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R/E/P => R/E/P Archives => Reason In Audio => Topic started by: maxdimario on May 09, 2005, 07:58:30 pm

Title: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario 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 ?
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: sharp11 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
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: wwittman on May 09, 2005, 10:43:36 pm
The API 2520 op amp is DISCRETE though... not an IC
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Nathan Eldred 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!
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier 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)!!!
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: dcollins 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
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zetterstroem 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
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario 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.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zetterstroem 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

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: bblackwood 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...
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: ammitsboel 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?
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: bblackwood 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?
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: ammitsboel 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?
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: bblackwood 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?
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: JGreenslade 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" :-)
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: ammitsboel on May 10, 2005, 06:10:19 am
bblackwood wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 10:46

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...

That's where i believe you are wrong, it's not as simple as you put it.

bblackwood wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 10:46


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?



The tools and the skills have to go together, I'm sure you agree.
I guess this argument will always come up when talking about equipment and we reach some kind of barrier "Perhaps some people would rather blame the tool rather than their own ability?".

In regards to if good records can be done with the use of IC's, then I'm not in doubt that it could/can be an OK result and I'm also sure that there are far more important factors to improve at the moment than the use of analog IC's.

But the truth is that no one exactly know how it would sound like today if the industry had gone the other way.

Henrik  
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: bblackwood on May 10, 2005, 07:51:32 am
ammitsboel wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 05:10

bblackwood wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 10:46

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...

That's where i believe you are wrong, it's not as simple as you put it.

Well, I'm no designer, I have to rely on designers like Dave Hill, Dan Kennedy, etc to get my facts straight. This is what they tell me and I know they know far more about design than you or I do...
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: ammitsboel on May 10, 2005, 09:39:56 am
bblackwood wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 12:51

ammitsboel wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 05:10

bblackwood wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 10:46

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...

That's where i believe you are wrong, it's not as simple as you put it.

Well, I'm no designer, I have to rely on designers like Dave Hill, Dan Kennedy, etc to get my facts straight. This is what they tell me and I know they know far more about design than you or I do...


I'm not in doubt that those guys know quite a lot more than you and I do, If all they know is completely right is another question.

I guess it will always end up like this, a thread that ends with a question.
These things that I believe is essential to good sound is something many designers sadly can't find any logic explanation to. Not unlike the cable discussion at Dan's forum.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Timeline on May 10, 2005, 10:24:59 am
I've been posting this point for years but it's like preaching to the choir.

I wonder when a charactor amp is designed, 2520 block style discrete,  that models
the best characters of the sounds we love.  A knob to create the IM would be quite nice.  I don;t think any design engineer could do it in analog and certainly not with digital.

We love Vacuum tubes and transformer intermodulation distortion & phase but not for everything.

The UA 1108 has some nice tones for vocals with bright mics but then I wouldn't use it on everything either.

The Langevin AM16 is great on direct bass and toms but I would rather have something a bit different on cymbals.

It's a crap shoot even with the best of or past out there and although it's true a chip is a pretty bad sounding alternative to discrete it also has it's place I guess.

For me, I'll take a straight wire any day.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Bob Olhsson on May 10, 2005, 11:08:23 am
A lot of ICs have very limited peak current capability. Some don't and people who are clever can work around the problems with many of the ones that do but have other advantages.

A lot of pedestrian gear and even some that is expensive has been designed by people who, to be charitable, aren't very clever. The parts aren't nearly as important as how they are used and the capabilities of the power supply.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: HansP on May 10, 2005, 03:23:14 pm
"op-amps are bad for audio"

IMHO this discussion is lacking a serious point:
OP-amps are not designed for audio !!

The semiconductor industry knows very well, what is good for audio applications, and what not. Therefore, IC designs have been created, that have a somewhat similar behaviour to OP-amps but THEY ARE NOT! They are integrated audio amplifier components (wow! -  or audio-whatever-functional), and are more costly than standard OPs.
One design constraint is - guess -  less open gain, and less or none internal negative feedback, and a different HF compensational circuit. Another one is low noise, which has also to do with the size of the structures, and the type and pureness of the materials.

We can find audio gear that is built with OP-amps (the cheapest and least challenging to construct), and other, built with audio ICs and discrete active parts.
So, when buying, everyone professional should examine what is inside, and this will be of some help to estimate the result...

That said, I fully agree that the design surrounding of the ICs will be crucial in any case. This especially includes mechanic/geometric design and placement of all parts.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: wwittman on May 10, 2005, 03:36:07 pm
Nathan Eldred wrote on Mon, 09 May 2005 23:09

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


Then how come NO ONE ever has?
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: bblackwood on May 10, 2005, 04:22:18 pm
wwittman wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 14:36

Nathan Eldred wrote on Mon, 09 May 2005 23:09

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


Then how come NO ONE ever has?

Gear that has IC's in the signal path: Both the Pendulum 6386 and ES-8. Lavry converters (including the venerable 924). Crane Song HEDD-192. Apogee converters. Focusrite consoles and gear. The Neve Air Montserrat console. Empirical Labs Distressors. Everything made by Prism. Studer A800.

I'm sure there are many more if you need them...
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Tomás Mulcahy on May 10, 2005, 04:41:23 pm
Yeah, the Quad 405 power amp uses op amps and an ingenious use of feedback. It's a VERY good amplifier, and the designer didn't need audio tailored op amps! I have a mark 1 from 1976, no modifactions made, and it's excellent, very transparent and easy on the ear with the Lentek speakers.

"ICs are bad" or "OP Amps are bad" is an argument that needs to be backed up with science, and so far there has been none. What there HAS been is examples of excellent sounding equipment that used OP Amps. The idea that "it could've been better if only..." is... a fantasy! It is not condusive to producing good sound. There is plenty of great equipment out there, gather your tools and get on with it.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: dcollins on May 10, 2005, 04:51:57 pm
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" Smile


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
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Timeline on May 10, 2005, 10:01:32 pm
The LM 394 sounds a bit dark to me.  It's up side is it's punchy.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: wwittman on May 10, 2005, 10:27:01 pm
none of that, Brad, in my opinion "kicks butt"

and more specificaly,  none of that is superior or the equal of its discrete counterpart.
I love the AIR desks for many reasons but none sounds as good as the discrete 80xx desks.

Nothing Focusrite makes or made is the equal of discrete equivalents (or certainly of Rupert's earlier discrete designs) and most of what Focusrite makes is simply crappy.

A-D?
I don't know.
I know which ones sound better to me than some others, but I don;t know that IC's are the anser or not.
I'll tell you I'd rather a GML.

IC's are largely unavoidable at SOME point, and certainly if digital recording is involved...
but i think there IS a point to the original post, even if it's simplistic.

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: dcollins on May 10, 2005, 10:54:41 pm
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
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: dcollins on May 10, 2005, 11:09:25 pm
maxdimario wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 00:07

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.



Just pointing out that if NFB was so destructive to music, the LP would be in real trouble as you will be using copious amounts just to get it flat....  The shaded dog would be one.

Quote:


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.



And why do you think that is?  

Quote:


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.


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

DC


Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: jfrigo on May 10, 2005, 11:24:21 pm
wwittman wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 19:27

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

and more specificaly,  none of that is superior or the equal of its discrete counterpart.



If a person can't make a great sounding record on an Air Neve into an A800, that person probably can't make a great sounding record. Even if your personal preference draws you elsewhere, you have to admit that's a pretty good rig, ICs or not. As for one of the other examples, it doesn't get any better than the the Lavry 924. There is no equal to that converter. I don't care if he put lamp cords in it. I might reconsider the use of lamp cords if he did! I don't think the mere existence of an IC somewhere in a device spells certain ruin for sound. That's far too general and simplistic. If it were only as easy as removing all ICs to get a great sounding record.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario 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...

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: bblackwood 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...
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: JGreenslade 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

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: ammitsboel on May 11, 2005, 06:26:50 am
Tom
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zetterstroem 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!!

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: ammitsboel 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.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Tomás Mulcahy 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.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Timeline 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.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario 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.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zetterstroem 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
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: wwittman 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.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: JackJohnston 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

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: dcollins 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
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: J.J. Blair 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.

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on May 11, 2005, 07:18:04 pm
Yep, 1178s have ICs ..DBX-160s too.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: thedoc on May 11, 2005, 09:36:09 pm
J.J. Blair wrote "Guess what I use for my master buss compressor ... an 1178.  Guess what else ... it's got an IC for the input op amp."  

Heretic!  You must be inexperienced or ignorant... Laughing
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: compasspnt on May 11, 2005, 11:10:42 pm
thedoc wrote on Wed, 11 May 2005 21:36

J.J. Blair wrote "Guess what I use for my master buss compressor ... an 1178.  Guess what else ... it's got an IC for the input op amp."  

Heretic!  You must be inexperienced or ignorant...



Or just really like bad sound...
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: David Kulka on May 11, 2005, 11:22:56 pm
There's no holy grail.  If IC's and Protools are out that doesn't leave much, what with tube stuff and Neve/API so darn expensive.  Expensive doesn't mean blameless though.  We could well nitpick a lot of tube and discrete gear and post some pretty embarassing specs, but of course many would scroll right past, or perhaps become angry.  A lot of early transistor gear was pretty raunchy, though somehow or other much of it has been edging into the $$$ vintage category.  That stuff Led Zep and the Beach Boys recorded on is fun to daydream about, but you might not wanna look real closely at the circuitry.  Some of those old transformers...yikes.

Sometimes I lust for beefy, pure analog vintage gear too but then I realize that what's really behind it is, today's music bores me senseless while Ten Years After and the Buffalo Springfield sound damn good, and do something to me emotionally.  Methinks perhaps it's not the technology, it's the times.  But hey, that's just me.  Spend a couple grand on a Pultec, save the mix.  Your investment will double in a few years, like a good stock.  Carry on.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zmix on May 12, 2005, 12:28:44 am
J.J. Blair wrote on Wed, 11 May 2005 18:05

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.



I would say that many of our beloved circuits are not so good at handling transients, but do something in a nice way dynamically, and this is what gives them their sound. For example, I have always liked what an API 2520 does to a snare drum, but it doesn't quite reproduce the full transient, and this makes the drums 'fatter'. The later API 2510 is a different animal altogether, and quite Hi-Fi.

The API 2520 contains 10 transistors in the signal path and has a slew rate of 3V/uS. Not what you would call fast.

The Hardy 990 has 10 transistors and 11 diodes and a slew rate of 16V/uS.

The 5534 has the equivalent of 12-14 transistors and 11-12 transistors configured as diodes and a slew rate of 13V/uS.

The discrete op-amp in a LA-3a (the output driver is functionally an op-amp) is designed using just 6 transistors.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on May 12, 2005, 12:47:53 am
Did someone mention Buffalo Springfield!? ...oh man, don't play the "Again" album (unless you wanna hear some really really nice tube gear).  
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: J.J. Blair on May 12, 2005, 12:53:38 am
compasspnt wrote on Wed, 11 May 2005 20:10

thedoc wrote on Wed, 11 May 2005 21:36

J.J. Blair wrote "Guess what I use for my master buss compressor ... an 1178.  Guess what else ... it's got an IC for the input op amp."  

Heretic!  You must be inexperienced or ignorant...



Or just really like bad sound...


Well, I would only use one of the two 1178s I have, so maybe I just have a goodie.  Bad sound.  yeah, that's me!  Not a single person has said to me at the end of a mix when I start the buss compression: "That thing sounds like shit."  I actually prefer that 1178 over my Manley Vari-MU, if I'm doing rock.  And my mixes don't suck.  However, you are unlikely to find me limiting more than -2 to -4db.  Terry, I'm bringing the thing with me to Compass Point.  I'm going to make you a believer!  You'll be on eBay buying more of them!

