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I'm up for a Laugh...Music...Digital vs. Analog?????

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posted on Dec, 7 2019 @ 08:20 AM
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a reply to: Klassified




...but within the human range of hearing, digital is still superior at reproduction given the same variables for both mediums such as mics used, cables, mixing boards, etc. as well as recording strategy.


No it isn't, and stop saying that...you are flat wrong! It's not a matter of opinion on my part, it is simply a fact. You are misinformed.

Digital is only superior at MASS reproduction several generations away from the source. That's it!

Now, you might be able to make an argument which goes: 'modern digital recordings with already compromised fidelity are more cost effective to reproduce digitally than with analog technology'. I'd agree with that statement, but your blanket statement simply is not correct.




posted on Dec, 7 2019 @ 08:34 AM
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a reply to: Klassified

Ironically, at the production phase, people are still gaga (for very good reason) over "vintage" and "retro" sounding gear, preferred for its "color", i.e., noise and frequency-hyping. It is pleasant-sounding distortion. Digital distortion is BAD, unforgiving, unmusical.

Listen to records made in the 50s vs. the 80s. The digital technology was taking off in the 80s and it sounded like garbage. Think of the old Madonna records: tinny, abominable, anemic sound. And that was industry-standard stuff, the best money could buy. It was what everyone strove for.

Since a lot of the music we're talking about here is some form of popular music, which is vocally-driven, the production is a top-down approach. The question is "What makes this voice sound its best?" and all other decisions defer to the answer to that question. The variation in signal chains and production techniques is a testament to the fact that each voice is unique.

Times have changed and technology "improves", obviously. Music produced in the digital domain isn't as harsh and lifeless as it once was. But records (by that I mean "recorded music") have always been and still are artifice by necessity. We love the lies our technology tell us in the form of equalization and compression, limiting and aural exciting.

But in the end, humans are drawn to qualities of performance such as natural dynamic, groove, and emotion. The technology is only supposed to capture raw human musicality.



posted on Dec, 7 2019 @ 08:44 AM
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a reply to: DictionaryOfExcuses

Likewise, digital recording and amplification equipment is a dime a dozen. Try to lay your hands on a quality analog guitar tube amplifier for the same price! Ain't happenin'! They are in extreme demand, not because they sound 'retro', but because they sound BETTER!



posted on Dec, 7 2019 @ 08:44 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

In fairness to digital: it opened up the gates for people like me to be able to produce music at home. To have a reel-to-reel MTR with mixing console and outboard signal processors pre-digital, one not only had to spend a literal fortune, they also basically had to become mechanics to keep it all up and running. Tape machines needed to be calibrated daily if they were used in daily sessions.

There's a trade-off, but I'm sure happy that I am able to produce music.



posted on Dec, 7 2019 @ 08:48 AM
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originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk

There is no debate, analog is better and it always will be. Period. There's no scientific debate on this at all. There is only opinion. And that opinion is based on:

1. Ease
2. Portability
3. Size

...in lieu of...

1. Quality



Can the average person tell the difference with average equipment without being told what to look for/listen for? How much does it cost to get the same sound quality for the same price and not have to buy the same recording over and over again because it wears out?

Let's say you listen to the same music every single day. How many years before noticeable degradation? How much do you pay for a mechanism that doesn't wear out the media fast?
edit on 7-12-2019 by BrianFlanders because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 7 2019 @ 08:51 AM
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a reply to: BrianFlanders

The operative word here is "average person".

To that end, can you even compare the 'average person' today versus 1980?

Further, apply this same logic to the 'average person' versus the 'not average person' in the same time reference.

ETA - to your edit...Again to the point of
1. Ease
2. Portability
3. Size


edit on 12/7/2019 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 7 2019 @ 08:53 AM
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My take on digital is that it's "good enough".

I used to own a business building and modifying guitar amps and effects, and I was a HUGE tube snob. All analog. No exceptions. I even used reel to reel recording because I was so stubborn about digital.

Now... I don't even use an amp live. I plug a Line 6 Helix straight into the mixer, and at home I practice plugged straight into my computer. The last 5 albums I've recorded were all with a 100% digital studio, and they sound fantastic. I do use real amps with microphones on recordings though, and only trigger bass drums. But past the mic cable, and capturing, mixing, mastering, effects, etc... are all digital.

I don't miss real amps at live shows even a little bit.



posted on Dec, 7 2019 @ 08:59 AM
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originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
a reply to: BrianFlanders

The operative word here is "average person".

To that end, can you even compare the 'average person' today versus 1980?

Further, apply this same logic to the 'average person' versus the 'not average person' in the same time reference.



It wasn't a trick question. The average person today. Pick someone who isn't an audiophile and they probably won't know the difference unless they hear tape hiss, wow and flutter or surface noise from vinyl.

