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Author Topic: IC's kill music  (Read 54902 times)

maxdimario

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #30 on: May 11, 2005, 04:22:33 am »

Quote:


Have you ever really liked a record only to find it was all TL072's mixed to DAT? I have. Devastating.


would that be a dance or pop single from the 80's?

I have been comparing transistor vs. op-amp vs. tubes since I was a teenager with a soldering iron.

It's very easy to screw-up a discrete circuit, but relatively easy to design an op-amp one.

there is no doubt in my mind that op-amps, although more 'accurate' from a technical point of view because of the huge amounts of feedback and low impedance output do not translate music the way discrete circuits (transistor or tubes) do.

there isn't much guesswork about the sound of 5534 tl072s etc.

there are some improved op-amps (one that I use for converters is a video op-amp with a slew rate of 3000 V/sec.) and, yes they do sound better, but no matter what there is always that plastic feel to the high end or a little bit of ringing that makes high frequencies exaggerated etc. even when you work on the power supply.

and I am sure there are some good sounding chips out there, but none of those 10-dollar-a-piece chips are in the above mentioned mixers.

just listen to the sound of records during the 80's. The high-hats that sound a little like bursts of noise,

or more accurately: listen to the singles on those records, which were SSL'd most likely, and usually have a different sound than the album.

you will find lack of definition on high frequency and distant sounding tracks.

you can't judge the total effect alone. The best songs were often mixed with the dirtiest signal path because of additional processing and VCA automation, so we associate the sound with those songs.

Yes, I understand that this is a 'sound', and it can help to gel a mix together when all the peaks and transients have been softened, but I really can't see how any IC based desk can sound as good as a neve discrete or the discrete desks made in Germany, distortion aside.

For example: I don't think that someone, given the opportunity to actually own a Neve transistor, or an SSL for tracking and mixing would choose SSL...

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bblackwood

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #31 on: May 11, 2005, 05:39:25 am »

wwittman wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 21:27

none of that, Brad, in my opinion "kicks butt"

How did I know you would say that?

Quote:

I love the AIR desks for many reasons but none sounds as good as the discrete 80xx desks.

I'm sure that's because of the IC's...

Quote:

but i think there IS a point to the original post, even if it's simplistic.

If only the real world were that simplistic...
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Brad Blackwood
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JGreenslade

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #32 on: May 11, 2005, 06:07:13 am »

dcollins wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 21:51

thermionic wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 02:46

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" :)


I'm talking about the LM-394 input stage, the very first thing your precious music hits, and even though the 990 schema just shows a NPN pair, it's really something like 50 transistors paralleled together for low Rbb.  Look up the datasheet and see....  Built like those evil IC's I tell ya.

DC


"Built like those evil IC's I tell ya." :-)

The LM394 may well come in an 8-pin DIL package (they also come in T-05 metal cans), but I've always classified them as "discrete". LM394 are known as "supermatched pairs", as they constitute a pair of NPN transistors made on the same substrate, thus improving matching (hence the name).

An engineer I know was asked to build a 24-chnl "sidecar" to accompany a Helios discrete console. NSC "supermatched pairs" were used, the noise performance of the sidecar was better than the main console, and the band were very happy.

I've copied this from an email he sent me a while back:
Quote:


In 1995-96 a project was undertaken to rejuvenate London Weekend Television’s old outside broadcast mixer, a 1974 discrete Helios 24 into 4 into 2 into 1 with 24 channels & transformer coupling. This work was undertaken for & in conjunction with Electric Eel. The mixer was designed to be transportable, using a truck. The new owner of this machine was a group ‘The Las’. They insisted that all additions had to be discrete transistor type to match the original & maintain the unique sound quality.

In the process it was converted from the mono standard required for early television into stereo & interfaced to an Otari 2” 24 track analogue tape recorder. The mixer’s Producer communication unit was removed. In it’s place was designed & fitted a 24 into 2 discrete submixer. This took the Otari’s outputs & mixed down to stereo for the final digital master. It included pre-fade & post-fade monitoring.