Maybe when I get a pair of 2254Es, or one of the stereo Inward Connections compressors, but until then I think it sounds better than a pair of 1176LN, if you can find a pair that are matched in the first place.  What do you like?  The API?

zmix, I think you articulated it better than I did, which is saying that the way discrete op amps handle the transients is more musical or more pleasant.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario on May 12, 2005, 05:47:13 am
Hi,

Regarding the slew rate, although a super fast slew rate is not really needed for audio (a lot of good audio circuits were bandwidth-limited and slow), it is essential for high negative feedback circuits such as op-amps (hence my choice of video op-amps).
This is because the output has to be perfectly aligned in phase with the input for the negative feedback to function properly.

neve discrete circuits, for instance, have a lot of small capacitors in the signal path that slow down the circuit. This is probably to eliminate stray R.F. from the audio path and make the amps more stable. (they have built-in high frequency filters)

for an amp to have a high slew rate it has to be very stable as a circuit, to avoid stray oscillations or ringing.  This makes it so that a slower circuit may actually function better for audio. The important thing is that it not be too slow, or too fast, depending on the circuit.


So for op-amps you need speed, for discrete it depends.


The 1178 uses op-amps for everything, and has no relationship to the 1176 circuit other than theory of operation.

You might like the grunge it adds, JJ.

The older op-amps were particularly grungy and add a certain roughness to the sound.

But then, you have to consider the integrity of the performance.

The thing with op-amps is that once you pass through an I.C. channel strip you've lost enough information that you will notice little further degredation regarding the integrity of the track. This is maybe why processing became so important in the 80's: the sound needs to be processed to gain back some of it's interesting qualities lost in the signal path.

What you want to do to check this out is to take a clean signal (from a discrete pre) and pass it through your I.C. device. Listen to what happens to the 'livelyness' of the sound compared to it's discrete equivalent.

Or since you are a guitar player JJ.. get out a good tube d.i. play your guitar through different studio compressors and boxes etc.
I'm sure you'll find that the best boxes are also the ones that feel better to play through.  There is a reason for this.

Fundamentally, there are characteristics to a sound that make it stand-out and be supportive in a mix.

The fundamental one is the performance, which is largely dependent on rhythm and transients. Then there is the 'hardness', size,  and natural-ness of the sound. if the bass was rich and full it should remain so, if the highs were captivating and urgent-sounding, they should remain so.

Once you remove the feedback from the typical IC used in mixers it becomes a grungy, bandwidth-limited noisy distorted super-high-gain amplifier. Each op-amp probably has over 15 or 20 transistors inside. Not good for audio.






Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: HansP on May 12, 2005, 06:20:24 am
So it is not the IC itself, but the reason to use it:
cheap and easy design, and space.
High-end gear designers may decide to use an IC in the signal path for a good reason, but then it will be a special device surrounded with well-designed circuitry.
Until now, signal delay and phase was not mentioned explicitly. The number of transistors in series will make a signal delay, and corresponding phase shift of the higher frequencies.
Audio ICs avoid serial transistor stages or add internal gain reduction and HF compensation for each amplifying stage. Specification is very clear what to to with the particular IC type, e.g. what gain it is made for. With an OP-amp you can do almost anything, but most time with limited quality.
As for slew rate, of course crucial for high negative feedback, but also to consider, a non-ideal A/D driven from a high-SL output might sound worse than with a slew-limited device.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Timeline on May 12, 2005, 06:35:43 am
So what I would like to see is a discrete opamp with:

Balanced electronically throughout +18 to +28 dependent on transformer select in or out.

variable slew rate selection 1vpm 2vpm 4vpm 10vpm 100vpm 200vpm.
variable im distortion in percent .001, .01, 1, 2, 4, 4.5%D.
variable gain (although it could be front end or non feedback type)
variable bandwidth 20khz, 50, 100, 200, 500khz  
on the low end flat to 3hz cutoffs (high pass) 20hz, 30hz, 40,50,60,80, 100 150 and 200hz all selectable per octave 3db, 6db, 12db, 18db,  ? using inductors
Lowest noise posible.

switchable transformer with one great OP transformer capable of +28 @ 20hz set 1:2 which would also switch in a current driver matched class A design pair that can handle big current.

Lets see a designer build this one!

Years ago I spoke with Dean Jensen about something like this.  He always wanted to design an amp with a knob for distortion but never got around to it.

I gave him an 1108 to model for one of the solid state tones.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: compasspnt on May 12, 2005, 08:52:28 am
J.J. Blair wrote on Thu, 12 May 2005 00:53

... Bad sound.  yeah, that's me!  Not a single person has said to me at the end of a mix when I start the buss compression: "That thing sounds like shit."  I actually prefer that 1178 over my Manley Vari-MU, if I'm doing rock.  And my mixes don't suck.  However, you are unlikely to find me limiting more than -2 to -4db.  Terry, I'm bringing the thing with me to Compass Point.  I'm going to make you a believer!


Hey!

Again, I was just being facetious...I didn't mean you really liked bad sound, or that the 1178 was bad!  I was just following up on the previous post's tongue-in-cheek humour.

My problem is that I totally refuse to use the little "emoticon" things, so sometimes my humour is just too dry to cut through the mix.

I'm sure I would like an 1178 in certain instances.

Best regards.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: J.J. Blair on May 12, 2005, 08:59:20 am
Well, since it seems relevant, somebody explain the popularity of SSL compressors to me, which I have just never really cared for.

BTW, I had an Inward Connections discrete stereo buss section installed in my console first thing when I got it.  I don't know the specs of the Inward Connections op amps, but I know that there are a number of people who have replaced all their 2520s in their API consoles with them.  Anybody else hip to these?

Terry, don't be hatin'!  

But seriously, I knew you were kidding.  Hey, we can't all have been spoiled with 175s.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: gtoledo3 on May 12, 2005, 10:17:10 am
Wow!

This is killing me! My brain is going to explode.

This is EXACTLY why I never made the move to digital. Or even tape.


Or EVEN recording!

My setup is pure and simple.

Elegant in it's simplicity.


Two coffee cans. One piece of string.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: David Schober on May 12, 2005, 12:18:50 pm
As for the SSL, console (and compressor..)

My old boss used to say, "It a great console.  I just doesn't sound good!"

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: compasspnt on May 12, 2005, 03:23:34 pm
David Schober wrote on Thu, 12 May 2005 12:18

As for the SSL, console (and compressor..)

My old boss used to say, "It a great console.  I just doesn't sound good!"




Bob Clearmountain:  Wanna chime in on this point?
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: JackJohnston on May 12, 2005, 05:20:24 pm


I wonder if there is something undeniably "pop" sounding about an SSL console that drives its popularity? I would guess that Mr. Clearmountain could use whatever he wanted, but must like the sound of it as much as anything else. But what are these mods that have been done to his board? Is it an SSL or is it really alien technology that has been carefully hidden in a 4072 G+?

Whatever the secret is, I bet the 35 foot water slide makes the mixes even a wee bit better. Not only that, the pool has its own kitchen.

Jack
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on May 12, 2005, 06:30:32 pm
I never knew anyone that liked SSL.

Hey we need shirts and hats .."IC's Killed The Music!" ..HEE!
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: jfrigo on May 12, 2005, 11:01:12 pm
vernier wrote on Thu, 12 May 2005 15:30

I never knew anyone that liked SSL.


Funny that it's the most popular console out there. Go figure. Somebody must like the damned things!

For me, as long as it's a G+ or later, and there's some good outboard to go along with it, it'll work; no gnashing of teeth necessary.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zmix on May 13, 2005, 12:43:48 am
I love the SSL. E series or G+ with E series EQ only, please!
Fantastic EQ, automation, machine control, and I love the quad compressor.

There are two major skills involved in mixing: Listening and Problem Solving. The first will not allow the process to get out of hand, and the sound to suffer, and the second will facilitate new and exciting solutions to the ever evolving musical questions raised during a mix. I find the SSL to be the most flexible and intelligent console I have ever used. If you run into trouble on an SSL, you are ignoring one of the above mentioned skills....

Nothing smacks into a tree faster than a Ferrari...
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: JDSStudios on May 13, 2005, 02:43:09 am
zmix wrote on Fri, 13 May 2005 05:43

I love

Nothing smacks into a tree faster than a Ferrari...


Lightning.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zmix on May 13, 2005, 08:54:00 am
My point was simply this: Don't blame the Ferrari...
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: David Schober on May 13, 2005, 09:19:07 am
I'm not saying the SSL isn't popular.  I'm just saying it's certainly not the best sounding console out there.  The newer ones, the J series do sound much, much better.  But the earlier ones, and even the best of them, the G+/Ultimation are so full of electronics...well that's what they sound like.  I've used them plenty and even gotten a some decent mixes on them.  But if the goal was to work on a good sounding console it wouldn't be a first choice.  Personally though I think their computer is the worst I've ever worked on...from the first ones to today's)

IMO, the SSL really started us down this path of squashing the crap out of a mix.  Until it arrived with a compressor on every channel and a master compressor, few mixes were over compressed.  I do give kudos to Mr. Clearmountain.  He's great.  But for a while there, in the first few years of SSL being the defacto console of pop/rock mixing, there was a ton or absolutely horrible mixes.  People couldn't resist the gadgets.  Some guys would gate and compress every channel.  At least as I see it, the ability to have so many compressors so easily accessible made it hard for mixers to resist.  Things got louder, harder and less musical by the misuse of this console.

I'm not blaming the SSL design team.  They made a very flexible console that sounded mediocre, but was immensely successful.  But, the technology did help pop music sound worse, not better.  Just listen to music before SSL.  Much more open, much more musical.  Now again, I'm not blaming SSL for everything.  There were many factors that were a part of why that happened.  I'm just saying it was a major factor and had SSL not existed (and assuming no one else would have made a console like that)  the sound of pop music in the 80s would have been much different.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zmix on May 13, 2005, 09:29:13 am
... ahem...... ahem...  Testing:  one...two...

Please substitute the term "SSL" with the term "Pro Tools" and the word "Clearmountain" with the word "Ricky Martin"

... ahem...... ahem...

Is a traffic jam the fault of the cars?
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: wwittman on May 13, 2005, 09:37:02 am
is winning a race the "talent" of the car?

One driver may prefer a certain type of car over another.

I tend to agree with all of David's SSL opinions.
but that's just MY opinion.


I can work happily on the gear I like without needing others to agree with me.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zmix on May 13, 2005, 10:06:41 am
wwittman wrote on Fri, 13 May 2005 09:37

is winning a race the "talent" of the car?


William,
This is really the same point. The answer is no, in both cases.
Remember also the old adage "It's a poor carpenter who blames his tools"? I'll say that the SSL can sound very neutral, but there is always the temptation when working on an SSL to make things 'bigger' or 'louder' using the compression and EQ -because it's there- and this is where the trouble begins. When working on an 80 series Neve or an API or a Trident A range, these desires never arise because the console adds it's own sort of 'unbelievably awesome' to the sound, simply pushing up the faders is satisfaction enough. It's a real enough phenomenon, but hardly unique to the SSL, witness the 'digital revolution'. Digital can also sound quite neutral, but overuse of plugins can really impart an unwanted patina on the sound. It's really a matter of listening and being more creative in finding solutions.
-CZ
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: wwittman on May 13, 2005, 10:14:23 am
We agree fundamentally... we just disagree in the SSL's "neutrality", which I see more as its inherently detrimental effect on the sound.

Yes it can be somewhat compensated for, but I hear its impact much more than I do the 'positive' impact of a Neve or API.

Running through a VCA and that many opamps in each channel strip cannot be artifact free.

