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Author Topic: A new meaning for the word analog...  (Read 7912 times)

Thomas W. Bethel

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A new meaning for the word analog...
« on: July 03, 2011, 04:10:01 pm »

A good friend suggested that one thing that differentiates digital from analog is that with analog you can hear the spaces between notes. I have noticed this myself and all my interns tell me when they listen to records, especially for the first time, that they can hear the instrument actually being in the space and the sound is continuous.

Comments?
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Thomas W. Bethel
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Doing what you love is freedom.
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Celebrating 23 years in business in 2018

Ben F

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Re: A new meaning for the word analog...
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2011, 08:54:50 pm »

Maybe print this message out on to a piece of paper so it's analogue, and see if there are more noticeable gaps between the words?
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: A new meaning for the word analog...
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2011, 10:28:57 am »

A good friend suggested that one thing that differentiates digital from analog is that with analog you can hear the spaces between notes. I have notice this myself and all my interns tell me when they listen to records, especially for the first time, that they can hear the instrument actually being in the space and the sound is continuous. With digital they seem not to notice the same thing.

Comments?

Not that good of a friend...

JR
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Laarsų

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Re: A new meaning for the word analog...
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2011, 10:53:17 am »

Well, of course, with digital audio, the sound is not continuous because it is only sampled.  So the audio strobes on and off many tens of times each second, or however many times per second is equivalent to 44.1/2, the Nyquist goal.  However, with a good clock, we should not be able to notice the sound gaps...  Unless there is something shining on the sound, like a light bulb at 60 Hz, say, while the sine wave you are auditioning at full volume is, say, 100 Hz.

I am somewhat surprised that your interns have picked up on this.  It must be because you take on college students and/or do drug screening with your background checks. 

It's true that analog is continuous and has a much quieter noise floor to begin with than digital carriers.  The problem with analog is that, because of its continuity and excellent SNR, it's very easy to make a perfect copy of the original, be it vinyl or tape, with no generation-loss or sound degradation, unlike with the various digital "file formats," so, unfortunately, analog is not very safe against piracy, which is one of the biggest concerns of today's recording artists.   

My biggest gripe with digital audio is actually that it's not possible to apply more than one type of dither before the signal self-erases.


Ymw (hopefully) v,
     Laarsų

( ;)
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Laars Oglethorpe, V
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MoreSpaceEcho

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Re: A new meaning for the word analog...
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2011, 12:59:48 pm »

complete baloney. i can hear the spaces between the notes just fine on digital. in fact i'd say i can hear them a lot better because there's no tape hiss and the noise floor's at least 20db lower. also i'm pretty sure the sound coming out of my DA is indeed continuous, call me crazy.

Gold

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Re: A new meaning for the word analog...
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2011, 01:37:44 pm »

Comments?

Quote
I am somewhat surprised that your interns have picked up on this.  It must be because you take on college students and/or do drug screening with your background checks.


I disagree with Laarso. The results of the test would be impossible if these measures were in place.
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Paul Gold
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Greg Reierson

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Re: A new meaning for the word analog...
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2011, 06:31:56 pm »

Well, of course, with digital audio, the sound is not continuous because it is only sampled.  So the audio strobes on and off many tens of times each second, or however many times per second is equivalent to 44.1/2, the Nyquist goal.

It works nothing like that. Look at the analog output on a scope. No space. No strobing. Just a smooth analog waveform. This is basic stuff. Let's not get too deep in the weeds with it.


GR

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Greg Reierson
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Jerry Tubb

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Re: A new meaning for the word analog...
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2011, 08:58:48 pm »

Perhaps it's a comment on the dynamic analog records of yore,

versus the squashed digital records of today.

"spaces between the notes" because of the dynamics,

not because of the format itself.

JT
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Cass Anawaty

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Re: A new meaning for the word analog...
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2011, 10:15:18 pm »

It works nothing like that. Look at the analog output on a scope. No space. No strobing. Just a smooth analog waveform. This is basic stuff. Let's not get too deep in the weeds with it.


GR
He's got to be joking.  I hope.
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Herbeck

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Re: A new meaning for the word analog...
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2011, 01:57:56 am »

I often perceive SRC, oversampling and AD/DA as a picture taken with a camera slightly out of focus.


