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Author Topic: IC's kill music  (Read 55168 times)

maxdimario

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IC's kill music
« on: May 09, 2005, 07:58:30 pm »

There were some great records mixed on IC desks Very Happy

That doesn't mean IC's are great.

And that doesn't mean those records couldn't have sounded better on discrete desks.

IC's ruin the performance and dynamics in the high end, as well as smear reverb tails and distort localization clues.

Why?

IC's used in mixers are mostly OP-AMPS.  

An OP-AMP is short for operational amplifier.

As far as I know the OP-AMP was conceived as a predictable and stable DC amplifier for Analog computing circuits.

In other words op-amps were used to accurately sum or subtract voltages for calculations.

Why are op-amps more stable than conventional amplifiers for analog computing?..How are they more stable?

The op-amp is based on feedback.

An amplifier is designed with an open-loop (no feedback) gain that can reach a million and then reduced by feeding the output out of phase into the input to lower gain to the typical 10 or 30 times.

Anyone who has experience in audio electronics knows how high feedback ratios can kill the musical qualities of audio.

another thing about the op-amp is the low-impedance output it provides. Low impedance without need of external components.

Low impedance output+high gain means high component count.

one chip can have as many transistors as an entire signal path of a discrete desk.

Why did manufacturers begin to use the op-amp as the building block for mixers?

every op amp provides potentially high gain, low impedance output and good power supply rejection with minimal engineering, external parts count and relatively low noise without selecting components (expensive).

plus IC's are cheap. (the ones used in the big mixers are anyway..)


One other advantage is that an op-amp can easily be used to make eq's by placing capacitors in and out of the feedback path.

can you say distortion? I knew you could.

the fact that op-amps are so cheap means they can also be used to replace other components such as inductors etc. which cost many many times more.


is there anyone who is not a manufacturer out there who would like to defend the sound quality of IC's ?
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sharp11

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2005, 08:06:19 pm »

Well, the op-amps in my API 3124 dosen't seem to hurt its performance at all. Very Happy
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wwittman

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2005, 10:43:36 pm »

The API 2520 op amp is DISCRETE though... not an IC
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William Wittman
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Nathan Eldred

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2005, 11:09:43 pm »

I'll bet guys like Dan Kennedy, Tim Farrant, or Greg Gualtieri could design an IC based piece of gear that kicks butt!
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Nathan Eldred

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vernier

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2005, 12:00:43 am »

I thought the same when transisters came out ..tried to like it, but always go back to tubes. There is a place for ICs though (EMT 250)!!!
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dcollins

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2005, 01:00:36 am »

maxdimario wrote on Mon, 09 May 2005 16:58


Anyone who has experience in audio electronics knows how high feedback ratios can kill the musical qualities of audio.



Oh yeah, all those cutterheads are run open-loop.  Today's audiophiles wouldn't have it any other way!

Quote:


Why did manufacturers begin to use the op-amp as the building block for mixers?



It may have been cost, but it also may have been performance...

Now, what are users of the 990 supposed to think?  

They use an input stage, that by any measure, is the dreaded monolithic IC!  

It cannot possibly pass music.....

Quote:


can you say distortion? I knew you could.



But not inherent in the design of NFB eq's....

Quote:


the fact that op-amps are so cheap means they can also be used to replace other components such as inductors etc. which cost many many times more.



True, and when you need an inductor, nothing else will do.

Quote:


is there anyone who is not a manufacturer out there who would like to defend the sound quality of IC's ?



Everyone who has heard an amazing record made only with IC opamps?

Worry about the implementation and not the components, would be my advise...

DC

zetterstroem

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2005, 01:44:35 am »

ic's doesn't kill music...... bad engineers with bad monitoring and an idiot A&R on his shoulder do!!

yes most op-amps sound poor..... like the TL 071 series and NE5534 series....

used in 90% of ssl/trident etc...

but.... this is also why they have a sound!! dried out electrolytics is another!!

(actually i'm changing po-amps and electrolytics on a board this week.... to change the sound.... it has TL071 all over..... (trident series 65))

there are better sounding op-amps out there.... one of my favorites are the ad8065... but it's REALLY expensive to fit a 64 channel board with those!

i think it's really important to have clean uncolored monitoring... but i don't think that all gear in the world should be replaced by hi-end audiophile equipment!!

marilyn manson would sound so boring if every instrument wasn't colored and distorted and put through op-amps and other "crap"....

and for mixing i like a massive passive alot better than an avalon...... although the avalon says "class-a" and "discreet"..... actually most of those things sound thin and brittle.......

i hear the same in some hi-fi gear..... giant power supplies and class-a doesn't automatically mean higher fidelity....

every color has it's place..... dirt for dirty music..... clean for 2-channel classical.... and tubes/tape for.... everything??  Laughing
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Noting the music industry's complaints that illegal downloading means people are getting their music for free, he said, "Well, why not? It ain't worth nothing anyway." (b.dylan)

maxdimario

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2005, 03:07:24 am »

dcollins,

there is a difference between using a device such as the modern cutterhead at the mastering stage and using something like that in the tracking or mixing stage.