But ultimately people should drive the best they can in ANY car... and should drive the cars or play the guitars they PREFER.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zmix on May 13, 2005, 10:32:35 am
Yes, I agree with you. However, the API or Neve are certainly not neutral, but they are certainly euphonic.  My fundamental issue is with those who really cannot drive all that well describing the "sour grapes" of the SSL in a sort of sycophantic feeding frenzy. Then again, this is what we love about the internet...
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: J.J. Blair on May 13, 2005, 01:08:43 pm
Well, as with most things audio, it's sometimes the limitations of the gear that make it attractive for certain applications.  What might look like a stupid idea on a schematic or an oscilloscope might have a function.  I find that the E EQ's sound a little crunchy, and that sometimes works on rock guitars, etc.  However, if my choices were between any SSL and an IC based console like the Series 80, I'm likely to pick the Trident simply for the fact that I like those EQs better and there is less temptation to use the gadgets (or for the band to ask you to use them).  And I've said it before, the J series is only beaten in the 'boring' department by the Neve Capricorn.  Zzzzzzzzzz...  Those two consoles are great if some weasel keeps asking you to recall mixes and redo them, and that's about it, as far as any purpose I could have for them.  
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: JGreenslade on May 13, 2005, 01:18:50 pm
wwittman wrote on Fri, 13 May 2005 14:37

is winning a race the "talent" of the car?



It's funny you should say that. A similar debate came up at another board, and I recited an old adage from motor-racing: "the best driver will always shine through, even if they're driving a double-decker bus".

The analogy implies to me that a talented designer will always make something *relatively decent*, regardless of whether it's discrete, or 5532 op-amps, and a good AE will always make a relatively professional mix, even if the console is stuffed full of 5532/34 (Bob Clearmountain?).

With all things being equal, I would say that I prefer discrete for the reasons stated in the following quote, but when are all things equal in the real-world?

Taken from http://www.dself.dsl.pipex.com/ampins/discrete/discrop.htm
Quote:


Circuitry made with discrete transistors is not obsolete. It is appropriate when:


1) A load must be driven to higher voltages than the opamp can sustain between the supply rails. Opamps are mostly restricted to supply voltages of +/-18 or +/-20 Volts. Hybrid-construction amplifiers, typically packaged in TO3 cans, will operate from rails as high as +/-100 V, but they are very expensive, and not optimised for audio use in parameters like crossover distortion. Discrete opamps provide a viable alternative.

2) A load requires more drive current, because of its low impedance, than an opamp can provide without overheating or current-limiting; eg any audio power amplifier

3) The best possible noise performance is required. Discrete bipolar transistors can outperform opamps, particularly with low source resistances, say 500 Ohms or less. The commonest examples are moving-coil head amps and microphone preamplifiers.

4) The best possible distortion performance is demanded. Most opamps have Class-B or AB output stages, and many of them (though certainly not all) show clear crossover artefacts on the distortion residual. A discrete opamp can dissipate more power than an IC, amd so can have a Class-A output stage, sidestepping the crossover problem completely.



Cheers,
Justin
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: wwittman on May 13, 2005, 07:13:15 pm
well except that a lot of good designers will AVOID topology they simply don't prefer... and those who dabble in both usually have  their best work clearly behind them (Rupert Neve)

""the best driver will always shine through, even if they're driving a double-decker bus."

well, actually the singular "best DRIVER" takes the singular "HE" not 'they'..

"the best driver will always shine through, even if HE's driving a double-decker bus".

bad grammar is even worse than IC ciruit design.


pedantically yours,
ww
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: J.J. Blair on May 13, 2005, 07:27:02 pm
William, wake up and smell the 21st century.  The days it is more politically correct to use "they" in order to avoid implying gender.  People fear feminazis more than grammar nazis.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Loco on May 17, 2005, 08:29:51 am
zmix wrote on Fri, 13 May 2005 09:29

Is a traffic jam the fault of the cars?


It is when a bunch of toyota corollas are involved. Add to that some toolbox small pickup trucks, more toyotas of different types, several Buicks, and your blood will start to boil.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: sharp11 on May 17, 2005, 12:39:09 pm
Loco wrote on Tue, 17 May 2005 13:29

zmix wrote on Fri, 13 May 2005 09:29

Is a traffic jam the fault of the cars?


It is when a bunch of toyota corollas are involved. Add to that some toolbox small pickup trucks, more toyotas of different types, several Buicks, and your blood will start to boil.



Huh? am I missing something here? A traffic jam full of BMW's, Porches and Mercs is still a traffic jam and will still get your blood boiling (if you're type A).

I think a new analogy is needed.

Ed
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario on May 17, 2005, 03:58:21 pm
The idea is that with some desks the music does the talking.
With the I.C. desks, you can get a decent result, but the music is filtered through the desk's heavy electronic footprint.

The music shouldn't be filtered and modified to 'play well' on a desk which has inferior electronics than a decent home hi-fi.

If the desk is musically transparent (discrete) and the music is good to begin with you get a 'sound' which is tied directly to the music.

Otherwise you get the SSL sound or the '80's mixer' sound, not a timeless musical sound.

If you need dirt to gel it together maybe it's better to have the option at the mastering stage?

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: J.J. Blair on May 17, 2005, 09:04:30 pm
Max, I disagree.  I consider the SSL 9000 to be much more transparent than any of the discrete Neve consoles.  But that just sounds boring.  I like the character that the discrete electronics have, and the way they color the signal.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on May 17, 2005, 10:03:17 pm
I'm listening to Revolver right now  (all tube) ..ya can't touch that.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario on May 18, 2005, 03:31:49 am
J.J. Blair wrote on Wed, 18 May 2005 03:04

Max, I disagree.  I consider the SSL 9000 to be much more transparent than any of the discrete Neve consoles.  But that just sounds boring.  I like the character that the discrete electronics have, and the way they color the signal.



J.J. you hit the nail on the head! Surprised

the ssl 9000 is a modern concept of the old SSL and probably uses modern ic's (someone correct me as I've never looked at the inside).

there are Ic designs which are clear sounding.

No matter how 'clean' they are they sound 'boring'! as you said.

It's not the added harmonics that make the sound of the discrete consoles, it's the kind of discrete design which is concieved for AUDIO. Simple and low active compoment, mostly class a.

Class a does have a different distortion footprint that sounds more musical, but it is more musical overall for the PERFORMANCE.

the music sounds exciting before it goes in the desk, and becomes constipated and tight like a lot of semi-pro Hi-Fi equipment does, on the cleaner IC desks. This is also a kind of distortion.


J.J. you play guitar!!!... have you noticed that the guitar amps that have a small amount of tubes (tweed, ac30) and no feedback feel better on your fingertips and capture the feel element a bit better? There is a reason.


Like Paul Kossoff once said: placing boxes between the guitar and the amp removes the 'soul' element (less elements in the signal path)

Have you tried plugging a strat(with the more 'accurate' single coils) into a simple discrete/passive DI and playing through the IC boxes, then playing through the discrete boxes?.

I know it sounds like a stupid experiment, I know, but I'd like to get your reactions.. how you feel about the sound.

there is one thing that only the older analog audio engineers seem to have respected: the livelyness or lifelike quality of the sound.

this is not due to added distortion, but to the way the circuit responds to transients and 'chaotic signals' to paraphrase Oliver Archut.

no matter what distortion specs, the simple discrete amps keep the music.

On the other hand, a good IC (high feedback integrated circuit) will reveal some of the low-level details to the point of making them noticeable.

Unfortunately the low-level details are not as important as the 'musical-ity'  of the sound that goes into the mic.. and should make it all the way to the mastering stage.

Or, record a ribbon mic such as an rca 77 (no onboard active electronics)into a fully restored tube or discrete transistor preamp like old neve, etc.etc. and then compare through a focusrite red, or the input preamps of an IC mixer (if it has an IC preamp).

listen to acoustic guitar voice, reverb tails, realism.

I know I'm insisting, but how can I not insist when 95% of the industry seemingly has been using those mixers since 1980 without really questioning the sound?

must be all those lights and switches! Smile
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zetterstroem on May 18, 2005, 03:53:31 am
"I know I'm insisting, but how can I not insist when 95% of the industry seemingly has been using those mixers since 1980 without really questioning the sound?"

a solid case of the emperor new clothes!!

never liked those big consoles..... too long and lossy signal path....

the focus in these consoles have NEVER been on great sound but rather great flexibilty....

btw... i'm sure the 9000 uses 553x op-amps..... i know the preamps in it does.....
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: John Ivan on May 18, 2005, 02:24:21 pm
I just thought I would ad that, When I hear stuff from the 80's ,I hear bad drum sounds. Bad reverb's, horrid operational decisions {eq,compresion}. Terrible guitar tones, badly written songs sung by very bad singers, {except for a few}, very dead rooms, miss- calibrated Tape machines and so on. I don't buy for one second that IC's had anything to do with it. Many folks are recording new stuff in these rooms with the same consoles and it sounds amazing..

Find me a discrete console that has what I need that does not cost $90,000 and I'll come running. Really, the biggest thing I worry about is what goes IN. As long as It's not just horrid, I could give a fuck what the mixer is.As long as it sounds good when I put drums and vocals up???? Fine.

Just my 2 cents
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: J.J. Blair on May 18, 2005, 03:02:53 pm
FYI, the only discrete part of my console is the stereo buss section.  There was a record that was mixed by the same engineer, half here using my 827 and half at Mad Hatter on their 8078 with their 800.  The mastering guy couldn't tell the difference between the mixes.  However, I wouldn't mind upgrading my console to a custom built 32x24 Daking.  The only thing I really can;t stand about the IC part of my console is the tendency for a channel to run out of headroom.  Of course, there are other limitations I encounter from the ICs, but I make great sounding mixes nontheless (according to my clients, at least).
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on May 18, 2005, 03:53:19 pm
Please don't lump descrete and tube together ..they have nothing in common.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: compasspnt on May 18, 2005, 04:10:59 pm
Good point, JJ.

It is so easy to dismiss IC consoles.  It is so easy to dismiss  Protools.  It is so easy to dismiss....(insert product here).

We should have better things to do.

Given the choice, I would rather mix on a discrete console.  Given the choice, I prefer the "sound" of tape.

But we must use what we have in front of us, to the best of our abilities, so those choices aren't always practical.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: John Ivan on May 18, 2005, 04:50:49 pm
compasspnt wrote on Wed, 18 May 2005 15:10

Good point, JJ.

It is so easy to dismiss IC consoles.  It is so easy to dismiss  Protools.  It is so easy to dismiss....(insert product here).

We should have better things to do.

Given the choice, I would rather mix on a discrete console.  Give the choice, I prefer the "sound" of tape.

But we must use what we have in front of us, to the best of our abilities, so those choices arent' always practical.


Yes Yes Yes!! That is right. I mixed a few tunes on my friends Mackie rig and I just don't like those digital mixers. I like the hard drive recorder ok though. Anyhow, I just listened to those mixes. Not bad at all. The artist was very happy and so am I. Would have rather mixed on an 80-B? sure but,even better still would have been an 80xx neve and a 1/2" machine.

Terry makes the most important point about all this. Use the best stuff you can but don't ever let not having certain gear prevent you from trying to do your best work.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: J.J. Blair on May 18, 2005, 05:37:39 pm
I'm going to bring this discussion back to a familiar reference point for me, which is Jason Falkner's demos.  Some of them are extremely lo-fi, but because the songs are great and the performances and production are stellar, they are a joy to listen to, inspite of the fact that they kinda sound like crap.  They have soul.  

I had a discussion with Frank Fillipetti (sic?) recently.  He has a Neve Capricon, which I consider to be the all time most boring sounding console.  However, it might be useful for him.  I mean, the way Clive Davis asks for remixes, that would be a decent option.  Plus, he does so much non-rock type stuff, that the relative neutrality of the console wouldn't be too bad.  For all I know, it's not his favorite sounding console, but he's a definite pro and knows how to get good sounds no matter what he's working on, I'm sure.  