Cheers,

Herbeck
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Jim Sam

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Re: A new meaning for the word analog...
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2011, 05:02:20 am »

I have notice this myself and all my interns tell me when they listen to records, especially for the first time, that they can hear the instrument actually being in the space and the sound is continuous. With digital they seem not to notice the same thing.
Have you and your interns listened to SACD?  Room detail / reverb was the very first thing I noticed the first time I heard that format.  Because I was used to hearing 16/44 through a rather lousy disc player in my living room.

The reason I bring up SACD and not the 24/96 files we listen to everyday is because of the setting you/they're probably listening in.  Get some good digital (that includes 16/44 done right) in your/their home living room and without your/their work hat on, and listen then.  Compare that to the inner groove area of the records and decide what you prefer.
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SafeandSoundMastering

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Re: A new meaning for the word analog...
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2011, 05:17:14 am »

There is an immense amount of balony spoken about audio and often by mastering engineers.
(I am not commenting directly about this assertion in the thread though).

American sausage variants (sorry if I have my cultural reference wrong) infiltrate every level of audio engineering.
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Barry Gardner
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Thomas W. Bethel

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Re: A new meaning for the word analog...
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2011, 06:50:04 am »

Have you and your interns listened to SACD?  Room detail / reverb was the very first thing I noticed the first time I heard that format.  Because I was used to hearing 16/44 through a rather lousy disc player in my living room.

The reason I bring up SACD and not the 24/96 files we listen to everyday is because of the setting you/they're probably listening in.  Get some good digital (that includes 16/44 done right) in your/their home living room and without your/their work hat on, and listen then.  Compare that to the inner groove area of the records and decide what you prefer.

In all my years as a mastering engineer I have never heard SACD. I guess I should at some time. Isn't SACD considered a "dead" format at this point? The players, if memory serves, were expensive and not much was ever produced for them. This article seems to say that indeed it is a "dead" format http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-10287419-47.html. There are a lot of other articles that say basically the same thing about DVD-A. Too bad if it as good as people say it was.
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Thomas W. Bethel
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Acoustik Musik, Ltd.
http://www.acoustikmusik.com/

Doing what you love is freedom.
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Thomas W. Bethel

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Re: A new meaning for the word analog...
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2011, 06:56:49 am »

Perhaps it's a comment on the dynamic analog records of yore,

versus the squashed digital records of today.

"spaces between the notes" because of the dynamics,

not because of the format itself.

JT

I think this maybe what they are really listening to.

They will sit and listen to a whole side (which they very seldom do with CDs). When they go home they will have "listening parties" where they invite their friends over to listen to some records. They are also buying a lot of other "analog" gear. One or two of them have gotten into reel to reel tapes. They could be on to something.
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Thomas W. Bethel
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Acoustik Musik, Ltd.
http://www.acoustikmusik.com/

Doing what you love is freedom.
Loving what you do is happiness.

Celebrating 23 years in business in 2018

Laarsų

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Re: A new meaning for the word analog...
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2011, 07:52:35 am »

He's got to be joking.  I hope.

Thanks, Cass. 

If you didn't know my post was 100% sarcasm, please re-read it, slowly. 


Laarsų
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Laars Oglethorpe, V
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Herbeck

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Re: A new meaning for the word analog...
« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2011, 12:18:05 pm »

Music today is often in one way or another used as background noise.
I think it's a good thing when people start to listen and noticing small differences in sound, placebo or not.
The main thing is that they have started to listen to music in a deeper and more focused way.


Cheers,

Herbeck
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Jim Sam

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Re: A new meaning for the word analog...
« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2011, 12:48:21 pm »

In all my years as a mastering engineer I have never heard SACD. I guess I should at some time. Isn't SACD considered a "dead" format at this point?

It's about as dead as vinyl was in 1993.  For the mass market?  Completely.  For a niche market (in this case classical music recordings), not by a long shot.  Of course, if 24-bit downloads really take off, it'll be completely dead.

(To be clear, I didn't bring up that format to rep it, just to illustrate the point of where and how you listen affects what you might think of any given medium.)
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: A new meaning for the word analog...
« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2011, 05:43:36 pm »

SACD is an interesting object lesson about technology. It was better, but yawn, the consumers did not beat a path to their door, because it wasn't better enough to drive enough demand to overcome friction in the marketplace.

