The Analog was Digital

Spin your yarns here.
Post Reply
User avatar
robcat2075
Posts: 1156
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:58 pm

The Analog was Digital

Post by robcat2075 »

I often encounter audiophiles on the web who insist analog recording is superior to digital and that they can tell the difference.

WaPo:

How a Phoenix record store owner set the audiophile world on fire
MoFi Records claimed its expensive reissues were purely analog reproductions. It had been deceiving its customer base for years.
D'oh!
Last edited by robcat2075 on Fri Aug 05, 2022 9:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
>>Robert Holmén<<

Hear me as I play my horn

See my Spacepod movie
User avatar
BGuttman
Posts: 4946
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:19 am
Location: Cow Hampshire

Re: The Analog was Digital

Post by BGuttman »

When the LP came out back in the Late Cretaceous period, aficionados of the old 78 RPM records claimed that the old system could reproduce the "resin in the strings" and that was missing in the LP (which, incidentally, had much higher fidelity). I think these folks are cast from the same mold.
Bruce Guttman
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra
"Almost Professional"
User avatar
harrisonreed
Posts: 3552
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:18 pm
Location: Yokohama, Japan
Contact:

Re: The Analog was Digital

Post by harrisonreed »

If you stand on tin foil facing east, and reverse the polarity, the resin comes back
SteveM
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2021 5:30 pm
Location: Anacortes WA

Re: The Analog was Digital

Post by SteveM »

It's kind of like those people who think they can hear a difference between yellow brass and red brass. What a bunch of crazy people!
timothy42b
Posts: 1264
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:51 am
Location: central Virginia

Re: The Analog was Digital

Post by timothy42b »

SteveM wrote: Sat Aug 06, 2022 12:37 am It's kind of like those people who think they can hear a difference between yellow brass and red brass. What a bunch of crazy people!
I have a different take on this.

They really do hear a difference. Okay, it isn't there, but that doesn't mean they don't really hear it.

I think this is the concept most completely rejected - that it is possible to hear something that isn't there. In fact, it's fairly hard not to.
User avatar
robcat2075
Posts: 1156
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:58 pm

Re: The Analog was Digital

Post by robcat2075 »

timothy42b wrote: Sat Aug 06, 2022 10:05 am
They really do hear a difference. Okay, it isn't there, but that doesn't mean they don't really hear it.
I guess that is the placebo effect at work?
>>Robert Holmén<<

Hear me as I play my horn

See my Spacepod movie
2bobone
Posts: 238
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2018 1:10 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: The Analog was Digital

Post by 2bobone »

It is curious to me that many on this platform have keen opinions regarding trombones, their materials of construction, the best mouthpiece to use [bowl-shaped, funnel-shaped, brass, stainless, Lexan etc.], single bore, double bore, single or dual radius tuning slides, tuning in slide, minimal bracing etc. etc. etc. The subtle differences that are produced by any of the infinite combinations available are taken seriously by every trombonist wanting to improve their game. That observation supports my wonderment that a similar approach is not appreciated when talking about similar issues in the world of audio. Consider that the greatly maligned 78 RPM recordings are most commonly heard on electronic devices that are far different that the devices on which they were engineered to be played upon. 78 RPM records in their early days were "acoustic" recordings and only later were created using electric equipment. To hear an acoustic 78 RPM recording on a matching acoustic player is amazing. Recall that these machines are nearly 100 years old and can suffer frailties just as the moving parts of a trombone would if sitting unused for years. The reproducer of a Victrola has bearings the size of a grain of sand that can bind and give unsatisfactory results just like the valve or slide on a trombone if not cared for properly. When rebuilding a reproducer, the difference, before and after, is remarkable. And yes, you CAN hear the "resin in the string" and the "flesh on the string". Consider that we are talking about a carefully designed "system", an acoustic system. To play an acoustic recording on a modern turntable using a modern cartridge may make noise, but I guarantee that much of the original material is never reproduced. The stylus size and weight of the tonearm of the modern setup is simply not compatible. There are specific modern work-arounds available.
Regarding the modern LP, I contend that they are designed as a "system" as well. They will suffer from neglect just as the aforementioned 78 RPM recordings. Dirty discs, worn styli, inaccurate turntable speed, poorly designed tonearms -- all contribute to a poorly realized result. Hearing a well-tuned system of either format is very similar to hearing a truly great trombonist for the first time. Both are jaw-dropping and life-changing ! We all know when it happened to us for the first time, don't we ?
The debate about analogue and digital will never end because some people simply can't hear what others are capable of hearing. We need only realize that there are "systems" out there, that when optimized can be remarkably satisfying.
As to "Golden Ears" : I worked for over 25 years as a recording engineer. A particular recording that I did of a Big Band with a vocalist always bothered me for some reason that I could not quite understand. I had an opportunity to play it for a friend with "Golden Ears" who also happened to be blind. Within the first few seconds of hearing the recording he shouted out, 'The vocalist is out of phase" ! Sure enough, the vocalist asked if she could sing facing the trumpets in the rear of the ensemble and consequently was singing into the back of the microphone instead of the front ! I was in another room with no visual contact, so the error went unnoticed until those "Golden Ears" noticed it. So---- "Golden Ears" DO exist ! I realized that my friend's blindness was a bonus to his incredible hearing.
Be afraid ! They walk among us !
User avatar
robcat2075
Posts: 1156
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:58 pm

Re: The Analog was Digital

Post by robcat2075 »

There may indeed be people who can reliably discern between well-done analog and digital recordings although I've only seen it claimed, not demonstrated.