But even digital consoles can't kill music.  That's an A&R person's job.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: thedoc on May 18, 2005, 09:22:23 pm
compasspnt wrote on Wed, 18 May 2005 13:10



But we must use what we have in front of us, to the best of our abilities, so those choices arent' always practical.


And perhaps we like some of the features that the new equipment has...
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxim on May 19, 2005, 01:38:27 am
max dm wrote:

"I know I'm insisting, but how can I not insist when 95% of the industry seemingly has been using those mixers since 1980 without really questioning the sound?"

why do people eat at macca's?

convenience, familiarity and a semblance of taste
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario on May 19, 2005, 08:45:35 am
vernier wrote on Wed, 18 May 2005 21:53

Please don't lump descrete and tube together ..they have nothing in common.


actually they do...

tubes are discrete components.

dis
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: ammitsboel on May 19, 2005, 08:46:05 am
J.J. Blair wrote on Wed, 18 May 2005 03:04

Max, I disagree.  I consider the SSL 9000 to be much more transparent than any of the discrete Neve consoles.  But that just sounds boring.  I like the character that the discrete electronics have, and the way they color the signal.


Have you considered the fact that the SSL console doesn't sound more transparent, just different in type of a loss in musicality?

These statements reminds me of the issue about the Prism MEA2 EQ that definitely looses musicality or colour when running a signal through it. Many people confuse this for transparency which is most certainly not the case!

Best Regards
Henrik
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Nathan Eldred on May 19, 2005, 11:21:26 am
Aren't Studer 827's and Trident 80's chock full of IC's?
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Johnny B on May 19, 2005, 11:37:25 am
Sorry to bust in on the tail end of this discussion with a question.

Are you good folks debating Russell O. Hamm's 1973 AES white paper, the one that Doug Fearn has posted at www.dwfearn.com?

This one:

http://www.dwfearn.com/tvst1.htm


Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: wwittman on May 19, 2005, 12:26:57 pm
WARNING:
MAJOR DIGRESSION AHEAD...

J.J. Blair wrote on Fri, 13 May 2005 19:27

William, wake up and smell the 21st century.  The days it is more politically correct to use "they" in order to avoid implying gender.  People fear feminazis more than grammar nazis.



Sorry for the late response.... I've been chained to a female singer in the throes of pre-produciton.

ACTUALLY, I agree with you that, at least in part, the tendency to use "they" is encouraged by the desire to appear 'non-sexist'...
but then the correct construction is:

"the best driver will always shine through, even if HE or SHE is driving a double-decker bus"

One can always just use SHE, no matter what; but it's interesting how that rubs so many men the wrong way (even though they wouldn't mind using HE, to mean a  man or a woman; which rather validates some women's bristling at the choice of a sex specific singular pronoun. But such is English.)

But I think it's not only about the sexist angle... it's also that in these days of sloppy grammar, people think 'THEY' sounds more 'correct' to their ears. (note the plural 'ears' to accompany the plural 'they')

If you want to get me REALLY whingy, we can talk about the first person pronoun.
People now think that "I" is almost ALWAYS "classier sounding" than "ME" even when 'me' is clearly correct.

Saying "between you and I" only makes you sound like you didn't pay attention in the 3rd grade when they covered prepositions and the objective case.

But people, I believe, THINK it sounds "educated" to say "I" all the time.

"It always seems to my wife and I..."
"Jim went to the game with Bob, Nigel, and I..."
"He didn't want the job if it meant working under Stan and I..."

all WRONG.
and glaringly so.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: wwittman on May 19, 2005, 12:44:15 pm
My long-time, some-time, producing partner and I did the test many years ago (back when the issue was a good bit less muddled)

we simply accumulated a pile of 100 records and listened and tried to group them into basic sonic character.
And there WERE usually three apparent piles.
If I could attempt to characterise them they were:
The apparently loud to the point of almost crunch.
The present and 3-D.
The 2-D or 'transparent' (in its literal sense of see-through, or flimsy).

and THEN we looked where they were recorded and it wasn't that difficult to determine a trend.

The first group were the all tube records, the second the discrete transistors, the third the IC's.

But of course these days it IS rather more muddled with perhaps discrete mic pres into IC tape machines  and then the entire thing into a digital recorder.

If I showed you newspaper photos of Rembrandts and Van Goghs could you accurately compare the brush strokes?
You might get a HINT of the differences in such widely divergent styles, even in the low res reproduction.
but it's still only a newspaper photo.

After we did this experiment (and we were SURPRISED at how easy it was at the time and how strongly we preferred what we did)... i went back and revisited lots of my OWN work and had the same feleing.
in fact I used him as a bit of a Guinea pig as well.
Playing him things I had recorded over the years and seeing what his reactions were.
And AGAIN, it was surprisingly consistent how he could pick out, and would always prefer, the discrete desks from the IC ones.

I've made the choice many times after recording on a discrete desk to mix on one as well... to not LOSE any of that character by mixing on an IC desk.
That's not ALWAYS important to me.
But often it is.

Naturally in the real world we make decisions based on multiple factours, not ONLY this one.
So would I rather record a drummer in a great sounding room and where he's comfortable and where we can afford to do it within the budget and where I have all the mics I want and so on, even if that means it's NOT a discrete desk?
Well, MAYBE!
My point is that we balance these things and then make the best record we can.

But that doesn't change my clear PREFERENCE to work on discrete transistor desks.
I think they sound BETTER.

and at least for me, it doesn;t matter what type of music it is.
I still want the same thing from my recording.

I don't want a string quartet to be any less solid sounding than a snare drum in a rock band.
I may not want the same ROOM to put them in, but the desk doesn't need to change.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: J.J. Blair on May 19, 2005, 02:42:42 pm
William, I was wondering why things were so quiet around here, and now I know why; you were MIA.

We seem to have both had the same grammar teacher.  My pet peeve is the non-use of conditional and subjunctive tenses.  "If I was..."  "I wish I was..."  Drives me up the wall.  But I digress...

BTW, you're not one of those producers who is anal about enunciation, are you?  I'm working with this guy who will freak out if there isn't a take where the "v" in love is clearly audible, or something, and he'll have his $400/song session singer come back in to redo one line.  It's funny what some people focus on in the studio.

Max is right, no?  My understanding was that the layman's definition of discrete circuitry was that it excludes any ICs, thus tube circuits are discrete.  Am I incorrect?
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: JGreenslade on May 19, 2005, 02:42:52 pm
Quote:


Sorry for the late response.... I've been chained to a female singer in the throes of pre-produciton.

ACTUALLY, I agree with you that, at least in part, the tendency to use "they" is encouraged by the desire to appear 'non-sexist'...
but then the correct construction is:

"the best driver will always shine through, even if HE or SHE is driving a double-decker bus"

Snip...

all WRONG.
and glaringly so.



Shouldn't that be "All wrong. And glaringly so."?

If someone picks holes in the application of grammar by others, shouldn't that person have the decency to spell correctly, and utilise capital letters where appropriate?

Although you are correct in asserting use of the colloquial "they" (post-traumatic stress due to "feminazis" believe it or not) to be erroneous, when "he / she" would have been appropriate, I wonder what kind of climate it creates for members of the board to whom English is not a first language when they read such comments?

Are you trying to put people off making quick posts for fear of grammar-Nazis, or just create a climate where non-native speakers of English are deterred from joining in the debate? I get rather sick of reading posts by members who don't speak English as a first language stating "sorry for my bad English" in their posts. Music is a universal language, and that's why this place exists, isn't it?

I've always thought of PSW as one of the more "cosmopolitan" message-boards, hopefully it will remain so...

Cheers,
Justin
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: JGreenslade on May 19, 2005, 02:50:17 pm
Quote:


My understanding was that the layman's definition of discrete circuitry was that it excludes any ICs, thus tube circuits are discrete. Am I incorrect?



No. "Discrete" refers to anything that doesn't use integrated-circuits, therefore an all-valve path could be described as such (anyone want to get pedantic?).

Taken from www.dictionary.com:
Quote:


1) Constituting a separate thing. See Synonyms at distinct.
2) Consisting of unconnected distinct parts.



One issue that hasn't reared its head in the debate so far would be HF oscillation in i.c-based devices (in the Mhz region). GM made a point of discussing this in the snippet I witnessed from Lynn Fuston's "Preamps in Paradise" seminar (where's the video Lynn?).

Justin
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: JGreenslade on May 19, 2005, 02:56:09 pm
I should add to the last point that DC mentioned "super-matched pairs" earlier in the thread - they blur the boundaries slightly as they come in DIL packages, and look just like a chip to the untrained eye. SMPs contain numerous transistors which are paralleled to even out variations, thus obtaining superior matching between sides.

Even though SMPs are "integrated circuits", in that they contain many transistors, I would classify them as discrete because they are effectively 2 (they went up to 8 last time I checked) individual transistors in one DIL package, and as such possess heat-dissipation abilities on a par with a discrete component, and can withstand higher DC bias than a chip due to greater surface area for thermal dissipation.

Justin

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on May 19, 2005, 05:26:04 pm
So, my V72s and RCA tube pres, BA6A and UA limiters are discrete? ...hmmm, didn't know that.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zmix on May 19, 2005, 10:14:04 pm
"the best driver will always shine through, even if HE or SHE is driving a double-decker bus"



A more specific and less inflammatory way to state this would be to say:


"the best driver will always shine through, even while driving a double-decker bus"
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: PaulyD on May 19, 2005, 11:23:27 pm
All this talk about the affect of ICs on analog music signals and not a single mention of digital signal processors. Digital reverb, delay or multi-fx units from Lexicon, Eventide, Yamaha, Sony, Roland or even a good ol' Ensoniq DP/4 are loaded with ICs. Is their impact on the signal considered negligible? Or is DSP just considered a necessary evil that you try to keep to an absolute minimum? Are all the hardcore analog guys still using EMTs and echo chambers? I'm not being a smart aleck, I'm genuinely curious.

Paul
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: J.J. Blair on May 20, 2005, 01:03:15 am
thermionic wrote on Thu, 19 May 2005 11:50

Quote:


My understanding was that the layman's definition of discrete circuitry was that it excludes any ICs, thus tube circuits are discrete. Am I incorrect?



No. "Discrete" refers to anything that doesn't use integrated-circuits, therefore an all-valve path could be described as such (anyone want to get pedantic?).


As Fletcher says, why is it you never have a ball peen hammer handy when you need one?
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on May 20, 2005, 01:10:03 am
Heck, I'm a transistor-basher, so I'll just call 'em transistors.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Yellowguy on May 20, 2005, 04:29:09 am
Johnny B wrote on Thu, 19 May 2005 17:37

Sorry to bust in on the tail end of this discussion with a question.

Are you good folks debating Russell O. Hamm's 1973 AES white paper, the one that Doug Fearn has posted at www.dwfearn.com?

This one:

http://www.dwfearn.com/tvst1.htm





Interesting article, it summarises what I've been told for many years and explains it a little clearer.

What I've also been told a few times is that germanium transistors will exhibit similar harmonic content to tubes when overloading.
Does anybody know more about this?

Marco Manieri
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zmix on May 20, 2005, 05:29:25 am
I'd like to introduce a reality check here as an attempt to reel in some of the steaming dogma...


I love analog tape, but even the creme de la creme Studer A-800 has many many IC opamps in the signal path, and these can get hit very hard on the input side. As higher operating levels became standard in the late 1980s and early 1990s many 2" machines were often stretched beyond the headroom limitations of their electronics. I cannot count how many people back then opined to me that 3M 996 was "hard sounding", when in fact it was the head amps that were pushed into clipping, not the tape which was the cause. (Tape cannot hard clip!)