Low noise was of paramount importance so the design used low noise ‘Supermatch’ pairs. Input was at +4 dBm into 600 Ohms with differential (electronic) balancing. The output was transformer balanced, also +4 dBm into 600 Ohms. Headroom was better than 20 dB (+24 dBm). The restored & finished mixer was successful & has been used ever since.



Forgive me if I'm missing the point here, but I've always thought of supermatched pairs as respectable components - unfortunately I am now told they are on the "endangered species" list of semiconductors only used in pro-audio, and as such manufacturers are gradually phasing them out...

PDF here: http://cache.national.com/ds/LM/LM194.pdf

Justin

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ammitsboel

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #33 on: May 11, 2005, 06:26:50 am »

Tom
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zetterstroem

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #34 on: May 11, 2005, 07:08:37 am »

i think bob katz signature says alot...

"There are two kinds of fools,
One says-this is old and therefore good.
The other says-this is new and therefore better."

you cannot generalize the sound of ANYTHING!!!

not op-amps.... not discreet.... not tubes..... not transistors.....

of course tubes generally sound like tubes..... but there are exceptions....

the same can be said about opamps and everything else.....

anyone who disagrees to this are either inexperienced or ignorant!!

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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)

ammitsboel

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #35 on: May 11, 2005, 07:25:56 am »

zetterstroem wrote on Wed, 11 May 2005 12:08

i think bob katz signature says alot...

"There are two kinds of fools,
One says-this is old and therefore good.
The other says-this is new and therefore better."

you cannot generalize the sound of ANYTHING!!!

not op-amps.... not discreet.... not tubes..... not transistors.....

of course tubes generally sound like tubes..... but there are exceptions....

the same can be said about opamps and everything else.....

anyone who disagrees to this are either inexperienced or ignorant!!



You are absolutely right!
So that leaves us with desire for equipment which apeals most to us and our way of living.
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Tomás Mulcahy

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #36 on: May 11, 2005, 07:26:42 am »

ammitsboel wrote on Wed, 11 May 2005 11:26


Oh, is it...?
I think you have to do some serious amp testing.


jfrigo wrote on Wed, 11 May 2005 04:24

Even if your personal preference draws you elsewhere, you have to admit that's a pretty good rig, ICs or not.

The Quad is VERY good you must admit Smile Not the best, but VERY good.

Timeline

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #37 on: May 11, 2005, 10:46:02 am »

dcollins wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 19:54

Timeline wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 19:01

The LM 394 sounds a bit dark to me.  It's up side is it's punchy.


Then try a MAT-02.  What is in the Calrec?

DC


5532's all the way through but dual drive amps on OP's w xformers. So it's not all bad.
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Gary Brandt
Timeline

maxdimario

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #38 on: May 11, 2005, 10:54:18 am »

zetterstroem wrote on Wed, 11 May 2005 13:08



you cannot generalize the sound of ANYTHING!!!

anyone who disagrees to this are either inexperienced or ignorant!!




Sorry, but I can and do generalize the sound of 5532/4 and tlo072 op-amps. and the other common types used throughout the 80's in mixers, hi-fi, guitar amps etc.

I have worked enough with them that I have an opinion based on experience.

there are/were better chips such as the old op27 etc. and the new analog devices chips which sound better.  But they still sound like complex miniature circuits.


I will also generalize that a circuit with a small amount of components that are not cramped together will sound better for music than a miniaturized complex circuit no matter what the specs are.

of course the designer has to know what they are doing.

generalization and opinion is what enables me to make quick decisions without wasting time, and I assume most of you in your respective daily activities do the same.

I do not need to experiment further with IC's since I have been doing it for years and have reached conclusions based on extended listening tests.

The only reason that IC's were implemented for audio is cutting cost and saving space. Sound had little to do with it.


