1980s, I realise that I am in no position to judge whether CD was good or bad. The people in the recording studios would be using big speakers and would be used to listening to the live feed, and most of them thought that digital audio was fantastic from the first moment they heard it.

We have now come through a period where digital technology has been 'abused' to produce over-compressed over-processed recordings (auto-tune and so on). As a result, many people think they know what 'digital' sounds like and it is impossible to persuade them otherwise.
 

willem

Well-known member
References please?

References please?

Would you mind giving some references to the scientific literature concerned? I ask, because your claims about the inadequacies of digital go against all the scientific literature that I know.
 

A.S.

Administrator
Staff member
Vehemently disagree.... the reality of human hearing

Vehemently disagree.... the reality of human hearing

There was (and still is) so much wrong with (first generation) CD-players that you wonder if the people responsible for the original design had actually listened to what they were going to send out into the world. From the very beginning it was a medium devised by theorists - not audio/music people. Had they actually listened to and consulted with recording engineers, music producers and, above all, musicians, then maybe it would have turned out otherwise. Now we're forever stuck with the Philips/Sony Red Book 16-bit standard.

Those first gen players had awful converters that didn't even comply with 16-bit resolution. They still don't. Converters with a claimed 20 or 24-bit resolution in practice (measurement) often barely make it to 18-bit. The brick wall digital filtering at 20kHz has an even more devastating effect on sound quality, flattening the perception of the concert hall soundstage, diminishing reverberation and killing the timbre of acoustic instruments; most notably guitar and piano.

Some claim there is no relevant musical information above 20K, because that is supposed to be the upper limit of human hearing. And therefore this information is irrelevant and can be dispensed with altogether. However, research into this matter has extensively shown that the complex overtones we hear by listening to, for instance, a grand piano, are for a significant part made up of tones that go out far beyond 20K. Throw that information away and you destroy a large part of the timbre of the instrument.

Media like analog tape and direct-to-disc vinyl, which are capable of going out far beyond 20K demonstrate this clearly. On top of that they are media of unlimited resolution as opposed to digital recording and playback media which rely on chopping up the audio signal in a rather rude way (stepped ladder) and later on in the process need to 'restore' that signal in some approximate way by connecting the 'dots' back together. Clearly not the most trustworthy or elegant way of doing things, is it?
I can find little in this post which I can agree with, and most of it I strongly disagree with. As far as I am concerned to write-off the CD system is to discredit the most serious intellectual effort undertaken since WW2 in the audio arena by Sony/Philips engineers. They concluded, and I see no reason to challenge them then, now or in the future, that 16bit, 44.1k sampling was, is and will likely remain as good as a domestic audio delivery system needs to be. Notice that I italicised those last words. The key words was were delivery and domestic. Contrast that with the studio environment where audio (music) is captured, edited, equalised, processed, re-edited, re-equalised, re-processed (several times) then finally mastered to the delivery format. It should not be any surprise then that at the creative end of the audio chain, in the studio, that a slightly higher standard of audio resolution is required to minimise the intergenerational degradation of 'working on' audio. But that issue simply does not apply at the output of the audio chain, the delivery of a fixed music file to the home, on CD or streamed (or on LP for that matter).

The discussion about supersonic audio above 20kHz is just not relevant, and I look forward to impartial, credible research presented to belie the Sony/Philips efforts. Super-audio tones, those above about 20kHz, are a non-issue as far as the reproduction of music at home to ordinary humans is concerned and of mild curiosity as a laboratory study in forensic audio.

I have two Sony CDP-101 CD players, one I bought the day CD transports arrived on the High Street (3 March 1983 I recall) and I'm confident that it cannot be sonically identified from a current super-dooper machine or probably from a digital rip of the same audio. So, you have our attention, now please develop your argument and ideally, back it up with audio clips, or tell us how we could put your comments to a practical test of that sort we are rather good at doing here on HUG.

I remind readers that many, parhaps most attendees at live classical concerts, such as La Boheme last night at the Royal Opera House, will be in their 50s -70s. Age related hearing loss, presbycusis, will effect every member of the audience simply through age (let alone life exposure to loud sounds etc.) and will, in effect, give their ears the sensitivity characteristic of turning down the overall volume and the treble tone control on their amplifier, or throwing a cloth over the speaker drive units. From this excellent guide here, page 2, you can see how early and dramatic the reduction in HF sensitivity can be for a typical subject late in life. More on the subject here from which I have taken this shocking graph:

You must be registered for see images attach


I have no doubt that all those audience members, even those in the 80s who have no worthwhile HF acuity at all, can recognise the instruments of the orchestra, including those instruments which have a harmonic range extending far above the normal audio band.