Furthermore, an IC opamp can be a perfectly good device for audio IF it is operated in its  linear range. We like opamps in a utility capacity, like the front end of A/D and D/A converters because they can be very gentle with the signal. What we don't like is when these conditions are exceeded and we start to encounter the artifacts. Much like digital audio, an IC opamp is linear up to the point where it clips. In theory there is not a tremendous amount of difference between a 5534 and a 2520 opamp. Both are designed to be modular 'building blocks' to facilitate easy maintenance. The 5534 is more over-designed to be more linear. It has a better slew rate, better current regulation, power supply rejection, etc. When pushed, it has a 'sound'. The 2520 is a bit simpler than the 2234 and when pushed it has a 'sound' too. We like the 2520 because it does nice things when it gets pushed.

I believe that it comes down to this:

Humans like asymmetrical waveforms, and single ended designs (which include Neve BA283 output amps and some tube gear) produce asymmetrical distortion. This will make any waveform asymmetrical, and therefore more interesting to humans.

Now I'm off for a week to an island out in the Atlantic... no opamps, no digits, nothing. Laters.  
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: HansP on May 20, 2005, 05:51:31 am
BTW I have found germanium transistors in various fuzz stomp boxes. compared to silicium, they have "rounder" diagrams i.e. less linearity in open gain, there is some resemblance to triodes.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario on May 20, 2005, 07:12:42 am
W. Wittman wrote:


Quote:

we simply accumulated a pile of 100 records and listened and tried to group them into basic sonic character.
And there WERE usually three apparent piles.
If I could attempt to characterise them they were:
The apparently loud to the point of almost crunch.
The present and 3-D.
The 2-D or 'transparent' (in its literal sense of see-through, or flimsy).

and THEN we looked where they were recorded and it wasn't that difficult to determine a trend.

The first group were the all tube records, the second the discrete transistors, the third the IC's.




There is a lot of literature on tubes vs. transistors and transistor vs. IC amps.

Most of the literature talks about headroom, clipping, non-linearity, 2 or 3rd harmonics etc. etc.

These explanations are no match to real world tests such as the one above! This is what separates the musical people from the rest: focusing on the end-effect that the music has on the listener.

The first time I heard a tube single-ended amplifier (and a relatively cheap homemade one at that) I assure you that it's  distortion was the last thing that came into my mind. I know distortion so it wasn't euphonious 2nd harmonics, it was intimacy and depth.

you can't add intimacy and depth with distortion.

The revelation was when I realized that I was fooled into thinking that there was a human voice in the room with me.

Class A single-ended discrete is the simplest amplifier that exists, and historically the first to be invented and implemented for sound reproduction.

You can get a complex circuit to sound very 'clean' because of the huge amount of built-in correction.

The end result though, as mentioned in the above quote, is a 2D representation of the sound: see-through and flimsy.

The 'outline' of the sound remains, but all of the fine detail of the waveform has been altered by the process of correction.




Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Nathan Eldred on May 20, 2005, 11:54:46 am
wwittman wrote on Thu, 19 May 2005 12:44



If I showed you newspaper photos of Rembrandts and Van Goghs could you accurately compare the brush strokes?
You might get a HINT of the differences in such widely divergent styles, even in the low res reproduction.
but it's still only a newspaper photo.




Nice analogy William.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Johnny B on May 20, 2005, 02:55:31 pm
Marco,

Without saying whether this next author is right or wrong, I think he has an interesting point of view which you may find thought-provoking:

http://members.tripod.com/~gabevee/harmonics.html
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: dcollins on May 20, 2005, 04:09:10 pm
maxdimario wrote on Fri, 20 May 2005 04:12


The 'outline' of the sound remains, but all of the fine detail of the waveform has been altered by the process of correction.



Not buying it.....

DC
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: chrisj on May 20, 2005, 07:31:51 pm
For what it's worth:

I've done a lot of wild hacks with audio, in algorithmic form.

I've got a hack that's sort of like either third harmonic generation or just incredibly soft tube saturation- the whole point is the softness of the 'knee' of the transfer curve. I can dial in a ridiculous amount of that before it's sonically obvious in a level-matched comparison- if I put in a small amount, like changes 30 db down, you wouldn't hear it.

I've got another I'm having fun with at the moment (it's actually uploaded in the "I think I've invented the 'soar' knob" thread in the MARSH crit forum) which applied a unusually controlled but totally unsmooth distortion. It's basically like a bias tone tracking certain aspects of the waveform in a correlated way, in its simplest form. I can clean it up, and have, but it can also be applied by choosing between adding or subtracting "X" on a sample-by-sample basis.

This added distortion has been obvious to listeners (opinions are mixed on whether the listener is LIKING it, natch) at values of X equalling ONE LSB. That's a good 90 db down, and I have not been monitoring at deafening levels, either.

My point? That there seems to be a hell of a big difference between perception of big smooth distortions, and tiny discontinuous distortions. One example of the latter is crossover distortion in an AB circuit. Tiny, but totally discontinuous where present. It's like humans hear through the big broad waveform-deformations of triode tube amplifiers quite happily, but balk at the tiniest crossover distortions, truncation distortions, etc. They can't necessarily describe what they hear, and they'll say "the triode amp is less distorted!" and be quite wrong in general terms, but it is at least more free of the tiny discontinuities.

...so what am I doing inventing new tiny discontinuities? Just experimenting as always- but I think the point holds. That, to me, is what's happening with the ICs- more cumulative tiny discontinuities.

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: compasspnt on May 20, 2005, 07:44:02 pm
As I've said before, I too prefer the sound of discrete when the choice is available or practical.

Having said that, I find it somewhat strange that there will be one thread singing the praises of such equipment as Studer 800's (and other Studers) plus other 2" 24's or 16's which have LOTS of IC's.  Digital bashers love to point out how much better such a machine sounds than any dig.  The same holds true for many classic pieces of outboard gear which contain IC's.

Then on this thread, all IC's are terrible...

Doesn't always add up!
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: thedoc on May 20, 2005, 09:38:54 pm
I also see a lot of opinion stated as fact.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: wwittman on May 20, 2005, 10:28:46 pm
In anything related to art, opinions may be as valuable as objective data.


Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: wwittman on May 20, 2005, 10:37:44 pm
[quote title=thermionic wrote on Thu, 19 May 2005 14:42]
Quote:



If someone picks holes in the application of grammar by others, shouldn't that person have the decency to spell correctly, and utilise capital letters where appropriate?


no.


Quote:

Although you are correct in asserting use of the colloquial "they" (post-traumatic stress due to "feminazis" believe it or not) to be erroneous, when "he / she" would have been appropriate, I wonder what kind of climate it creates for members of the board to whom English is not a first language when they read such comments?


Well, first off I don't think anyone was put off or discouraged by my post, or at least I should be highly surprised if that were the case.
And second, I don't think someone concerned with grammar is a "grammar-Nazi" unless said person is advocating extermination of people as the final slution to the grammar problem.
Seriously, I tend to think that JJ and most everyone else recognised my friendly and light hearted tone.
Or at least I hope so.

ps, there are no feminazis, and only one big, fat, lying, drug-addled tool of the ruling corporatocracy thinks there are.
As I said, try using "she" as a universal pronoun and see how many men find it jarring.
So why shouldn't women find the use of "he" in that context equally so?
There's nothing unreasonable about it.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: thedoc on May 20, 2005, 10:40:45 pm
I agree but they are different.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: HansP on May 21, 2005, 02:49:21 am
dcollins wrote on Fri, 20 May 2005 22:09

maxdimario wrote on Fri, 20 May 2005 04:12


The 'outline' of the sound remains, but all of the fine detail of the waveform has been altered by the process of correction.



Not buying it.....

DC



together with the observations of chrisj, this is an interesting milestone in the discussion.
but to me it seems not appropriate to make such general statements. I prefer some scientific approach, like raising the question, whether IS a particular attempt of correcting, compensation, negative feedback and processing SUCCESSFUL or not? can we measure this, can we do objective tests and find the patterns?
the thread in its microcosmos itself says already, that some IC designs are significantly more successful than others, in terms of listening pleasure. some tape machines and outboard processors (e.g. reverbs) being part of the success.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Sahib on May 21, 2005, 10:39:45 am
Great to read all these different views but my problem is with the statement 'IC's kill music'. I do not think that IC's kill music at all. I know it will sound a cliche and an easy example but how about all these desks that contained ICs? Recently I purchased few various Neve boards from E-bay which are full of 5532s on signal path.How come Neves were considered great and still are? Also take the distortion pedal on guitar. I bet people would throw bottles at you if your guitar sounded distorted before rock'n roll came along.

My point is that the ICs, just like any other device, are tools that serve their purpose. One goes out of fashion when better one comes along. Some like their sonic production, some don't. But this is a purely subjective matter and not the fact.

Cemal
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Johnny B on May 21, 2005, 12:45:07 pm
I always find it interesting that some guitar players will often use IC- or transistor-based stompbox pedals, but they will kill you if you try to take away their tube amp and replace it with either an IC- or transistor-based amp.  Most guitar players "Must Have" a tube-based amp (or 3 or more). I agree with them, I think they sound much better.









Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: J.J. Blair on May 21, 2005, 06:06:18 pm
Johnny, that is a completely different issue.  Amp distortion sounds absolutely different in solid state amps.  You can put all the ICs you want on the way to the amp, but you will still get a tube distortion sound that you won't get from a solid state amp.  When I was a teenager and didn;t know any better, I had a GK amp.  When I got my first tube amp, it was like the sea parted.  Also, even when it comes to clean tones, no matter what pedal you use, a tube powered amp will always sound more pleasing than a Roland JC120.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: HansP on May 22, 2005, 12:42:59 am
OTOH and e.g. the VOX AC30 (with transformers in the signal line) and Roland Spacechorus (best with Fender Rhodes) have definitely their merits.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: David Schober on May 22, 2005, 01:16:01 am
IC's don't kill music.  People kill music.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: LRRec on May 22, 2005, 03:58:58 am

People with IC's kill music.

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: David Schober on May 22, 2005, 06:36:05 am
If their ears and chops are poor enough, they'll kill music with discrete circuits too.

If their ears and chops are good enough, the music comes through.  (Clearmountain and Swedien's biggest selling, and perhaps best sounding records were made on consoles with more ICs than knobs.)

There are too many examples of both to list.

The premise of this thread implies that what one needs is a magic box, not skills.  It's a rather juvenile approach to making great music.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Sahib on May 22, 2005, 01:15:29 pm
Statement does not hold. If ICs killed music then all the instruments that help create music such as keys-synths etc. would also kill music.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: PaulyD on May 22, 2005, 01:42:46 pm
David Schober wrote on Sat, 21 May 2005 22:16

IC's don't kill music.  People kill music.


When ICs are outlawed, only outlaws will have ICs. Very Happy

Sorry, couldn't resist...

Paul
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Johnny B on May 22, 2005, 02:56:02 pm


When tubes are outlawed, only outlaws will have tubes. Smile



Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Roy Hendrickson on May 22, 2005, 10:49:48 pm
Well put David!

Roy

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: J.J. Blair on May 23, 2005, 12:00:40 am
The right to bear tubes is a fundamental right of every American, guaranteed by the constutution.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Brian Roth on May 23, 2005, 12:56:23 am
"The right to BARE tubes"...I like that  Tubes without shields?  LOL

In a more serious vein, back in the mid/late 70's I built a test rig with ten 5534's in series.  IIRC, I set each for 20 dB of gain with a 20 dB attenuator between stages.  That entire mess (via a final level tweaker to match) was set onto one pole of a switch so I could hear the series chain vs a straight wire.

Back then, I was listening via JBL studio monitors.  :-/  Perhaps that's why I could discern no difference between the straight wire and the string of opamps.

Perhaps it's time to revist that test with today's monitoring....AND, if there is an audible difference, then back to the test bench to find out why.

