Excerpt from Tim de Paravicini regarding the state of digital

MylesBAstor

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Del
 
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FrantzM

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Myles

Thanks for this excerpt. I read the whole interview and a few things came up that were to me interesting. I respect Tim de Paravicini by the way and his philosophy is actually very close to mine when it comes to music reproduction for example that I am citing him here :Audio devices should not have a sound of their own; they should be virtually a black box. ..
This statement I find remarkable :I don't have to use tubes in my designs; I only do it for marketing reasons. I've got an exact equivalent in solid state. I can make either type do the same job, and I have no preference. People can't pick which is which. And electrons have no memory of where they've been! The end result is what counts. Emphasis are my own

We disagree on this thoughThe sound quality. My analog recorder has four times the sampling frequency! The bias frequency is 160 kHz. The magnetic-particle flow past a playback head is equivalent to a 24-hit word, which is amazing resolution. .. I will allow him some poetic license, the man is a bona fide genius and has a stellar track record ... I will simply note that 24 - bit has a theoretical Dynamic Range of 144 dB... That is beyond what ANY electronics are capable of , using any technology on this planet ..

Frantz
Frantz
 

Mike Lavigne

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I will simply note that 24 - bit has a theoretical Dynamic Range of 144 dB... That is beyond what ANY electronics are capable of , using any technology on this planet ..

yes; theoretical dynamic range cutoffs are just that, theory. and analog dynamic range cutoffs are 'soft'; meaning they are gradual. in reality you hear far into the noise floor of the best analog recordings. when i compare hirez PCM (192/24) and even SACD with RTR tape; the difference in dynamics, both micro and macro is many orders of magantude better with tape. not close. laughably better for a supposed inferior dynamic range medium. digital can have a true 'zero noise' with no sound. analog tape always has this 'air' that captures that sense of reality and presence....at both frequency extremes.

i owned one of Tim deParavicini's modified Technics' RTR decks for a few years and now my friend owns it. Tim's comment about why, or why not tubes is very accurate in my experience. Tim's gear always sounds like tubes; it has that 'breath of life' and bloom. i also think that the Cello/King repro unit is similar in sound. there is nothing processed or sterile about it. it has that weight and foundation. about the only thing missing is the ability to 'roll tubes'.


Tim's modified RTR decks are used pretty much across the board with every remastering house for good reasons.
 

Mike Lavigne

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Lucky for you, you had other R2R decks around while Tim was tinkering with your Technics :) I think there's only two of them in the US? Dan Meinwald has one and yours?

i understand there are 5 or 6 dPv modified Technics in existance. the one my friend (who's currently in Siberia working) has, Dan's, Tim has 1, Philip O'Hanlon has 1, and one or two others which may be in Europe. i have a stock Technics RS-1500, my refurbed Studer A-820 and refurbed Ampex ATR-102. the dPv RS-1700 did many things better than either the A-820 or the ATR-102; both of which are at the top of the food chain. and it made the RS-1500 sound broken. the dPV RS-1700 also has switchable EQ from IEC to NAB as well as a special EQ of Tim's which Tim feels betters any other. finally; Tim's mod works both for playback and record.

i do think that the Cello/King does take the Studer past the dPv Technics; which was why i sold it. i had too much $$$'s invested in expensive RTR decks. it was easiest to sell the dPv.

i've spoken to Tim a couple of times at CES for an hour or so. quite the fun experience.

prior to buying the dPv Technics i was close to Tim modding my ATR instead. i may still do it. Tim was going to visit me and do it in my room. that would likely have been worth it just for the entertainment value.
 
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mep

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Wow Mike. I can't imagine having Tim come to your house and mod a piece of gear right there. That would be worth the price of admission. Tim has built some great gear and is truly respected around the world. You hardly ever see a pair of the original EAR 509 tube amps come up for sale and there must be a damn good reason why.