>>>>> Here you can listen to a video where the soundtrack has been modified to synthesise the reality of age related hearing loss <<<<<
 
Attachments only viewable to members

ssfas

Well-known member
The reality of live concert listening

The reality of live concert listening

... I have no doubt that all those audience members, even those in the 80s who have no worthwhile HF acuity at all, can recognise the instruments of the orchestra, including those instruments which have a harmonic range extending far above the normal audio band. Super-audio tones, those above about 20kHz, are a non-issue as far as the reproduction of music at home to ordinary humans is concerned and of mild curiosity as a laboratory study in forensic audio.
Couldn't agree more.

My hearing drops off at about 11kHz (age 52), and if you generate a frequency sweep it starts sounding pretty painful above about 8kHz. I can hear everything intended. The orchestral frequency range does not get much above 4kHz. I go to the Wigmore Hall fairly regularly (including this Thursday) and the attendees are notoriously ancient, but they seem to enjoy the music.

I've got a concert on Sunday at which the conductor is 86 (Bernard Haitink), so presumably he can still hear everything that is going on, especially as he is conducting Mahler 1. That is not an uncommon age for conductors. Ravi Shankar was playing Sitar in concert until he was 90, and that needs very fine aural acuity. I went to a talk by Alfred Brendel a few weeks ago, also in his 80's, and the only thing that stopped him playing was arthritis in his hands.

As to CD transports, I suggest AS is probably correct. In my fairly pricey audio system, the CD transport cost £190 (Tascam), is far and away the cheapest component and does a perfectly good job.

I bought a good DAC a few years ago and compared some items at 16/44 and higher resolutions and could not tell the difference. I therefore decided anything above 16/44 was a waste of time, especially DSD. I do buy some HD downloads, but only because they are the same price as 16/44. I should probably stop as they take up more disc space. Production quality of the music is far more important than bit-rate.
 

Jeff_C

Member
DEBUNKED AUDIOPHILE MYTH: There is in fact no "step ladder" in A>D conversion

DEBUNKED AUDIOPHILE MYTH: There is in fact no "step ladder" in A>D conversion

...Media like analog tape and direct-to-disc vinyl, which are capable of going out far beyond 20K demonstrate this clearly. On top of that they are media of unlimited resolution as opposed to digital recording and playback media which rely on chopping up the audio signal in a rather rude way (stepped ladder) and later on in the process need to 'restore' that signal in some approximate way by connecting the 'dots' back together. Clearly not the most trustworthy or elegant way of doing things, is it?
You have probably not seen this video, which explains and demonstrates that the popular "stair step" view of digital to analogue conversion is incorrect.

http://xiph.org/video/vid2.shtml

The original article which spawned the video can be read here :-

http://xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html#toc_1bv2b
 

acroyear

Active member
Differentiating CD players

Differentiating CD players

I have two Sony CDP-101 CD players, one I bought the day CD transports arrived on the High Street (3 March 1983 I recall) and I'm confident that it cannot be sonically identified from a current super-dooper machine or probably from a digital rip of the same audio. So, you have our attention, now please develop your argument and ideally, back it up with audio clips, or tell us how we could put your comments to a practical test of that sort we are rather good at doing here on HUG.
This is fascinating if true, and indeed I'd like this to be so (It would make buying new CDP much less agonizing) If it is true that your original CDP cannot be differentiated from a current $10000 model for eg it would demonstrate just how bizarre the culture is around audio products.

On hearing loss, the song of a particular local 'katydid' which has an intense electrical penetrating quality, ten years ago it was fascinatingly painful to hear one close up, now much less so, I find that rather sad! What amazes me is how such a tiny section on the insects wings actually makes such an incredibly loud and energetic sound.
 

A.S.

Administrator
Staff member
Proper research, proper engineers, proper laboratories, unlimited cash

Proper research, proper engineers, proper laboratories, unlimited cash

This is fascinating if true, and indeed I'd like this to be so (It would make buying new CDP much less agonizing) If it is true that your original CDP cannot be differentiated from a current $10000 model for eg it would demonstrate just how bizarre the culture is around audio products.
And why should the latest and greatest sound better let alone different?