However, the above article attests that, even if those people exist, legions more are fooling themselves.
>>Robert Holmén<<

Hear me as I play my horn

See my Spacepod movie
User avatar
ithinknot
Posts: 582
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2020 3:40 pm

Re: The Analog was Digital

Post by ithinknot »

2bobone wrote: Sat Aug 06, 2022 12:53 pm We need only realize that there are "systems" out there, that when optimized can be remarkably satisfying.
I enjoyed your post very much. (And yes, those snakes keep on churning out oil, so there's plenty of that out there too.)

It reminded me of a simple thing that most people - at least those who don't do all their listening through a tin can - can try, and might enjoy.

Listen to mono recordings through a single centrally positioned speaker. If you've never done this before, the effect is pretty shockingly intense; you pick up way more front-to-back localization cues which get washed out when listening on summed L+R.

(There are deeply science-flavored psychoacoustic explanations for this, lest the placebo police be reaching towards the light switch.)
2bobone
Posts: 238
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2018 1:10 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: The Analog was Digital

Post by 2bobone »

I have several Mono LPs that you would swear were in stereo sound. I even have a Mono 78 RPM British recording of Jack Hylton and His Orchestra that creates the same effect. Victor actually produced a few microgroove recordings on 78 RPM that are similar. You don't need "Golden Ears" to experience them, either ! Someone once discovered that if you were able to acquire recordings from the earliest days, when a series of recording machines were placed before the performers, and you synched up the record from machine #1 and machine #10, you actually heard the music in stereo because the machines were spaced apart just as microphones are in a modern recording ! The musicians actually played the material numerous times, producing a small number each time. It can easily be imagined that the interpretation changed ever so slightly on each sequence. We've come quite a way ! Just as a trombone that responds to your every wish and whim is a delight to experience, so it is with a properly prepared audio "system". Acoustic, analogue or digital --- whichever is your preference.
User avatar
soseggnchips
Posts: 77
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2021 10:28 am
Location: UK

Re: The Analog was Digital

Post by soseggnchips »

2bobone wrote: Sat Aug 06, 2022 12:53 pm To hear an acoustic 78 RPM recording on a matching acoustic player is amazing.
Yes! I've only heard it once, but it was a very different experience to an electric recording. Not high fidelity in the sense we use today, but very 'real'. Almost like hearing live musicians from a couple of rooms away.
User avatar
soseggnchips
Posts: 77
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2021 10:28 am
Location: UK

Re: The Analog was Digital

Post by soseggnchips »

ithinknot wrote: Sat Aug 06, 2022 2:57 pm Listen to mono recordings through a single centrally positioned speaker. If you've never done this before, the effect is pretty shockingly intense; you pick up way more front-to-back localization cues which get washed out when listening on summed L+R.
Trombone example: the CD reissue of Meet Mr. Roberts is stereo, the LP is in mono (maybe there was a stereo version as well?) To my ears the mono mixes are much clearer, although I think part of that might be that more reverb's been added to the stereo mix. As far as I know there's no digital release of the mono version, although it is on Youtube.
User avatar
robcat2075
Posts: 1156
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:58 pm

Re: The Analog was Digital

Post by robcat2075 »

2bobone wrote: Sat Aug 06, 2022 12:53 pm ...A particular recording that I did of a Big Band with a vocalist always bothered me for some reason that I could not quite understand. I had an opportunity to play it for a friend with "Golden Ears" who also happened to be blind. Within the first few seconds of hearing the recording he shouted out, 'The vocalist is out of phase" !...
Sounds like you both heard the same problem. The difference was he knew what caused it.

If he had never heard anything out-of-phase before in his life and never know that such things were called that and yet somehow picked out that exact term to label it that would indeed be remarkable.

But it seems more likely that he learned of it previously.
>>Robert Holmén<<

Hear me as I play my horn

See my Spacepod movie
2bobone
Posts: 238
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2018 1:10 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: The Analog was Digital

Post by 2bobone »

Regarding "Meet Mr. Roberts" : I have the original Columbia recording of "Meet Mr. Roberts" and it is in stereo. It is dated 1962, so it is from the period when it was still common for releases to be both in mono and stereo. George's most famous recording "The Joy of Living" [Capitol Records] in also in my library in both mono and stereo and is dated 1960. Great grooves ! There is a seldom mentioned album George did with Billy May called "Billy May's Big Fat Brass" on which George does some impressive work [Capitol Records]. His colleagues on the album are among the best : Conrad Gozzo. Pete Condoli. Manny Klein on trumpet, Sy Zentner, Tommy Pederson & Ed Kusby on trombone, Vince de Rosa, Jack Cave on horn plus tuba, percussion and --- wait for it --- Harp ! It is dated 1963 and is the best of the best layin' it down ! Highly recommended ! A total of 17 brass players and Billy May's superb charts. What's not to like ?
Post Reply

Return to “Tangents”