Properly executed digital media is indistinguishable from the best analog media with the possible exception of exhibiting less flaws.

JR 
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John Moran

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Re: A new meaning for the word analog...
« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2011, 01:10:19 am »

Well, of course, with digital audio, the sound is not continuous because it is only sampled.  So the audio strobes on and off many tens of times each second, or however many times per second is equivalent to 44.1/2, the Nyquist goal.  However, with a good clock, we should not be able to notice the sound gaps...  Unless there is something shining on the sound, like a light bulb at 60 Hz, say, while the sine wave you are auditioning at full volume is, say, 100 Hz.

I am somewhat surprised that your interns have picked up on this.  It must be because you take on college students and/or do drug screening with your background checks. 

It's true that analog is continuous and has a much quieter noise floor to begin with than digital carriers.  The problem with analog is that, because of its continuity and excellent SNR, it's very easy to make a perfect copy of the original, be it vinyl or tape, with no generation-loss or sound degradation, unlike with the various digital "file formats," so, unfortunately, analog is not very safe against piracy, which is one of the biggest concerns of today's recording artists.   

My biggest gripe with digital audio is actually that it's not possible to apply more than one type of dither before the signal self-erases.


Ymw (hopefully) v,
     Laarsų

( ;))



I have a method to reproduce digital recordings in analog formats and thereby demonstrate the inherent flaws in digital recording as compared to the pristine nature of analog magnetic recording.

Take a reel of tape with the recording embedded into the oxide particles.  Now, carefully slice the recording into "samples" using a demagnetized razor blade and a calibrated edit block.  Depending upon the sampling rate you wish to use, be it 44, 48, 96, 192 etc, you will need to calculate the number of cuts per length of tape give the tape speed of the recording.

Example :  if the recording is at 15 ips, and you wish to emulate the same thing at Fs of 96k, you will be making a  96,000 sections out of each 15 inch length of tape. 

Each section of the analog "sample" in the above example will be 0.0001562 inches in length, so make sure you have a sharp razor and be sure keep the samples in order and in proper orientation to the tape path flow. If you lose a piece on the floor, that is considered a "drop-out" or uncorrectable error.  Then, using the finest of Scotch blue edit tape, put the samples back  together for a cohesive recreation of digital audio.  Using this process, you can easily demonstrate how digital audio ruins an analog recording by breaking up the continuous flow of program material inherent in analog recording.

I personally recommend beginners trying this first at 30ips and a Fs of 44.1K. this reduces the work load to a mere 44,100 slice per 30 inches of tape, and that's almost a yard (English) or meter (Metric) of tape.  Each sample in this test is much larger than the prior example, with each section or sample increasing to a comparatively large 0.0006802 inches in length. This is best for the beginning editor until they have the skills to tackle 3.75ips at Fs192Khz.

Once this is mastered, we can pursue the even greater degradation of the Reed-Solomon interleave used for error correction in digital audio.  This will entail having three copies of the original analog recording and a lot more Scotch tape. You will also need a -very- fine tipped Sharpie to label each matching piece from each of the tapes as 1,2,3 such that the  interleave of the data may be emulated. A magnifying glass may be of use here in the labeling process, but that is for the advanced users. Please master the first technique and let me know when you have it down pat, then we shall continue into the evils of data compressed digital audio. Make sure to have a heat shrink gun available for that training.

You can thank me later.

John Roberts {JR}

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Re: A new meaning for the word analog...
« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2011, 10:39:33 am »



I have a method to reproduce digital recordings in analog formats and thereby demonstrate the inherent flaws in digital recording as compared to the pristine nature of analog magnetic recording.

Take a reel of tape with the recording embedded into the oxide particles.  Now, carefully slice the recording into "samples" using a demagnetized razor blade and a calibrated edit block.  Depending upon the sampling rate you wish to use, be it 44, 48, 96, 192 etc, you will need to calculate the number of cuts per length of tape give the tape speed of the recording.

Example :  if the recording is at 15 ips, and you wish to emulate the same thing at Fs of 96k, you will be making a  96,000 sections out of each 15 inch length of tape. 