As I repeatedly mention, the work of those genius Sony/Philips audio engineers in the late 70s through early 80s comprehensively dug into the realities of human hearing on a cost-no-object research budget of the likes we'll never see again. I salute them.

Assuming then that they got human audiology 'right', which bit of their investigations did they get so 'wrong' such that 35 years later, we are still, tediously, reading that the very latest CD player is now, finally and wonderfully, the ultimate? And of course, the sweet irony is that as hardware manufacturers, the audiology work Sony/Philips undertook was to supplement their hardware products (CD players etc.), not as a blue-sky, open ended just for fun enterprise.

And the absurdity of the entire situation is that men in sheds with pitiful technical resources and a ludicrous self belief in their hearing think that they can discover, invent or post-production modify what hundreds of Grade 1 engineers in premier laboratories operated by mighty corporations and properly peer reviewed overlooked or couldn't. Absurd.

As ridiculous as men in sheds periodically inventing and marketing (mail order only...) magical fuel saving after-market gadgets which inexplicably, the likes of Ford, Honda and VAG somehow overlooked to conceive despite potential huge commercial advantage? Daft, isn't it.
 

ssfas

Well-known member
Big boasts, big factories

Big boasts, big factories

Some of the wildest boasts seem to come from men in very large factories, like Meridian and their recent claims to have changed audio forever (something called MQA), and Devialet aren't exactly backward in coming forward with life-changing claims.

{Moderated}
 

DP100

New member
Digital v. analogue recording

Digital v. analogue recording

I am not writing off the CD-system as an intellectual effort, like you insinuate, rather I criticise it for what it promises (perfect sound forever) but fails to deliver. Nothing is ever perfect in this world, but that's okay. We live with the compromises we have to make - which in itself is a challenge. I think that CD as a mass-market medium, with its convenience and storage space, is excellently positioned to cater to anybody who wants convenient access to music. It is from a quality standpoint just not the best medium available to us. And I am not alone in this point of view. See the comments/articles by a few distinguished industry professionals I have included below.

http://www.stereophile.com/interviews/james_boyk_all-tube_analog/index.html

http://www.searsound.com/pdf/recordedsoundsucks.pdf

And why should we, the music lovers, settle for anything less, quality-wise, than what was originally created in the studio or in the concert hall. Should we as consumers be content with all the up- and downsampling, re-editing, equalising and other processing gimmickry that's going on before the music finally gets to our homes? Only for it to be manhandled further by crappy D/A converters and digital filters in our CD-players, just because the record- and hardware companies have decided that this is the level of quality that's "good enough" for the consumer. How cynical can it get!?

In 2013 I conducted a test to investigate the quality of digital vs analog recording.
At a friends home, who owns a magnificent Bechstein baby grand, we set up for recording in his living room. The analog rig was comprised of my Studer A810 master recorder, equipped with "butterfly" heads and aligned to Ampex 456 tape. We used a matched pair of Schoeps condenser microphones with MK4 cardioid capsules and Schoeps CMC5 amplifier modules, powered by a custom-built transformer-balanced mic preamp with built-in 48V phantom power. The mics were set up as a coincident pair, in X-Y configuration. The lid from the Bechstein was fully opened, the mics looking down from a height of about 6 feet into the soundboard at an angle of about 45 degrees. This set-up gave a well-balanced piano sound with plenty of overtones and well-controled reverberation in a room with a 12 ft. high ceiling and overall dimensions of some 36 feet by 16 feet; ample room for the piano to 'breathe'.

The digital recording chain comprised of exactly the same equipment, except of course for the Studer. For digital a Tascam DA-40 DAT-recorder was used. A well-respected unit found in plenty of recording studio's, with onboard A/D and D/A converters operating at 44.1 kHz and 16 Bit resolution, thus complying to Red Book standards.

The signal path was very pure: the microphones fed directly into the mic preamp via Canare balanced cable and from there on straight into the Studer and Tascam recorders, again with Canare cable. My friend decided to play Schumann's Träumerei; a piece that is fairly slow-paced and relatively 'quiet', so that the piano would not overpower the room and thus keeping the Bechstein and the room nicely balanced.

