The Digital/Analog Dialectic

Ron Party

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Apr 30, 2010
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#41
I have a suggestion, but it is based on a two assumptions: (1) the difference, if any, between sources is minimal and (2) you are able to eliminate audible relay clicks (either by moving the gear to a separate room or behind a screen).

I would encourage you to include the following test, perhaps somewhere in the middle of the session: given the previously discussed 1/4 second factor, hit the mute button on your preamp, do not change sources, then hit the mute button again.
 
May 30, 2010
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#42
I've often felt, when arguing with people on the "other side" of audio, that we all want to learn the truth.
--Ethan
Curious. I was feeling that this experiment did not want to look for the truth, but may be I am wrong,

BTW, what is the "other side" of audio? I hope it is not located at the Dark Side of the Moon ...
 

mep

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Apr 21, 2010
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#43
Microstrip-I don't know why you made the statement that you feel this experiment wasn't looking for the truth. I never felt that way. I think Gary is going to give it an honest go and let the chips fall where they may. When Ethan speaks of the "other side," he is referring to analog. Ethan is died in the wool with digits.
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
#44
I have a suggestion, but it is based on a two assumptions: (1) the difference, if any, between sources is minimal and (2) you are able to eliminate audible relay clicks (either by moving the gear to a separate room or behind a screen).

I would encourage you to include the following test, perhaps somewhere in the middle of the session: given the previously discussed 1/4 second factor, hit the mute button on your preamp, do not change sources, then hit the mute button again.
Don't give the game away! I can also select the same source, and the relays will click, and it will go back to the same source.
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
#46
Oh, I'm looking for the truth alright! I wouldn't have spent the last 2 weeks optimizing this system just to prove someone wrong :)

Here's where I'm thinking the process will unfold. The Equipment Committee and I will set up the meeting room as per normal. I'll bring the extra equipment necessary to make this work as well as possible. I will have already optimized and level-matched everything, but then again, there is no harm in checking the record player set-up, verifying the level matching both electrically and spl, etc.

Most of the attendees are already familiar with the acoustics of the meeting place and the loudspeakers. It will only be the electronics and the sources (and dare I say the cables) that are new. I will start with a couple of benchmark pieces - music that the members have heard before so that they can assess if either analog or digital has been "dumbed down". If the members think that I have essentially made either analog or digital worse than the club's system, then the listening session is invalidated.

Then, going through the list of materials I have (and I expect others to bring), we will drop the stylus on either analog or analog-digital-analog input. We can either play the whole track through, or the members can ask for a switch to the other input (and I have the option NOT to switch to the other input). If members can not tell the difference, then of course I will not switch to the same input. If the members CAN tell the difference, then I might switch to the same input more often to see if they are still reporting a difference.

Listeners will have a clipboard with thinking/listening/talking points - and hopefully at the end of all this, we have a lively discussion about the experience.
 
May 30, 2010
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#47
Microstrip-I don't know why you made the statement that you feel this experiment wasn't looking for the truth. I never felt that way. I think Gary is going to give it an honest go and let the chips fall where they may. When Ethan speaks of the "other side," he is referring to analog. Ethan is died in the wool with digits.
Mep.
I am not questioning the methods or conclusions of the experiment. But the truth about what? It was what I was questioning.
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
#48
Mep.
I am not questioning the methods or conclusions of the experiment. But the truth about what? It was what I was questioning.
The truth may hurt :) We may kill a few sacred cows and die-hard digital or analog adherents may learn something. Over the past 10 days, I certainly learned far more than I'm letting on now because I don't want to let the cat out of the bag.
 

mep

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Apr 21, 2010
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#49
Microstrip-In the way this test is being set up, the only "truth" will be can people tell the difference between an LP being played straight-up versus a digitized version of the same LP? It is not a pure analog vs. digital comparison because the source for both comparisons is the LP. It will tell (possibly) if people can distinguish the difference between the LP and the digital version of itself.
 

mep

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Apr 21, 2010
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#50
The truth may hurt :) We may kill a few sacred cows and die-hard digital or analog adherents may learn something. Over the past 10 days, I certainly learned far more than I'm letting on now because I don't want to let the cat out of the bag.
I am already on record on my first post on this thread as to what I think the outcome will be. It will be interesting to see if my cow is led to the slaughter house.
 