Bri



Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario on May 23, 2005, 02:26:09 am
Quote:

Statement does not hold. If ICs killed music then all the instruments that help create music such as keys-synths etc. would also kill music.


analog sinths use electronic waveforms such as sawtooth, triangle square etc. they have nothing to do with recorded sound, they are sound generators.
this said, I believe that the discrete moog is more likely to blend with an orchestra than an IC MKS-80, even though it is a great SYNTHESISER in it's own way. Digital Synths/samplers are the same deal..

Maybe it's time to start talking about the effect that the IC desks have had on actual records, since the technical reasons have been discussed.

a dramatic loss of depth and incisiveness in the recorded sounds (especially singles and pop) occured in the early 80's

there are some great sounding records in the late 70's and then all of a sudden sounds became thin, distant, wooly and processed.

there were some great records made with inferior equipment, but let's not talk about those.

Let's talk about the recordings that sound great and reflect and give value to the performance while keeping the integrity of the music.

Can any of you make examples of some great sounding records with lasting power, and the boards used to track and mix them?

The final mix is often the best indication of the sonic footprint of the electronics in the signal chain.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on May 23, 2005, 03:14:03 am
Seventies was the sound of Styx, Journey, transistors and digital reverbs.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: David Schober on May 23, 2005, 03:26:34 pm
maxdimario wrote on Mon, 23 May 2005 01:26


Maybe it's time to start talking about the effect that the IC desks have had on actual records, since the technical reasons have been discussed.

a dramatic loss of depth and incisiveness in the recorded sounds (especially singles and pop) occured in the early 80's

there are some great sounding records in the late 70's and then all of a sudden sounds became thin, distant, wooly and processed.




Max,

As I see it, the biggest change in muic of the 80's vs. music of the 70's had more to do with the instruments than the recording gear, ICs or not.  Once people stopped recording real instruments and instead recorded drum machines, samplers, and synths, that made the biggest difference.  

As I said earlier posts, the SSL gave the ability to screw up a mix as no console ever before could.  But with the advent of  new instruments firing the fuel of the new wave, techo, brit/euro synth-pop sound,  that's what made the biggest difference.  Then as now, good mixes have been made on consoles with ICs.

Fashion then, fashion now.  Then it was all synths and a vocal.  Today's fashion is to smash a mix to death with the L2 and multiband compressors trying to make it so loud you can hold it up to your ear and hear it.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: compasspnt on May 23, 2005, 05:02:01 pm
Brian Roth wrote on Mon, 23 May 2005 00:56

... back in the mid/late 70's I built a test rig with ten 5534's in series.  IIRC, I set each for 20 dB of gain with a 20 dB attenuator between stages.  That entire mess (via a final level tweaker to match) was set onto one pole of a switch so I could hear the series chain vs a straight wire.

Back then, I was listening via JBL studio monitors...Perhaps that's why I could discern no difference between the straight wire and the string of opamps.

Perhaps it's time to revist that test with today's monitoring....AND, if there is an audible difference, then back to the test bench to find out why.







I say  we have two choices:

1) Repeat the test with today's monitoring
2) We all go back to JBL's
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: dcollins on May 23, 2005, 05:08:25 pm
compasspnt wrote on Mon, 23 May 2005 14:02



I say  we have two choices:

1) Repeat the test with today's monitoring
2) We all go back to JBL's


With lava rock walls and compression ceilings!

DC
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: J.J. Blair on May 23, 2005, 05:45:27 pm
Dave, that sounds like the mastering rooms at Capitol.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: dcollins on May 23, 2005, 06:16:25 pm
J.J. Blair wrote on Mon, 23 May 2005 14:45

Dave, that sounds like the mastering rooms at Capitol.


(!)

My first experience was at the old Artisan room on Wilcox, one day I actually thought there was a car honking its horn outside, but it turned out to be a guitar part coming from the mains......

DC
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Johnny B on May 24, 2005, 01:03:00 am
That's funny --- Guitars that "Honk."

I wonder what would happen if new and improved AP test boxes where used by someone who went back and tried to recreate and update the tests that Russell O. Hamm's famous AES white paper discussed?

Perhaps even add in the latest gen of AD/DA 'verters and Op Amps to the new test suite as well and maybe even have some of the so-called emulations of famous boxes too,

I wonder what the results would be?

Maybe they could even perform the tests at Sear Sound in NYC where I assume much of the original tests where performed.

Updating and verfiying the test would certainly make good ad copy for many current or "vintage" products. I'd bet it would be very interesting as a new White Paper Presentation or possibly a 'zine article.


Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: RMoore on May 24, 2005, 02:27:28 am
compasspnt wrote on Mon, 23 May 2005 23:02

 

I say  we have two choices:

1) Repeat the test with today's monitoring
2) We all go back to JBL's


LOL

Bring on the JBL's!
Vintage cones only
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Andy Millar on May 24, 2005, 04:24:27 am
As the channel strip designer of the SSL 9000 it's nice to know that people above think it sounds clean (even if they hate it!) - that's what I was trying to do. And yes it is 553xs, but surrounded with loads of other stuff, much of which I can't now remember as I left SSL during the pre-manufacturing stage (so sadly I have to admit I've never even seen a complete 9k desk).

Yes, the 4k/6k/8k did sound bad, even after Paul Frindle and I did as much as we could with the G series upgrade, we were still stuck with the DISCRETE FET switches and (until Ultimation) the VCAs. The 5534s are the least of its problems!

It is perfectly possible IMO to make a transparent audio path with ICs (although it is blooming difficult), but not necessarily one that gives the sound that you want. I prefer my semi-acoustic Guild bass to any solid-bodied instrument I've tried but I wouldn't claim it accurately produces the exact vibrations of a string. But should a mixing desk be a musical instrument or a piece of wire? This was always a debate at SSL, but we always ended up going for the piece of wire approach.

(By the way, I noticed comments above about E series and G series EQs, for the record Paul and I never intended the G series to replace the E series, we always knew it was a different beast. But engineering design and marketing are different departments...)

But on a philosophical note, did IC desks kill music? This is a similar discussion to did PC sound systems - most of which sound appalling - kill music? I would guess that there is more music recorded now than ever before because the technology is cheap, available, and user-freindly. This was how the 4k/6k/8ks helped grow rather than kill music, not because of their sound but because of their ease of use (thanks to Colin, Doug Dickey etc.)  

However give me a low ceilinged bar, a good guitarist and  drummer and equipment made with any electronics you like any time...
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario on May 24, 2005, 07:05:02 am
Quote:

As I said earlier posts, the SSL gave the ability to screw up a mix as no console ever before could. But with the advent of new instruments firing the fuel of the new wave, techo, brit/euro synth-pop sound, that's what made the biggest difference. Then as now, good mixes have been made on consoles with ICs.




I agree, to a point.

IC's made the compact synths, effects and techno stuff a reality, as well as the ssl type mixer.

more ways to play around with the sound.

I used to love my chorus and delay pedals.

oddly enough, the best analog chorus pedal is the old Boss chorus with a discrete audio path (except for the bucket brigade IC stage). The best delay is the tube echoplex . The fattest sound comes from discrete oscillators and filters.
but these are effects and sound generators we are talking about, and arguably each has it's own sound that can be useful.

A mixer should let the music pass all the way to the output without altering it.

I do hear a difference between the late seventies records and the same kind of record (guitar, bass, drums, classic keys etc.) in the early 80's and it is a worse sound. Worse because there is loss of detail and presence.


It's hard for me to believe that anyone couldn't notice a distinct improvement in clarity, detail, realism and 'size' of the sound between a discrete path and and an IC path, especially for something like ambient mic'ing.

Sounds to me like whoever can't tell a difference probably has not really compared or is not a good listener.

real music is not primarily a question of shaping sounds to make them fit together, it is based on performance and pulling power.

Sound-effect-based music is disposable music.  

If the subtleties of performance and urgency of sound are removed from the equation you lose a big part of the charm.

nothing beats a discrete path.



Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: ted nightshade on May 24, 2005, 07:44:52 am
maxdimario wrote on Tue, 24 May 2005 04:05

 
nothing beats a discrete path.






Well, there's the air but I'll take it sans smoke and with a high ceiling.

I think we expect nothing short of miracles from summing. We've so accepted the idea that sound is to be taken apart and then put back together again with whatever mixing gizmo- Many of us can't imagine working any other way.

Why? To be able to control and manipulate everything. And what is the cost of that? I think it comes at a very high musical cost.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxim on May 24, 2005, 08:02:25 am
is it the same as every pedal (including echoplex, i presume) that robs the amplified string of its tone?

the qualities described (vitality, 'life', roundness) are very similar

perhaps, as said, every process and calculation (inc running down a copper wire, facing north-west) destroys the fabric of the sound
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Yellowguy on May 24, 2005, 08:43:05 am
I certainly think that the sound of the 80's had a lot more to do with fashion than with IC's. As far as I know, many manufacturers started using IC's in the 70's, please correct me if I'm wrong.
The fashion of recording/mixing in the 80's was immense processing. Just take drums. Seems that a lot of times they were recorded in a dead room, gated, compressed, heavily eq'd and then reverberated with a digital device. Most other instruments received similar treatment, plus harmonizers, chorus, flangers, some more digital reverb, more eq, and then some.
Can I hear you say Aphex Exciter??? These, it seems, were added on the stereo bus to add some definition, clarity and "life" to the slaughtered recordings.

Don't get me wrong, I'll take discrete class A over IC's any day, especially in mic pres, but you can't blame the IC, or SSL, for the sound of the 80's.
If you take a perfectly maintained Neve 80XX console and daisy-chain several channels and switch all eq's in, and run a signal thru it, it will start to sound like shit. It might be class A top of the line vintage shit, but it will still be shit.
I believe it's the sheer amount of processing that ruins the signal.

Just because there is a knob doesn't mean you have to use it... It just seems people didn't agree with that in the 80's.

Marco Manieri
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: David Schober on May 24, 2005, 09:37:58 am
Yellowguy wrote on Tue, 24 May 2005 07:43


Don't get me wrong, I'll take discrete class A over IC's any day, especially in mic pres, but you can't blame the IC, or SSL, for the sound of the 80's.
If you take a perfectly maintained Neve 80XX console and daisy-chain several channels and switch all eq's in, and run a signal thru it, it will start to sound like shit. It might be class A top of the line vintage shit, but it will still be shit.
I believe it's the sheer amount of processing that ruins the signal.

Just because there is a knob doesn't mean you have to use it... It just seems people didn't agree with that in the 80's.

Marco Manieri


Perfectly stated Marco.  My sentiments exactly.  

ICs don't kill music.  People kill music.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: compasspnt on May 24, 2005, 09:44:52 am
David Schober wrote on Tue, 24 May 2005 09:37




ICs don't kill music.  People kill music.


We try...we try!
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: David Schober on May 24, 2005, 10:03:01 am
As Yogi Berra said,

"If they don't want to, you can't stop them."
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Sahib on May 24, 2005, 12:06:57 pm

Max,

I am not disputing the discrete's superiority over IC but simply pointing out that your statement ' ICs kill music' is wrong. Perhaps we should re-phrase it appropriately.

ICs do not kill music. They offer choice as discretes do and liking their sound or dicretes' is a matter of perception. It is subjective. Take early recordings which were made on tube. Totally awful sound quality, scratch noises as if potato chips are being fried in the background. Is that better than IC sound. No but I still like it. It is not the sound quality that I am interested in here, it is the content.