Yes. Of course convenience is a factor. As it was even in the analog age. We went from albums to cassettes because cassettes were more portable. Reel to reel was far superior to cassette tapes, for that matter. But how many people had a reel to reel in their home? Reel to reel might have sounded great but it was a pain in the ass so it wasn't a mass market format. I doubt many people could tell the difference (blindfolded) between a CD and a reel to reel (in good shape) of the same recording. So CD is good enough.



posted on Dec, 7 2019 @ 08:59 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk


I absolutely can tell the difference by looking at the two signals in comparison to the source signal.

No looking at the source signal. You have only your ears to tell which one is which, because in the end that's what this whole debate boils down to. People imagine they can hear superiority or inferiority, but in the end, when they must judge by hearing only, the difference that matters is their preferred imperfections and distortions of the source. It is what they have trained themselves to like. Some like pops and crackles, some like a little tape hiss or distortion, and others like the clean sound of digital, even with its glitches. The whole debate revolves around perception and preference, not accuracy or capability of the medium.

I wish I had access to the equipment to produce a few recordings for you to hear, but then again, it's a moot bet anyway. I'm not going to change your mind, and you aren't going to change mine. And that's ok. That's why we are individuals, and not clones of one another.

Great thread. It's a nice break from all the political debate.


edit on 12/7/2019 by Klassified because: oops



posted on Dec, 7 2019 @ 09:26 AM
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originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
a reply to: Klassified




...but within the human range of hearing, digital is still superior at reproduction given the same variables for both mediums such as mics used, cables, mixing boards, etc. as well as recording strategy.


No it isn't, and stop saying that...you are flat wrong! It's not a matter of opinion on my part, it is simply a fact. You are misinformed.

Digital is only superior at MASS reproduction several generations away from the source. That's it!

Now, you might be able to make an argument which goes: 'modern digital recordings with already compromised fidelity are more cost effective to reproduce digitally than with analog technology'. I'd agree with that statement, but your blanket statement simply is not correct.

Yes it is, even with its limitations and imperfections. You can look at your test equipment all day long, but the only instrument that counts when it comes to sound reproduction is the human ear, and to that end, high end digital reproduction is superior to analog, hands down. ALL recording mediums compromise fidelity. That's a fact, not a theory.

Does digital recording technology need improvement? Yes, absolutely. It's a tech in its infancy, but just like analog did, it will continue to improve with time.



posted on Dec, 7 2019 @ 09:32 AM
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originally posted by: DictionaryOfExcuses
a reply to: Klassified

Ironically, at the production phase, people are still gaga (for very good reason) over "vintage" and "retro" sounding gear, preferred for its "color", i.e., noise and frequency-hyping. It is pleasant-sounding distortion. Digital distortion is BAD, unforgiving, unmusical.

Listen to records made in the 50s vs. the 80s. The digital technology was taking off in the 80s and it sounded like garbage. Think of the old Madonna records: tinny, abominable, anemic sound. And that was industry-standard stuff, the best money could buy. It was what everyone strove for.

Since a lot of the music we're talking about here is some form of popular music, which is vocally-driven, the production is a top-down approach. The question is "What makes this voice sound its best?" and all other decisions defer to the answer to that question. The variation in signal chains and production techniques is a testament to the fact that each voice is unique.

Times have changed and technology "improves", obviously. Music produced in the digital domain isn't as harsh and lifeless as it once was. But records (by that I mean "recorded music") have always been and still are artifice by necessity. We love the lies our technology tell us in the form of equalization and compression, limiting and aural exciting.

But in the end, humans are drawn to qualities of performance such as natural dynamic, groove, and emotion. The technology is only supposed to capture raw human musicality.

Quoted for emphasis.

You nailed it. That pretty much sums it up.



posted on Dec, 7 2019 @ 09:56 AM
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a reply to: LordAhriman

I think you hit the nail on the head with the phrase "good enough".

Digital is 'good enough'.

Truth be known, I work in/with almost exclusively digital electronic systems every day. Some analog (like RF, etc.), but mostly digital (data, comms, telephony, SCADA, etc.). And, despite what it might seem here, I don't have anything against digital, but it has a purpose. If I send a '1' or a '0', I don't care about its tonal quality, I only care that if I sent a '1' it gets received on the other end as a '1', every time, repeatably and always. And this is one of the truly great things about digital, its tolerance to noise in an electronically 'noisy' world. Analog can't come anywhere near this level of reliability. Fundamentally, this is why digital was even created, why it exists at all.

That digital made it's way into the music/audio world isn't because of quality, but rather because of $$$$. That's it. Digital is cheaper, and it is. And, when we get into reproduction, it's more reliable...because, well, it's digital (errors don't matter as much). It's binary.