The playback chain consisted of my speakers {snip}. Amplifiers were refurbished Quad II tube power amps; Quad's 33/303 pre/power amp (brought up to spec and deeply biased into Class-A) and finally my own tubed, all-triode line preamp. The playback listening sessions were done in a moderately damped room with the speakers well away from side- and back walls, slightly toed-in.

For monitoring and evaluation the playback levels between analog and digital were matched to within 0.2 dB, more than sufficient as monitor loudspeakers are typically pair-matched within 0.5 dB. Our listening panel consisted solely of 'trained' listeners (5 in total) all with ample concert-hall experience and thus familiar with the sound of real acoustic instruments in real acoustic spaces. All listeners were blindfolded.

The conclusions of the panel were unanimous, regardless which speaker/amp combination was in use during playback. It was found that analog tape had so much more substance to the sound; the panel referring to it in terms like "the piano has incredible body", "the sound is more of a whole (compared to digital)", "more bloom", "realistic ambiance", "clear overtones" and "trueness of timbre".
Digital tape by comparison was found sounding "flat", "steely", "lacking depth", "lifeless", "harsh" and "fatiguing".

It really was no contest.
 

A.S.

Administrator
Staff member
Rose tinted audio

Rose tinted audio

... In 2013 I conducted a test to investigate the quality of digital vs analog recording.... It really was no contest.
I'm sorry but that was not a controlled test in my view, and also, having reasonable hands-on knowledge of Studer tape machines, and having spent many evenings micro-aligning them for bias and EQ with expensive test equipment and infinite patience, I know their technical abilities better than most. And Ampex 456, just for starters, an old low-output analogue formulation would not have been on my suggested list of tapes to use. A assume that you still have the analogue and the digital recordings? Why not present them here for us to explore further? Of course, in the two years since you made the analogue recordings they will have partially self-erased, effecting mainly HF sparkle, and accrued print-through, layer upon layer due to the magnetism stored in one turn of tape bleeding through onto adjacent layers. That's just two of the curses of analogue: it's a long list.

Let me anticipate what we'll find, again based on a fairly insightful knowledge, first hand, of what analogue tape can and cannot do in even the finest analogue tape recorders, such as the Studer or better, the Telefunken M21, both of which I have.

For exactly the same microphone input the analogue off-tape will be:

- Warmer sounding
- Softer sounding
- Easier on the ears
- Sweeter sounding
- More 'engaging'
- Seemingly less HF
- More 'punchy' sound (i.e. compressed)

but that's because recording audio onto 1200 ft of moving magnet (the tape) produces those effects. Yes, we may like them rather a lot, but they are demonstrably a 'distortion' of the truth. Honestly, and sadly, rose tinted glasses. The problem with the usual line or reasoning discussing the subject by exponents is that digital is wrong and analogue is right. But allow yourself to reverse the thinking, so that digital is taken as the reference, and then we have a very different outcome, as all studio professionals know.

Now, there is an excellent demo here of a Studer J37, the sort of machine The Beatles would have recorded on, back in the 1960s. The demo is of a software plug-in that emulates the characteristic of analogue tape/analogue tape recorder, after a careful study. The video is here. Very important point: In this video, the reference sound is digital which comes first, before the analogue or analogue synthesis.

The video commentary is rather technical (and a little hurried), but I suggest that you fast forward to 5'40 to the start of the music clips. Note the comment later that the peak levels off tape are lower, but the sound subjectively louder: that's a very, very important observation. The drum example starting at 10'00 makes a dramatic point: the analogue sound is, due to the nature of analogue tape, 'fatter'.

Quick compare: If you want to the conclusion of digital v. analogue, advance to 15'28 and listen to digital, then a real analogue tape recorder, then two different software emulations of analogue. I think that you'll agree that the contrast between the digital (first) and the real tape recorder (second) is dramatic in the change in subjective spectral balance across the audio band.

Looking forward to your audio clips.
 

Pharos

Member
"Veiling"?

"Veiling"?

In a 'reference test for comparison purposes such as that described above, I would not use a Quad 33 or 303.

I think that the 33 is now fairly universally recognised as a bit 'veiling', and the 303, which I had for a week in about '75, certainly lacked bass control, its damping being subjectively far less than my home built Nelson-Jones 10+10, which itself had three coupling capacitors in the signal path, a big one on the speaker O/P.
 

oes77

New member
Digitised audio clips?