Imagine an SSL with discrete electronics: it would have been as big as a truck and cost many times more than it did.
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zetterstroem

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #39 on: May 11, 2005, 12:43:51 pm »

you're not generalizing!

you use your experience to make judgements about what YOU do...

but the thing is that although you might need "uncolored" circuits for what you i might need an opamp based eq for what i do cause i think it colors better than eg. an avalon discreet class a eq...

or i might need a fuzz pedal with a dead battery...

better for you don't mean better for all other people at all times....

it's all about the context of things... and the quality you're trying to achieve...

if uncolored monitoring is what you're after i agree totally with what you say..... but when mixing i don't give a rats ass how it was built.... if that's the color i like!!

actually when mixing pop music the only things in the studio i didn't use was the gml comp the avalons and the fairman eq!! all fantastically built but completely boring to use....

if i was to record a jazz trio with two mics i would not compromise....

ok... now i think i stated the same thing a couple of times... you get the point
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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)

wwittman

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #40 on: May 11, 2005, 03:01:57 pm »

If someone prefers the sound of IC's far be it for me to say he's wrong.

But I make my own choices based on what sounds better for ME, and so should everyone else.

It's obviously more USEFUL to make those preference lists based on real world choices... as in, I like API desk, i don't like SSl's, etc... rather than on topology.
But if a pattern emerges it's not a bad thing to recognise, as part of healthy self-awareness, that one has a PREFERENCE for, say, discrete desks.

that doesn't say one "can't make a good record on____" or "can ONLY make a good record on _____"

it DOES say, based on what I've experienced, I'd RATHER make a record on _____


getting confrontational about it (as in "either ignorant or inexperienced") is both silly and pointless.

This sort of discussion is most useful as an exchange of opinions... because ultimately that's all it ever is.

I hope I never tell anyone he's just WRONG because he disagrees with me.


unless of course you believe that Saddam had anything at all to do with Sept 11, in which case, you ARE just wrong.
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William Wittman
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JackJohnston

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #41 on: May 11, 2005, 03:19:27 pm »

Quote:


unless of course you believe that Saddam had anything at all to do with Sept 11, in which case, you ARE just wrong.



Richard Clarke = Class A

Paul Wolfowitz = IC

dcollins

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #42 on: May 11, 2005, 04:49:24 pm »

thermionic wrote on Wed, 11 May 2005 03:07



The LM394 may well come in an 8-pin DIL package (they also come in T-05 metal cans), but I've always classified them as "discrete". LM394 are known as "supermatched pairs", as they constitute a pair of NPN transistors made on the same substrate, thus improving matching (hence the name).



No, it just acts like a pair of transistors, there are really bunches of parts in there.....  It's even described in the JE-990 white paper, iirc.

Quote:


An engineer I know was asked to build a 24-chnl "sidecar" to accompany a Helios discrete console. NSC "supermatched pairs" were used, the noise performance of the sidecar was better than the main console, and the band were very happy.



Not surprising as the 394 is quieter than 90% of opamps.

Quote:


Forgive me if I'm missing the point here, but I've always thought of supermatched pairs as respectable components - unfortunately I am now told they are on the "endangered species" list of semiconductors only used in pro-audio, and as such manufacturers are gradually phasing them out...


The point is just that people have become so enamored of the term "discrete class A" that they think nothing else can possibly sound good!  Even when they were actually hearing a dreaded IC...

DC

J.J. Blair

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #43 on: May 11, 2005, 06:05:43 pm »

All this talk of op amps and not a single discussion of slew rates.  That seems to me to be the biggest distinction with ICs, their inability to handle transients as effectively as discrete op amps.  However, I find the Analog Devices op amps to sound superior to the Texas Instruments TL07Xs.  It is a common upgrade in Series 80 consoles to swap the ICs as such.

The thing I notice with all IC gear, which I will qualify as sounding worse than discrete gear (with a couple of exceptions like the LA2A) is lack of headroom.  

Guess what I use for my master buss compressor ... an 1178.  Guess what else ... it's got an IC for the input op amp.  One of my particular 1178s, I prefer for that function rather than a stereo pair if 1176LNs.  Even though I admit I have toyed with the idea of making one of my 1178s discrete.

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vernier

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #44 on: May 11, 2005, 07:18:04 pm »

Yep, 1178s have ICs ..DBX-160s too.
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