You are stating that a mixer should let the music pass all the way to the output without altering it. That ain't gonna happen. No matter what there will be a difference even if it is very little whether it is IC or discrete. So what happens to the integrity of the source, it is altered no matter what. Is it good? bad? neither or both. It is a perception, it is subjective.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: wwittman on May 24, 2005, 01:36:35 pm
Would you accept:  'IC's gravely wound music'? {g}
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Sahib on May 24, 2005, 01:44:58 pm
No I wouldn't. But I would respect and highly regard your perception if you said yes.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario on May 24, 2005, 02:08:33 pm
Sahib,

The title is just that, a title.

tubes don't have the shortcomings that you imply in your post.

Have you heard a neumann u47? is it scratchy and distorted?
how about an LA-2a?
The best 50's tube technology surpasses modern technology both on musical cleanliness (especially on the high freq.) and noise once maintainance is performed.

have you heard early buddy holly on a hi-end system?

Do not confuse the recording medium and bandwidth limiting for inferior electronics.

Maybe it should read: 'people who use IC audio equipment are not aware that they are tampering with the elements that make music a powerful artistic statement' or  'IC mixers make music sound processed and lifeless and detract from the performance element'

My Personal point of view is that opamps etc. are not fit for music and they kill the sound.

Maybe It's more akin to an uncomfortable disease.


I hate the sound of records made on IC, so I can't listen to them more than once in a while.

So effectively  IC's killed those records for me. maybe not for others.

Just as early digital has made classical CDs of the time unbearable to my ears. flat and meaningless (I was too young to know why) ...even though they were sooo quiet and steady sounding.

But Vinyl wasn't always up to standard sound-wise either, by the 80's so it was sometimes hard to compare.

the point is that whoever makes a record has a responsibility to capture the artist in a way that they can be appreciated in the best possible way for all time.

Records done entirely on discrete AUDIO electronics (tubes and transistor) have done this successfully in the past.

Records done entirely on ICs haven't.



cheers.




Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: HansP on May 24, 2005, 02:11:28 pm
please don't forget the audience. some grassroots artists had the idea (punk, or electro with cheap synties), the major built a hype on it, and finally the consumers loved it - MUCH!! people were very much bored and fed up with what you call good, natural "performed" discrete sounding music. kind of anti-establisment thing.
you went to a student bar, talked about music, and everything that was IN a few years before (and much of what you prefer here) seemed the worst crap to them. david bowie was ok...

as for me, I JUST CAN NOT LISTEN A BANDWIDTH LIMITED vintage recording. makes me sick.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: compasspnt on May 24, 2005, 02:32:08 pm
Me, I like good music.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: ted nightshade on May 24, 2005, 02:50:15 pm
compasspnt wrote on Tue, 24 May 2005 11:32

Me, I like good music.


Me too!

Makes me listen to a lot of old recordings, in my constant search for that increasingly rare article, and a lot of time it seems like the music just jumps out and grabs me. Really live and kickin', not so tidy necessarily. I like that!
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Sahib on May 24, 2005, 03:19:21 pm
maxdimario wrote on Tue, 24 May 2005 19:08



So effectively  IC's killed those records for me. maybe not for others.




Max,

That's the point that I was trying to make and I am glad we agree. However, I am still not disputing the discretes' superiority over ICs when it comes to sonic re-production. In fact I am in the planning stage of building a mic pre-amp using API, Forsselltech and Hardy discrete op-amps. Just watch out this corner.

Regards,
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: J.J. Blair on May 24, 2005, 04:11:06 pm
Oh, that?  It's just a flesh wound.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: wwittman on May 24, 2005, 11:28:10 pm
Thank you JJ, for keeping my lame joke alive.

"come back and fight like a man..."
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Johnny B on May 25, 2005, 12:13:39 am
I think once in a while, the music is soooo great...soooo powerful...that even the technology can not get in its way...it just shines thru no matter how much people try to destroy it...

For me, that accounts for the odd ball exceptions that people will always throw your way when you take a stand that favors one technology over another.

And then there are great musicians and singers, same...same...
No matter what kind of P.O.S. you give them or put on them...the music still comes thru..

And the same for great engineers, thay can get any P.O.S. to sound good if you give them enough time...

....but....

In general, all things being more or less equal...

I think I prefer some of the older recordings the best...no need to re-visit the offered rationalisation for this as it's been well-stated above... Smile


Title: IC's killed the music . . .
Post by: vernier on May 25, 2005, 12:35:00 am
Talkin' about older recordings, I went on a five year listening binge in search of the best, which ended being a couple things from the 40's ..(was very surprised).
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: J.J. Blair on May 25, 2005, 01:34:50 am
wwittman wrote on Tue, 24 May 2005 20:28

Thank you JJ, for keeping my lame joke alive.

"come back and fight like a man..."


William, one of these days, we need to hang.

BTW, speaking of great sounding records ... jazz records of the '50s kill me.  Kind of Blue for example.  I'll stick the fidelity and life-likeness of that record against anything that has come out in the last 25 years.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxim on May 25, 2005, 05:49:02 am
to go back to guitars, the best/most lifelike tone i ever got was from a puny 15 watt all-valve 'airport' amp, plugged straight in

it seems the guitarists have known this for a long time, and have voted with their fingers

the only trouble starts when the volume wars start, and you have to turn it up to 11
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: David Schober on May 25, 2005, 07:49:19 am
I'm with you JJ and Johnny,

The many of the older records, late 50's-late 60's blow the doors of much of anything since.  I'd even state that it's not possible to recreate, much less better the space, depth, immediacy, and power of those albums.  When the band kicks in you can actually feel the air move.   I'd guessing anything recorded in that era was on a tube console.  Funny thing too, none of this stuff had the extended low end or top end that we're used to today, but when I'm listening to it I never notice it.  I just notice how great it sounds.

For me the Sinatra stuff done during this era is it.  Those records are absolute "10s" in every catagory.  Great songs, great, great arranging, playing and who can top Sinatra for singing a song?  I think Phil Ramone did some of these.  Anybody know who did the body of that work?

Another more obscure, but fun album was done by a Mexican composer/arranger who went by the name of Esquivel.  This crazy stuff, a mix of Mancini and Looney Tunes was recorded by Bill Putnam and IMHO may be the best sounding record of it's kind.  Not only was Putnam one of the best, this particular album was recorded on three stripe 35MM mag at an amazing 120 cps!  If my conversions are right, that's about 47 ips and on a tape width and thickness way beyond anything we in the studio have ever had.

If you're interested, here's a link to the album.  The album is called, "More of Other Worlds, Other Sounds."
 http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000002MWF/qid=111702 7702/sr=2-3/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_3/104-8443621-6267158
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: ted nightshade on May 25, 2005, 09:29:59 am
Johnny B wrote on Tue, 24 May 2005 21:13

I think once in a while, the music is soooo great...soooo powerful...that even the technology can not get in its way...it just shines thru no matter how much people try to destroy it...

For me, that accounts for the odd ball exceptions that people will always throw your way when you take a stand that favors one technology over another.

And then there are great musicians and singers, same...same...
No matter what kind of P.O.S. you give them or put on them...the music still comes thru..

And the same for great engineers, thay can get any P.O.S. to sound good if you give them enough time...

....but....

In general, all things being more or less equal...

I think I prefer some of the older recordings the best...no need to re-visit the offered rationalisation for this as it's been well-stated above... Smile





I've heard so many phenomenal performers get killed on album recently. I see them live, and buy the CD, mostly to support the cause. Almost always, the CD is just inert, none of the thrill of the live performance. Sadly, the live sound usually sucks too, it's not sound at all that's letting me in on how great the performer is. It's their presence there in the room with me, emanating music direct human to human. It's rare that any of the sound stuff actually helps with that these days, recorded or live sound. Frustrating!
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: J.J. Blair on May 25, 2005, 09:46:46 am
OK, here's something very telling: Listen to the Moody Blues Days of Future Passed.  The orchestral recordings are nothing short of mind blowing.  Among the best orchestral recording I've ever heard.  But whenever the band kicks in, they sound completely 1960's lo-fi and midrangy, like on "Peak Hour".  Maybe it isn't that ICs kill music. Maybe it's rock musicians and amplifiers that kill music!  LOL.

But seriously, you had engineers and equipment that had perfected the art of recording acoustic instruments, and then we rock and rollers fuck everything up for them.  They used to be able to stand in a studio, listen to what was happening and give you a similar experience to what it was like to be listening in that environment in person.  Then they got thrown a Happy Hooten knuckle curveball.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on May 25, 2005, 09:53:21 am
You *can* get the sound today ..just use the same equipment and techniques.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: ted nightshade on May 25, 2005, 10:00:30 am
vernier wrote on Wed, 25 May 2005 06:53

You *can* get the sound today ..just use the same equipment and techniques.


Where to get the real deal 50's tube console?
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: David Schober on May 25, 2005, 10:00:40 am
vernier wrote on Wed, 25 May 2005 08:53

You *can* get the sound today ..just use the same equipment and techniques.


That would be possible if the gear was still around..it's not.  Those wonderful tube consoles and tape machines have long since found their final resting place in a landfill or someone's garage.  

And most of the rooms don't exist anymore.  Even Capitol A, as good as it is, isn't the room it was before they "improved" it for the era of multitracking.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: ted nightshade on May 25, 2005, 10:03:20 am
And the players? That's got to be the main sticking point!
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: ted nightshade on May 25, 2005, 10:04:50 am
Oh yeah, the rooms... man...
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario on May 25, 2005, 10:44:13 am
Quote:

If you're interested, here's a link to the album. The album is called, "More of Other Worlds, Other Sounds."
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000002MWF/qid=111702 7702/sr=2-3/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_3/104-8443621-6267158


Wow, has that ever come out on LP?
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: compasspnt on May 25, 2005, 11:02:28 am
David Schober wrote on Wed, 25 May 2005 10:00

 

And most of the rooms don't exist anymore.  Even Capitol A, as good as it is, isn't the room it was before they "improved" it for the era of multitracking.


So right.  I keep saying that there is no substitute for a good acoustic space in which to record.  Few care anymore, however.

David, you're there in Nashvegas, I believe.  How about all those "multiple closets with big glass windows" that everyone there records in now!!!!  (a la "Precious Stone" Studios.)

Instead:

Big, good sounding room.  Very few mics (ideally vintage style valve or ribbon).  Careful thought in what one is doing re: placement.

THEN the best equipment you can find, hopefully discrete or tube, but if not, if it must be IC, you've still got the first, and most important part 'licked.'
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on May 25, 2005, 11:40:36 am
Capitol A could be recreated ..it's just that hardly nobody wants a large room anymore (except for the Lucas/John Williams kind of things). But the gear is still around, just not plentiful.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: David Schober on May 25, 2005, 01:10:14 pm
compasspnt wrote on Wed, 25 May 2005 10:02


David, you're there in Nashvegas, I believe.  How about all those "multiple closets with big glass windows" that everyone there records in now!!!!  (a la "Precious Stone" Studios.)

Instead:

Big, good sounding room.  Very few mics (ideally vintage style valve or ribbon).  Careful thought in what one is doing re: placement.



Totally right Terry.  That was one of the things I noticed right away after moving here from LALA land. (where I started and worked for 14 yrs)  Two rooms, Sound Kitchen A and Woodland Studios both were designed with no iso rooms and had to take an entire wall to build a series of rooms otherwise the room wouldn't get booked.  I kept thinking sooner or later I'd find some studio with a triangular shaped room for the fiddle player!