Mark
 

MylesBAstor

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i understand there are 5 or 6 dPv modified Technics in existance. the one my friend (who's currently in Siberia working) has, Dan's, Tim has 1, Philip O'Hanlon has 1, and one or two others which may be in Europe. i have a stock Technics RS-1500, my refurbed Studer A-820 and refurbed Ampex ATR-102. the dPv RS-1700 did many things better than either the A-820 or the ATR-102; both of which are at the top of the food chain. and it made the RS-1500 sound broken. the dPV RS-1700 also has switchable EQ from IEC to NAB as well as a special EQ of Tim's which Tim feels betters any other. finally; Tim's mod works both for playback and record.

i do think that the Cello/King does take the Studer past the dPv Technics; which was why i sold it. i had too much $$$'s invested in expensive RTR decks. it was easiest to sell the dPv.

i've spoken to Tim a couple of times at CES for an hour or so. quite the fun experience.

prior to buying the dPv Technics i was close to Tim modding my ATR instead. i may still do it. Tim was going to visit me and do it in my room. that would likely have been worth it just for the entertainment value.

Why? To hear Tim talking about what a piece of crap the original ATR is :)
 

FrantzM

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yes; theoretical dynamic range cutoffs are just that, theory<snip>

Mike

Theory is exactly what Tim de Paravicini uses to come with these wonderful products. I have great respect for him and his designs, however 24 bit of resolution is beyond electronics as simple as that, in the here and now it is not possible for any electronics in your house to resolve 144 dB, for Any electronics .. I can understand he was using hyperbole to make a point , I said that..
The terms , you use to describe your subjective impressions are rooted in science. There is a theory that can explain what you and I and others hear. These theories are very much well understood and used by the best designers. You name any good designer and you will likely find a person who has an excellent command of Theory , of Science.. Vladimir Lamm, Andy Payor, The Dar Tzeel Designer, The one from MBL , Keith Johnson, Hebert Papier , yes Tim de PAravicini, etc `. .. They use Science, They measure and try to fit their products to the theory ..nothing else... to come with their results .. Your Rockport is a marvel of Engineering ..err.. Science, and so are your Speakers ..It is because of Science, of many well ( and some not so well ) understood THEORIES that weu are enjoying our systems today..
Frantz
 

mep

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Mike makes a good point here about dynamic range with regards to analog. With analog, you can still hear information that is far below the noise floor and with digital, there is no information below the noise floor. Doug Sax said a long time ago that the true dynamic range of analog is far beyond what the measured specs for analog say it is.

Mark
 
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JackD201

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Ummmmm.

The benefits of longer word length or more appropriately greater bit-depth in audio is not the extended dynamic range. It is in resolution. The dynamic ceiling debate is moot and academic. IMO.
 

Mike Lavigne

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Mike

Theory is exactly what Tim de Paravicini uses to come with these wonderful products. I have great respect for him and his designs, however 24 bit of resolution is beyond electronics as simple as that, in the here and now it is not possible for any electronics in your house to resolve 144 dB, for Any electronics .. I can understand he was using hyperbole to make a point , I said that..
The terms , you use to describe your subjective impressions are rooted in science. There is a theory that can explain what you and I and others hear. These theories are very much well understood and used by the best designers. You name any good designer and you will likely find a person who has an excellent command of Theory , of Science.. Vladimir Lamm, Andy Payor, The Dar Tzeel Designer, The one from MBL , Keith Johnson, Hebert Papier , yes Tim de PAravicini, etc `. .. They use Science, They measure and try to fit their products to the theory ..nothing else... to come with their results .. Your Rockport is a marvel of Engineering ..err.. Science, and so are your Speakers ..It is because of Science, of many well ( and some not so well ) understood THEORIES that weu are enjoying our systems today..
Frantz

Frantz,

there is no denying science. hey; the laws of physics are real. but the 'story' we've been told about just how real these various digital formats are suppose to be have been revealed as a little short of our experience. no one denies that digital sounds great; but the ability of our senses to tell what is more or less real has been grossly underestimated. and what to measure to relate what sounds most real is open to question.

all the designers you mention only get so far with measurements; then it becomes about voicing and testing various bits and parts to discover where they get the magic. science gets them in the neighborhood, then a sonic reference based on how music sounds gets them to that final performance place they pursued. do you really think any of these products could be designed by a deaf person?

i don't know of any product which i have owned not fine tuned by how it sounds.

science serves musical reproduction but cannot define it. if science could really define any art i think our lives would be less interesting.
 