Digitised audio clips?

For the sake of (fair) argument: I do not know what the truth is, but "his audio clips" would have to be digital, hence, putting him firmly onto your home turf.

Also, the argument that the R&D budgets of Philips/Sony eclipsing the resources of any basement/shed-based inventor, contradicts the fact that Harbeth speakers (in fact) outperforms loudspeaker producers with far greater budgets (at least post the BBC R&D aera).

This comes from a Harbeth lover and owner with no technical expertice, just reasoning logically. By the way; eagerly awaiting a possibility to audition your 40.2 speakers
 

DP100

New member
Analogue rules

Analogue rules

Not a controlled test, in your view? Why?, because it included a Studer tape machine, which you consider flawed compared to a DAT-recorder?
By the same token I can dismiss the DAT machine as flawed because I (and a lot of recording engineers - perhaps not broadcast engineers) consider it "harsh", "clinical", "unmusical", etc. compared to the real thing, i.e. the source. Furthermore, you don't exemplify as to why you dismiss my test as "not controlled"? Would you like to embellish? It seems to me that every parameter of the recording and evaluation process was carried out with the utmost care.

Also, you seem to dismiss the articles and comments I included of utterly capable and knowledgeable people like James Boyk (Caltech) and Walter Sear (Sear Sound), as you apparently decline to comment - an inconvenient truth, perhaps?

In case it slipped your attention, Ampex 456 is the preferred choice of world-renowned (mastering) engineers like Doug Sax and a whole list of other top-level pro's that seek the utmost in fidelity. But I guess they all must be deaf...

Software plug-ins that emulate the characteristic of analogue tape/analogue tape recorders? You can emulate all you want, but there will always be a digital footprint. By the same account you cannot faithfully emulate tubes with semi conductors - it's a travesty! But why emulate in the first place?

What is it with people that they can't leave a good thing alone and appreciate it for what it is? Do you like real chrome on your car's fenders, or would you rather have plastic masquerading as chrome?

By the same token, it is utterly useless to present audio clips of a recording/listening evaluation between analogue and digital media on this forum, whereby the analogue one must first be converted (and compressed and severely compromised) to digital in order to be 'evaluated'. Come on, Mr. Shaw!

And finally - NO - my analogue tapes do not happen to suffer from "HF sparkle", "print-through", "stored magnetism" or other artefacts that you describe. I treat and store them the proper way - I suggest you do the same.

{Moderator's comment: We await your analogue and digital side by side clips so that we can hear as a community for ourselves. 'Put up or shup up' as they say.}
 

A.S.

Administrator
Staff member
Just another tool

Just another tool

For the sake of (fair) argument: I do not know what the truth is, but "his audio clips" would have to be digital, hence, putting him firmly onto your home turf.

Also, the argument that the R&D budgets of Philips/Sony eclipsing the resources of any basement/shed-based inventor, contradicts the fact that Harbeth speakers (in fact) outperforms loudspeaker producers with far greater budgets (at least post the BBC R&D aera).

This comes from a Harbeth lover and owner with no technical expertise, just reasoning logically. By the way; eagerly awaiting a possibility to audition your 40.2 speakers
Since we have heard the effect of analogue tape on the YouTube video, and the change in sound quality from that of the source digital master is dramatic indeed to the ear, and as YouTube is a wholly digital delivery format, it seems beyond discussion that the latent resolution of 'digital' is entirely adequate, even at YouTube compression to make the point.

To write-off digital sound as all bad, all worthless and analogue sound i.e. tape as all superior is a falsehood and deserves no serious attention. Fortunately for those of us who want to experience live sound at home, 99.999% of professional sound engineers abandoned analogue recording within a few years of digital sound's emergence. Those who work professionally with hardware (microphones, cameras, aircraft etc.) have no time for being romanced by that hardware. It's a tool, a means to an end, not an end in itself. The end is the music, not the hardware.

As the video demonstrates, the nature of analogue sound capture and replay can be studied, categorised, synthesised and then superimposed onto digital sound. Unfortunately, that latent analogue nature cannot be removed from analogue sound because it is a one-way corruption, so we can never extract what the microphones actually heard (to get the digital truth) if any part of the sound has been stored on an analogue medium. If we could, we could, as it were, bring back to life the actual live studio sound of Caruso in digital fidelity from 78 records.
 