as far as the 990, I don't have the schematics handy but it is discrete and class a I believe? certainly not a 5534 or tlo72 as used in the big mixers I am talking about.
No matter what, discrete will always sound more musical because of the fewer components optimized for audio.
In the end it's the musicians and the arrangement and the mix that count, but that doesn't mean the ic's are making the sound.
as far as using feedback for eq's (cutting/boosting)I've found that they work best in a properly designed discrete circuit and not in the neg-feedback loop of the common op-amp.

as for the IC sound, there is an advantage only for the kind of music that is based on electronic sounds or ugly ones. Ic's make an outline of the sound but lose the depth etc.


lots of records were made on IC desks, but I'm glad that the best ones were made on discrete desks, because I like listening to them better.
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zetterstroem

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2005, 03:20:54 am »

"there is an advantage only for the kind of music that is based on electronic sounds or ugly ones"

hmmmm....... like in 90% of everyting sold today???  Very Happy

"but I'm glad that the best ones were made on discrete desks, because I like listening to them better."

i like listening to bob dylan..... i like the way he sings  Very Happy

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Noting the music industry's complaints that illegal downloading means people are getting their music for free, he said, "Well, why not? It ain't worth nothing anyway." (b.dylan)

bblackwood

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2005, 04:51:51 am »

maxdimario wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 02:07

No matter what, discrete will always sound more musical because of the fewer components optimized for audio.

Anytime anyone uses 'always' or 'never' when discussing subjective topics I head for the hills...
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Brad Blackwood
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ammitsboel

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2005, 05:10:42 am »

bblackwood wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 09:51

maxdimario wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 02:07

No matter what, discrete will always sound more musical because of the fewer components optimized for audio.

Anytime anyone uses 'always' or 'never' when discussing subjective topics I head for the hills...



So why didn't you do it in this thread? Smile
I agree with you, but what if some components are so bad that they go in total opposite direction of your goals? wouldn't you then consider them as always being the wrong thing?

IMO opamps are based on the wrong compromises, a million transistors fitted in a small chip to get specific measuring performance and low costs.
I've never heard of a Gourmet cook that blended fast food or pills(to kill the bi effect implemented by the bad ingredients) in his Gourmet dinner and have it taste better... have you?
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bblackwood

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2005, 05:20:49 am »

ammitsboel wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 04:10

bblackwood wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 09:51

Anytime anyone uses 'always' or 'never' when discussing subjective topics I head for the hills...


So why didn't you do it in this thread? Smile

Because by making the statement publicly, I hope people will stop to think about what's being said instead of simply buying into another wild argument that is baseless.

It's the implementation that matters, not the part.

Quote:

I agree with you, but what if some components are so bad that they go in total opposite direction of your goals? wouldn't you then consider them as always being the wrong thing?

My goals are not always the same (aside from pleasing the client). Are yours?

How many releases done in the last 30 years have been done with no opamps anywhere in the signal?
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Brad Blackwood
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ammitsboel

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2005, 05:38:10 am »

bblackwood wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 10:20

ammitsboel wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 04:10

bblackwood wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 09:51

Anytime anyone uses 'always' or 'never' when discussing subjective topics I head for the hills...


So why didn't you do it in this thread? Smile

Because by making the statement publicly, I hope people will stop to think about what's being said instead of simply buying into another wild argument that is baseless.

It's the implementation that matters, not the part.

No, It's the implementation and the part that matters!
It doesn't work like you are saying, you can't just chose what you are going to use blindly and expect it to be of any use.

bblackwood wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 10:20


Quote:

I agree with you, but what if some components are so bad that they go in total opposite direction of your goals? wouldn't you then consider them as always being the wrong thing?

My goals are not always the same (aside from pleasing the client). Are yours?

How many releases done in the last 30 years have been done with no opamps anywhere in the signal?

None that i can think of...
But are you suggesting that we shouldn't do it because nobody is doing it, I hope not?
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bblackwood

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2005, 05:46:27 am »

ammitsboel wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 04:38

bblackwood wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 10:20

It's the implementation that matters, not the part.

No, It's the implementation and the part that matters!
It doesn't work like you are saying, you can't just chose what you are going to use blindly and expect it to be of any use.

I was making the point that giving a good designer IC's doesn't change anything but the implementation...

bblackwood wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 10:20


Quote:

How many releases done in the last 30 years have been done with no opamps anywhere in the signal?

None that i can think of...
But are you suggesting that we shouldn't do it because nobody is doing it, I hope not?

The subject is discussing how IC's kill music and all of his fav records were done without any IC's anywhere in the path. I find this hard to believe unless he's listening to stuff from the 50's...

I am suggesting that many great sounding records have been cut with IC's in the path, so it can be done. Perhaps some people would rather blame the tool rather than their own ability?
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Brad Blackwood
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JGreenslade

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2005, 05:46:52 am »

The Jensen 990 looks pretty discrete to me.

See what you think, I have attached a schematic.

Justin

edit: The schematic is shown for informative reasons, I'm not trying to patronise anyone saying it's "discrete" :-)
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