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mep

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I copied this text from Mike Elliott's web page (Mike was the designer of all Counterpoint gear): "Audio engineering is an art relatively unaffected by modern technology, and its expression will be found exclusively in those areas where present-day electrical recording technology is at its weakest. The great components are the ones that give that refined sense of musical authenticity which cannot be measured with test equipment. This requires the skill and patience of experienced designers, and such products are treasured far above those that merely achieve good technical performance."

Mark
 

FrantzM

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Hi

I need to clear things out here. I don't believe that once a equations known or a few measurements taken make a great product. It would not make any sense to procliam such , else everything would be designed by computer ... NO..
IN Audio as in any endeavor, Science is used judiciously by the great designer along with their pragmatism to come with the products that we like or despise. The best EE does not automatically translate into a great Audio designer, much is needed. But given a great mastery of the tools offered by modern science, pragmatism and an ear to appreciate what makes a gear sound right, you have a great designer... Regardless of the amount of ink or electrons we want to spend on the subject ... The great designers , ALL of them , let me repeat ALL of them understand the Science of Audio reproduction by electronic means ALL of them .. ALL! none of them design without measurements, not one of them .. They design a circuit, an arm, a cartridge a TT, a crossover, measure and since that term is liked .. (I don;t like it myself) "voice" it.. It has to measure, it has to comply to something after all ... Now the newbies, the naives, think candidly that after a few measurements .... Poof they have a product that will sound good and be better than anything else ... I am too experienced in things electronics, I am an engineer after all and too much of a music lover to hold such a view. I do however hold that anything we hear (not his emotional impact mind you) is measurable ... That we don't know how to measure it or that we are not measuring it are different issues. Audio reproduction is smack in the middle of technology contrary to what the esteemed Mark Eliott says.. he uses TUBES , not SS, that is a choice based on how they sound to him, how that technology is working for him.. Why doesn't he use a Wax cylinder? Compromises are part of life , in our jobs, everywhere.. these are what almost everybody in all walks of life works with or on, every day. The wise choice between what should be and what we have available ... SO yes, Audio designers make compromise.. and the better ones , yes , make the best compromise in their design, by listening and adjusting the parameters to arrive at a good results (often full of compromises, especially in speakers) .. All this solidly grounded in Science and Technology .. They are not performing magic , simply applying Science and Technology.

Now back to Tim' views which I find very interesting several of those I share ...

Frantz
 

mep

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Mike's amps are actually hybrid units Frantz. Tubes on the input, SS for the output. I do agree with most of the points you are trying to make and really, I think we are all saying the same thing in different ways here. Designing great gear is a mixture of art and science-you need both to succeed.

Mark
 

FrantzM

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Mike's amps are actually hybrid units Frantz. Tubes on the input, SS for the output. I do agree with most of the points you are trying to make and really, I think we are all saying the same thing in different ways here. Designing great gear is a mixture of art and science-you need both to succeed.

Mark

IIRC The Dar Tzeel are SS. I don't know about his phono stages or his RTR head amps ...