Every morning though, that analog Sun rises over the eastern horizon and warms us with its analog radiation. It's all just a balance, all this digital vs. analog, a balance of 'good enough'. The day I get the notification that the analog Sun is being decommissioned in favor of a digital one is the day I'm checkin' out.
edit on 12/7/2019 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 7 2019 @ 10:02 AM
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a reply to: Klassified

I think an automobile analogy is useful here, for a moment. Most people need something to get them from "point a" (no music) to "point b" (music).

Would I prefer to listen to everything on 180-gram vinyl through an old silverface, tube Yamaha receiver and my enormous Polk Audio speakers? Yes I would. There is LIFE in that sound. But can I have it my way all the time? No.

Getting bent out of shape over that, in my opinion, is a fool's errand. Say you get your production or playback system exactly "perfect". Guess what? You're still dealing with the shortcomings of equal temperament, which some folks (myself included) tear their hair out over, anyways. Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees.

The truth of audio is the same as the overarching truth of the material existence. We cannot get achieve perfection, and it pays to accept it and move on, doing the best we can with what we have.



posted on Dec, 7 2019 @ 10:06 AM
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a reply to: Klassified

Well, honestly, what you've stated is an opinion. It is not a fact from a scientific or engineering perspective, contrary to your assertions, but I guess we'll just agree to disagree on this front.

I will state again what I stated above to LA...



That digital made it's way into the music/audio world isn't because of quality, but rather because of $$$$. That's it. Digital is cheaper, and it is. And, when we get into reproduction, it's more reliable...because, well, it's digital (errors don't matter as much). It's binary.



posted on Dec, 7 2019 @ 10:07 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Mornin' today FCD....from a recording angle? I can give you an example:

With analog we have 1 single sound, note or source, with stereo we begin ability to adjust(fade) both Lt and Rt) single source, but now that source has 2 separate recorded parts.

In quadrophonic, we can hear 4 parts recorded together, then sent into 4 separate locations, vice versa.

With digital EVERY source can be broken into frequencies (digitized)...therefore you gain greater flexibility to manipulate the notes.

Which is best? As a producer, guitarist, keyboardist...both are a draw w me. Like an equalizer, digital just divides something into parts which allows greater adjustments.

I have all digital stage and recording eq, but live may use analog to the board. I do play guitar in stereo*

*I am at the board now...and kinda wish I had an old Bogen or Heathkit rt about now!😝



posted on Dec, 7 2019 @ 10:08 AM
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a reply to: DictionaryOfExcuses

Well put!

Just as LA stated...it's "good enough".

This really sums it up.



posted on Dec, 7 2019 @ 10:11 AM
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originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
a reply to: DictionaryOfExcuses

Likewise, digital recording and amplification equipment is a dime a dozen. Try to lay your hands on a quality analog guitar tube amplifier for the same price! Ain't happenin'! They are in extreme demand, not because they sound 'retro', but because they sound BETTER!



Hey...yesterday...$1400 for a Twin tube amp, late 70's...$1100 for a new digital Twin.



posted on Dec, 7 2019 @ 10:19 AM
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a reply to: mysterioustranger

Mornin' to you as well!



With digital EVERY source can be broken into frequencies (digitized)...


Not to put too fine of a point on it, but...every digital source can be broken up into "channels", not necessarily frequencies. 'Frequencies' are an analog concept. All a DAC does is approximate the sine wave of an analog signal into a digital approximation of that same sine wave, it's a CODEC. You can channelize (compartmentalize) elements of that signal, and manipulate those parts, but the more times analog is converted to digital, back to analog and back to digital...then ultimately back to analog...the more is lost.

In an ideal digital world (relating to music) you only want to convert from analog to digital once, and digital back to analog once (and once only). Any manipulation in between those two steps (i.e. digitally) should all be digital, else you lose fidelity at every conversion point.

But you knew all that already. I just wrote it out for others to see.




posted on Dec, 7 2019 @ 10:22 AM
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Well there are a few things at play, mostly boils down to how you recording. Go see a live orchestra and sit in different seats in the house versus the wings of the stage. You will have a different experience. Now if you have a “live air” recording from multiple spots mixed, you will have a very different recording than just a line in from a soundboard. Again equipment comes into play are you using Shure SM58 or Sennheiser e835? I know my preference, but i am not screaming into a mic and need lower frequencies and a wider range. It is the difference between a dull rattling thump for a snare and a crisp snap with buzz and a slight after ring, if you wanted that level of focus.

Or hang some cloud mics and hope for the best.



posted on Dec, 7 2019 @ 10:28 AM
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a reply to: mysterioustranger

It's getting better, no doubt!

BUT, I think this is due in large to people finally beginning to understand the differences, and the resultant resurgence in analog technology in the music sector.

Several companies are even now talking about re-introducing reel to reel tape decks! That would be awesome! And you can even find tapes now!!

ETA - BTW....Mesa Boogie!

edit on 12/7/2019 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)




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