Digital too often = overload clipping

Digital too often = overload clipping

I'd suggest anyone who is eager to denigrate digital sound hasn't heard a clean signal played below preamp clipping levels into a competent system. I wonder if early "loudness" wars by cd manufactures driven by ever higher output voltages in the cd players in order to have showroom presence gave rise to the increasing incidence of amps clipping, run ng the replay chain integrity.

In my own experience, getting the voltage output to not clop at the preamp has made the majority of the difference, delivering the breadth and depth of sound without "tizz" that so often characterises the so called advantage of analogue sound.
 

A.S.

Administrator
Staff member
Prove it

Prove it

I'd suggest anyone who is eager to denigrate digital sound hasn't heard a clean signal played below preamp clipping levels into a competent system. I wonder if early "loudness" wars by cd manufactures driven by ever higher output voltages in the cd players in order to have showroom presence gave rise to the increasing incidence of amps clipping, run ng the replay chain integrity.

In my own experience, getting the voltage output to not clop at the preamp has made the majority of the difference, delivering the breadth and depth of sound without "tizz" that so often characterises the so called advantage of analogue sound.
That is, as we have demonstrated here with audio clips, the very point. Digital audio is represented by a very loud analogue voltage at the output phono sockets of the CD/DAT/streamer and the equipment that will receive that high voltage must be capable of handling it without corrupting it. Very few amplifiers really are, as we have shown by exposing how far the volume control can be advanced before the amp clips.

OK, here is my challenge then. Claims have been made about the paucity of (early?) CD players and now DAT. I deny both claims and I have several semi-pro DAT machines. I think that I can prove by audio example that it is not possible to distinguish by listening alone to my Sony CDP-101 (the very first CD player, 32 years old), any of the DAT recorders onto/off digital tape and the same audio track ripped from the CD source using a computer PC drive and AccuRip bit-perfect software.

That's two hours work for me when I am busy, so first I'd like to invite DP100 again to submit his digital and analogue recordings so that we can hear them on HUG for ourselves. As for reading the comments of others as quoted, I'm not much interested and haven't done so. We here know that subjects like this are emotionally and commercially charged, and we, the ordinary reader, cannot dissect the objective truth from the wishful thinking, the self-delusion from the commercial influence.

What we can do, and should do is to use our own ears in the comfort of our own homes at our own pace to listen and re-listen to audio examples and to make up our own minds. Our role here is to use the tools we have built-in to HUG to present the sonic evidence, to illuminate what to listen for and leave the reader to draw his own conclusions.
 

A.S.

Administrator
Staff member
Reminder of previous exploration of analogue recording

Reminder of previous exploration of analogue recording

We have actually looked at the reality of analogue tape recording in very considerable detail in this thread here. I don't think that there is much to add to that pretty comprehensive walk through with video/audio examples that I prepared a couple of years ago.

Recorded before we were able to embed videos right here on the page, I'd forgotten about these videos. If you want a brief overview of the realities of analogue tape, leading to the inescapable conclusion that it was rapidly abandoned because it only just about worked and man hadn't invented anything better - digital - here are the summary talk-throughs.

"Analogue anomalies Pt.1" - deals with tape print-through, inevitable when magnets are stacked on top of another as they are in a reel of recording tape.

"Analogue anomalies Pt.2" - an introduction to recording pure tones onto a Revox B77, a well respected semi-professional analogue tape recorder.

"Analogue anomalies Pt.3" - an introduction to the ever-present background hiss (noise floor) of analogue tape and pure tones.

"Analogue anomalies Pt.4" - closer look at musical micro-tones and background hiss level
 

DP100

New member
I refuse to play ball

I refuse to play ball

{Moderator's comment: We await your analogue and digital side by side clips so that we can hear as a community for ourselves. 'Put up or shup up' as they say.}

Well, no, I will not "put up" nor will I "shut up".

I refuse to participate in some ludicrous side by side comparison between digital and analogue recording/playback media, whereby analogue first must be converted to digital.

The result, as anyone can see, is a digital vs digital comparison, in which analogue loses its virtues (compared to digital) in the first place.

Propose a thesis like this to your science professor in university and you will be laughed right out of college!
 
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