Frantz
 

Mike Lavigne

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Frantz,

i actually think we likely pretty much agree completely on the design approach of high end audio gear as well as how science plays the major part in the overall design. no competent design can be designed or manufactured without measurements being done during design and construction. choice of circuit design and choice of parts, wire, case, and power supply all involve measurable characteristics. a high percentage of the product's creation process is objective. but most all the decisions involve pespectives formed by listening to the involved components before or after assembly in some form or another. the hardware came from the vision of how it might make music. a computer did not just spit it out based on some theory.

i would expect we are simply saying the same things in our own individual ways.

btw; the only tubes in my system are in my Allnic H3000 phono stage. darTZeel is all ss.

i did used to have Tenor amps; my first Tenors were tubed OTL's, the later Tenor's i owned were hybrids, with a ss input stage and tubed output stage. there is likely info on my system at various places on the web which might describe the Tenor Hybrids has my current amps. sorry about the confusion that might have caused.
 

muralman1

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Mike makes a good point here about dynamic range with regards to analog. With analog, you can still hear information that is far below the noise floor and with digital, there is no information below the noise floor. Doug Sax said a long time ago that the true dynamic range of analog is far beyond what the measured specs for analog say it is.

Mark

I don't understand what you are saying. What is a, "Noise floor?" The CD format has much more dynamic range, if you have the system to fully realize it. The reason records sound more emphatic is it is a simple straightforward means to bringing the music to the listener. Over/up/clocked/filtered music looses any resemblance to the music on the disc. Leaving the music alone after conversion from digital to analog gives the music a chance for full expression. That is when the superiority of CDs becomes obvious.
 

Gregadd

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But for the digital onslaught vinyl might have reached its true potential. I had this dream Doug Sax Recording 200gram 45 rpm one sided direct to disc LP. That would blow digital and R2R away. R2R is not inherently superior to vinyl. It's that the tape has not been "stepped on." At some time I owned Thelma Houston- I Got the Music In Me- Sheffield Labs. Both DD and convetional. No contest. DD blew it way.
Just like tape vinyl benefits form a higher speed. Especially the inner grooves. Additionally recording on one side means you can put much more bass on the record.
 

Phelonious Ponk

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I don't understand what you are saying. What is a, "Noise floor?" The CD format has much more dynamic range, if you have the system to fully realize it.

Good question. Because here...

With analog, you can still hear information that is far below the noise floor

...we either have a brilliant designer who is using his own personal definition of "noise floor," or one who can manage to say just about anything with a straight face. Could be the former, given that he also made this statement...

The magnetic-particle flow past a playback head is equivalent to a 24-hit word, which is amazing resolution

...which clearly represents a personal definition of resolution, and this one...

I don't have to use tubes in my designs; I only do it for marketing reasons.

...which is painfully revealing. Makes one wonder how often he, and many others for that matter, choose the much less stable, much more expensive path for marketing reasons alone. Power supplies come to mind. Ah well, there's been a fine line between Edison and PT Barnum from the very beginning...

P
 

mep

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Tom-I think I have seen you make the same comment before about CD sounding "thick" to you and less lively than LP. What kind of digital playback system do you have that makes CDs sound thick? Do you hear that only on your system or all CD playback systems? To me, CD always sounded on the thin side which is why I find your comment interesting. I get the part about LPs sounding more lively, I am just surprised to hear you say that.

You question if we like a little noise, and I can tell you that I would prefer to have no noise other then the sound of music. I could do without any hiss or hum. Maybe it's more likely that some of us that have been around the block a time or two have come to associate a small amount of hiss with the sound of analog and our brains telll us to relax-good things are coming. You say you still find it disturbing to this day how CD cuts off abruptly as it hits the noise floor. Maybe the deathly digital silence (read: unnatural) makes some of us pucker up instead of relaxing.

And I have no intention of starting an analog vs. digital debate here. I am just commenting on Tom's comments. There are those here that think that digital is perfect and there are those who don't like digital. I have reached the point now that if someone tells me that their method of reproducing music is the best or it's perfect and my way blows, I just don't care anymore. As long as your happy, that's all that matters. If you have found your nirvana in digital music, I am very happy for you. I do want to let everyone in on a little secret though. I once had a near-death experience and I went to the bright light. When I got to the end, I saw a man with long hair and sandals welcoming me and he was smiling. When I looked close I could see he had a ball cap on with the Studer logo and a T-shirt with a picture of a Studer A820 on it. Underneath the picture of the Studer I saw the words "Analog is Heaven." Just thought I would let you know.
 

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