Jan 27, 2011
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#52
Digital/Analog Dialectic - Hah!

Obviously a communist plot or is that a fascist plot? Hmmm...must be a plot of some kind. Those of us on this forum from the U.S. don't recognize anything but a winner or a loser! Now how is that determined?

Gary, I applaud you! Getting people to sit down and listen and share their experiences without SHOUTING at each other. Great. Now is that amp going to be solid state or tube? As everyone knows tube amps are better! And that might affect the outcome of the analog vs. digital favoring one or the other. But then all the input into the preamp will be digitized analog or digital or both. My gosh what are we to make of that.

Heh, heh, looking forward to the next meeting. Will be nice just to sit down (and stand), listen and make my own judgment. And talk with others of course.

If you want to see how far people will go in defending their positions without necessarily listening before they open their mouth just check out the Oppo BDP-93 & 95 forums on AVS!

Oh, yes, I do appreciate all the posts here with their comments, reservations and suggestions.

Under "they" promised us sunny Seattle skies, Gill

P.S.: Do feel sorry for all those digging out from the snowstorm in the NE.
 

Ron Party

WBF Founding Member
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#53
Don't give the game away! I can also select the same source, and the relays will click, and it will go back to the same source.
Given that the phono stage can output 24bit in 44.1kHz, 96kHz and 192kHz, it would seem as if you can manipulate the test in other ways beyond that which I had suggested.

Oops, sorry, I guess I am giving away more parts of the game!
 

MylesBAstor

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Apr 20, 2010
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#54
Bruce, that would be another fun session - record the LP to tape, record the LP to digital, listen to the tape and to the digital.
Did those comparisons at CES in two rooms: Dan Meinwalds and Jonathan Tinns. One source was a tape project tape vs its digitized music server copy vs a CD made from the digital copy. The CD was God awful and couldn't sniff near the tape. The music server was closer but still far away. In J. Tinns (if I remember correctly and Bruce can correct me), he had a second gen tape copy and a digital copy. The digital again bore no resemblance to the tape. Say what you want about tape, the digital copy should sound like the tape, warts and all. The area where digital was furthest from the tape was in the upper octaves. There was a huge loss of information. Cymbals sounded like tin cans rattling around. And the upper octaves sounded very brittle compared to the tapes.
 

rbbert

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Dec 12, 2010
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#56
...Cymbals sounded like tin cans rattling around...
I have to assume this is gross hyperbole, since even in my moderately priced system, cymbals on good CD's don't sound like that.

the upper octaves sounded very brittle compared to the tapes
This is a more believable statement, although after the first quote I'm not sure how to value it?

record the LP to tape, record the LP to digital, listen to the tape and to the digital.
And from your description, this isn't what you did, since you started with tape, although it (what you do describe) is the comparison I'm more interested in, if you also add LP to the mix.

More, what was the data rate for the music server recording, and what ADC's were used?
 

Bruce B

WBF Founding Member, Pro Audio Production Member
Apr 26, 2010
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#57
Yeah... welcome Gill.

@ Myles... Yes, those were 2nd Gen master dubs we did and the mastering of those tapes to digital. Too bad JT couldn't play our DSD128fs copies to compare. I think it would have leveled the playing field just a tad.
 

fas42

Addicted To Best
Jan 8, 2011
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#58
Say what you want about tape, the digital copy should sound like the tape, warts and all. The area where digital was furthest from the tape was in the upper octaves. There was a huge loss of information. Cymbals sounded like tin cans rattling around. And the upper octaves sounded very brittle compared to the tapes.
All of which says that the manner and precision with which the whole process of copying and playback is executed is a very key component and factor in this whole exercise ...

Frank
 

MylesBAstor

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Apr 20, 2010
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#59
I have to assume this is gross hyperbole, since even in my moderately priced system, cymbals on good CD's don't sound like that.

Sorry dude but that's what the cymbals sounded like. They sounded nothing like the tape. They sounded nothing like real cymbals. Point is, more people should go to live jazz concerts and hear what real jazz instruments eg. drums, trumpets and saxes sound like. Neither tubes nor transistors get it right :(
 

Bruce B

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#60
More, what was the data rate for the music server recording, and what ADC's were used?
For RR I'm sure it was the PM2 at 176, for us it was either the DAD AX24 at 352.8 to Pyramix or EMM Labs DSD to Sonoma.