Each section of the analog "sample" in the above example will be 0.0001562 inches in length, so make sure you have a sharp razor and be sure keep the samples in order and in proper orientation to the tape path flow. If you lose a piece on the floor, that is considered a "drop-out" or uncorrectable error.  Then, using the finest of Scotch blue edit tape, put the samples back  together for a cohesive recreation of digital audio.  Using this process, you can easily demonstrate how digital audio ruins an analog recording by breaking up the continuous flow of program material inherent in analog recording.

I personally recommend beginners trying this first at 30ips and a Fs of 44.1K. this reduces the work load to a mere 44,100 slice per 30 inches of tape, and that's almost a yard (English) or meter (Metric) of tape.  Each sample in this test is much larger than the prior example, with each section or sample increasing to a comparatively large 0.0006802 inches in length. This is best for the beginning editor until they have the skills to tackle 3.75ips at Fs192Khz.

Once this is mastered, we can pursue the even greater degradation of the Reed-Solomon interleave used for error correction in digital audio.  This will entail having three copies of the original analog recording and a lot more Scotch tape. You will also need a -very- fine tipped Sharpie to label each matching piece from each of the tapes as 1,2,3 such that the  interleave of the data may be emulated. A magnifying glass may be of use here in the labeling process, but that is for the advanced users. Please master the first technique and let me know when you have it down pat, then we shall continue into the evils of data compressed digital audio. Make sure to have a heat shrink gun available for that training.

You can thank me later.

When making sarcastic posts it is useful to add emoticons  :P or perhaps a PS pointing out that you are kidding. Some people actually believe this nonsense.

JR
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John Moran

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Re: A new meaning for the word analog...
« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2011, 01:17:30 pm »

Tried it and it didn't work for ya ?  bummer...

Jim Sam

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Re: A new meaning for the word analog...
« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2011, 01:50:26 pm »

I have a method to reproduce analog recordings in digital formats and thereby demonstrate the inherent flaws in analog recording as compared to the pristine nature of digital recording.

Take a file with the recording embedded into the ones and zeros.  Now, carefully add no less than four EQ curves, a few with sharp Q settings and at least one shelf, occurring between 30 Hz and 1kHz.  Depending upon the tape speed you wish to emulate, you will need to add a second shelf over 8 kHz.

Also: please set a compressor to gently compress the signal around the nodes.

Following, pitch bend the file to continuously slow down and speed up much like a car in California traffic.  If you can make the rate of speed differences change between the beginning and the end of the recording, all the better.

Next, please set up two different EQ shelves.  The first will remove the bass response.  The second will add it back.  The two settings should be opposite and near equal, but with slight differences in amount and frequency placement.

Once this is mastered, we can pursue the even greater degradation of the tracing distortion of the inner-area of the groove in vinyl disc playback.  This will entail having distortion increase as the program gets closer and closer to the end of the playing time, or "side" if you prefer.

You can thank me later.
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Cass Anawaty

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Re: A new meaning for the word analog...
« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2011, 03:46:59 pm »

Tried it and it didn't work for ya ?  bummer...
;D
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Cass Anawaty, Mastering Engineer
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Twerk

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Re: A new meaning for the word analog...
« Reply #23 on: July 06, 2011, 05:10:15 pm »

When making sarcastic posts it is useful to add emoticons  :P or perhaps a PS pointing out that you are kidding. Some people actually believe this nonsense.

JR

I was 18,956 slices into this before I realized there was no emoticon. Glad I came back to re-read this thread.
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: A new meaning for the word analog...
« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2011, 01:19:20 am »

I was 18,956 slices into this before I realized there was no emoticon. Glad I came back to re-read this thread.
Just trying to be helpful...  8)

JR
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Twerk

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Re: A new meaning for the word analog...
« Reply #25 on: July 07, 2011, 03:02:35 am »

Just trying to be helpful...  8)

JR

Nah, I'm with you. I think in an effort to stay professional, or comedic, we need to be a bit clearer in our intentions so we don't end up like some other forum. Sarcasm is pretty great, but dangerous on the internet ;)

K, back to using this heat-gun on cd's in an effort to compress the audio.
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