The best and biggest room, the old RCA Studio A is guess what????  CLOSED.  I was told it was a copy of the RCA studio in NYC.  I worked there a few times and liked it, (despite it was always in a state of neglect)  Anyway, one day I did a big band in there and WOW!  That's what that room was made to do.  We had brass and drums in the room together...they balanced perfectly and all sounded present.  A pair of B&K mics ended up being what we used.  It was perfect...sounded a whole lot like the Sinatra records.   I looked like a hero but what made me look good was what I didn't do.   Razz
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Peter Weihe on May 25, 2005, 08:36:27 pm
[quote title=ted nightshade wrote on Wed, 25 May 2005 16:00

Where to get the real deal 50's tube console?[/quote]

Here:
http://www.funkstunde.com/

Click on " R
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on May 25, 2005, 09:03:12 pm
Weren't they all custom made anyway ..until mid 60's?
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: wwittman on May 25, 2005, 09:10:55 pm
Wow.
Interestingly enough, I think that Days Of Future Passed tends to show some rather odd rock recording (always seemed to me as though some classical engineer didn;t quite know HOW to record a rock band) but yet it STILL has a kind of oddball integrity and character.
Yes the drums are tiny and far away and the acoustic guitar is rather peculiar... but the vocals sound terrific (and the vocal reverb is insanely good... i WISH I knew how they got that beautiful stereo bloom after the signal... it sounds like the best EMT plate in the world) and the mellotron and the bass and flute hold up well, as well as the electrics for the most part.
Perhaps they simply elected to make the whole band blend with the midrangey mellotron.


But can you imagine it recorded on an SSL?

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: thedoc on May 25, 2005, 09:44:13 pm
...Future Past...I have always really liked that record and still play it.  Not only is the orchestra recorded incredibly well, it is also SO in tune!

I think that at least some of the acoustic guitar is a 12 string.

Anybody know what the Deramic process was all about?
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: compasspnt on May 25, 2005, 09:51:01 pm
Peter Weihe wrote on Wed, 25 May 2005 20:36


The generation before us had to play flawlessly all in one take. Now in times of DAWs there seems to be no need anymore to rehearse until the whole band can play a song in one take.
Editing destroys the rest of an individual performance in many cases.
Ten years later nobody will be able to tell anymore how good that band or that singer really was. Was the drummer rushing or was he laid back? Maybe we will feel that there must be something wrong with such a weak voice with
perfect pitch and timing.




Your whole post was full of good statements Peter.  Thanks.

However, for what it's worth, I know for a fact that I was pushing the available technology as far as humanly possible, as far back as the very early 60's.  I was punching in a lot, editing multitracks and mixes, comping vocals, using acoustic metronomes (mic'd) as clicks, sampling strings, drums, etc. and manually flying them in, tuning vocals with varispeed oscillators, etc., etc., etc.  And many of the recordings produced this way were big hits which are now somehow regarded as something akin to "vintage classics."  A recording on which I did not work, but about which I have read, namely "La Bamba" by Richie Valens, was edited to death.  They recorded vocals on a 1/4" Ampex by running the band track through the console, and mixing the vocal live.  Then they had a baseline, and could edit between the 70 odd "vocal takes" to achieve a final.

The quest for better music production and the best possible recording is not anything new!
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on May 26, 2005, 12:06:27 am
Why edit, comp, and correct every performance? ..why mess with it so much? ..What if there was a giant movement to go back to doing it right!
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxim on May 26, 2005, 06:08:34 am
to ?misquote william once again, noone is going to give you a medal for being a purist (except, perhaps, other purists)

i think there is a movement for more organic music, but, ultimately, you adapt your environment to produce the best song possible, whatever that takes, and it's never the same

wwtmd?
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: compasspnt on May 26, 2005, 06:42:20 am
vernier wrote on Thu, 26 May 2005 00:06

Why edit, comp, and correct every performance? ..why mess with it so much? ..What if there was a giant movement to go back to doing it right!


Did I say that anyone should, or that I do or did, edit, comp, or correct, EVERY performance?  I agree that doing it right the first time would be the ideal.  However, even the great performers can be (and WANT to be) improved upon in certain cases.  Doing those improvements with taste and vision, adhering to a standard which properly fits into an "organic" performance, is the key.

But ignoring technology which can improve a production for the sake of an idealistic viewpoint is irresposible.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: ted nightshade on May 26, 2005, 07:56:57 am
I think it really sucks that the world has been made safe for mediocrity. And what do we get? Mediocrity.

But doing a little studio trickery to save a really magic performance with a big old clam in it, that is well worth doing and praise to those who have the skills.

I'm about good for splicing together two complete takes, maybe, if the phrasing was clear enough to pull it off... but that gets to me too.

Oh man, ain't nothing going to bring back the Ellington band!  The kind of teamwork that takes place over 50 years, and everybody on real living wage salary complete with pensions... Sadly, some things just aren't going to be possible until there's real money in playing real music.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: HansP on May 26, 2005, 08:15:58 am
hmm.
we can't fly but we built airplanes!
we can't sing but we edit...  Very Happy
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: ted nightshade on May 26, 2005, 08:25:40 am
compasspnt wrote on Thu, 26 May 2005 03:42

 
But ignoring technology which can improve a production for the sake of an idealistic viewpoint is irresposible.


That's me! Mr. Irresponsible! When I'm not being Mr. Pitiful. =)

Only thing that can improve the production around here is a better performance, a better song, a better instrument, or a better mic placement. You know some good records were made that way... we may make one yet!
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: David Schober on May 26, 2005, 10:08:09 am
I've been told by some knowledgeable insiders that Wynton Marsalis is well known for massive amounts of editing in his classical works.  The word was that in a single movement of a Bach concerto he could have upwards of several hundred edits.

I'd imagine his jazz studio recording get the same treatment.  But no one would say he's an untalented hack.  Many great performers have the bar set higher than the rest.  Larry Bird, Michael Jordon, Tiger Woods in sport earned the rep for working harder than anyone else. (Who would have thought Tiger needed to change his swing after winning as he did?)   I'm sure they'd love to be able to edit some of their performances together!

As I see it, that's no crime.  There are others who don't do that.  God bless'em.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on May 26, 2005, 10:17:20 am
There's no turning back ..genie is out of the bottle, but wouldn't it be neat to have two versions on a CD .. producer's cut (all perfected), then, an organic/all natural version.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: compasspnt on May 26, 2005, 10:56:08 am
vernier wrote on Thu, 26 May 2005 10:17

There's no turning back ..genie is out of the bottle, but wouldn't it be neat to have two versions on a CD .. producer's cut (all perfected), then, an organic/all natural version.


I have heard an "organic/all natural" version of some songs by Def Lepard.  Then I have heard the same songs much perfected by Mutt Lange.  You may not be a Def Lepard fan, but believe me, there's only one version you, or anybody else, wants at  the end of the day.  No offense to DL at all intended.  They obviously have some good raw parts...they just need a master builder to construct a solid building.  There is no crime in that.  And I do believe there were some IC's in the final signal path, too.  And digital recorders.

But for those musicians/singers who can "put it all together" themselves to an acceptable standard, I say wonderful.  Let's have that!
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on May 26, 2005, 11:12:20 am
Right, I'm not a fan of either one's sound.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: ted nightshade on May 26, 2005, 01:22:21 pm
Marsalis has been missing the point for a long time.

I read a funny thing where Nat Hentoff was talking to Dizzy Gillespie- they were trying to pin it down, what *was* it about Wynton? He can play, sure enough, but what's *missing* so conspicuously? Then Nat hit on it- he tried to imagine Wynton laughing, which set Dizzy rolling around on the floor just howling!

Funny thing is, I just recorded an entire concert of art song- four different singers, three different pianists, all young up and comers and there's only one you might have heard of. And it's really, really good, from start to finish! Apparently a syllable got mushed here or there, and there *are* noticeable imperfections, but it's a very enjoyable listen all the way through and very much rewards repeated listening. I wouldn't change a thing. Others I'm sure would be all over it, editing like mad things. And I do think it's insane! When you have something really enjoyable that rewards repeated listening and keeps you coming back. There's just no need to mess with it.

I'm sure Wynton would feel otherwise!
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxim on May 27, 2005, 04:44:06 am
the biggest praise you can get from any engineer (inc ME's), is that they didn't have to do anything to your tracks

maybe, it's because they're all inherently lazy Wink
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: wwittman on May 27, 2005, 12:37:11 pm
I've been saying for years (LOTS of years, sadly) that it doesn;t really matter HOW you get a result.. it's he result itself.

It doesn't matter if you DO overdub or edit or comp or correct... it's that it should sound like you didn't. Ot at least the average listener shouldn't be AWARE of the process; just the music.

Same goes for EQ or compression or anything else.
I don't believe in losing points for using EQ... if it takes +15 it does.

If someone says "great vocal sound" i'm happy... if someone says "great vocal EFFECT" I've failed.

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: ted nightshade on May 27, 2005, 12:44:08 pm
wwittman wrote on Fri, 27 May 2005 09:37

 

If someone says "great vocal sound" i'm happy... if someone says "great vocal EFFECT" I've failed.




I'd prefer just "great vocal!"
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: David Schober on May 27, 2005, 01:58:34 pm
wwittman wrote on Fri, 27 May 2005 11:37

I've been saying for years (LOTS of years, sadly) that it doesn;t really matter HOW you get a result.. it's he result itself.

It doesn't matter if you DO overdub or edit or comp or correct... it's that it should sound like you didn't. Ot at least the average listener shouldn't be AWARE of the process; just the music.

Same goes for EQ or compression or anything else.
I don't believe in losing points for using EQ... if it takes +15 it does.

If someone says "great vocal sound" i'm happy... if someone says "great vocal EFFECT" I've failed.




DITTO!
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: ammitsboel on May 28, 2005, 04:29:16 am
ted nightshade wrote on Fri, 27 May 2005 17:44

wwittman wrote on Fri, 27 May 2005 09:37

 

If someone says "great vocal sound" i'm happy... if someone says "great vocal EFFECT" I've failed.




I'd prefer just "great vocal!"


He he... have the ME failed if the artist/client says great sound instead of great music? Laughing
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Bob Olhsson on May 28, 2005, 12:30:25 pm
David Schober wrote on Thu, 26 May 2005 09:08

I've been told by some knowledgeable insiders that Wynton Marsalis is well known for massive amounts of editing in his classical works.

I've been told by some very knowledgeable insiders that this has been SOP in the classical genre since the invention of recording tape! The worst are supposed to be guitarists...

RCA studio A was one of several built by RCA in the mid 1960s. I think they were in Rome, New York and Toronto in addition to Nashville. Many consider them the pinnacle of studio design although the control rooms are too small by today's standards. Still it's too bad most of today's "studio designers" seem to have never set foot in one of the world's great rooms such as the RCA, Columbia, the Criteria room they tore down or Abbey Road. The treatment in our Motown room was done by the RCA folks. It was sooo much easier to do a decent recording in there than what I found on the west coast in the '70s. Another casualty was Hollywood's Radio Recorders Annex. It was the premiere room in town for making records prior to the arrival of Bill Putnem Sr. and I've talked to several old-timers who swear it was actually a better room acoustically than anything that was built later.

ICs don't kill music nearly as much as bad sounding studio acoustics do!
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Johnny B on May 28, 2005, 02:15:11 pm
Bob O.,

Please continue and if you can, how about giving people some of the nitty-gritty details of these great rooms.

Dimensions, wall, floors, ceilings, coverings, ect.

For example, I'm pretty sure that one of the Chicago rooms Bill P. built had a cement floor poured over like a foot of cork. Walter Sear used cork on some of his ceilings too, placed at an angle so you have kind of peaked roof effect. There was also a peaked roof ceiling at 2120 South Michigan Ave. WD is one of my all-time heroes.

The thing that always has killed me about Motown was the bass, love to know more about how all that wonderful bass sound was accomplished.     Smile


Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: David Schober on May 28, 2005, 03:41:35 pm
Bob Olhsson wrote on Sat, 28 May 2005 11:30


ICs don't kill music nearly as much as bad sounding studio acoustics do!


Truer words never spoken.  I'll take any IC ridden console in a great room over the best discrete console ever made in a bad one.  
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Peter Weihe on May 28, 2005, 04:50:29 pm
Bob Olhsson wrote on Sat, 28 May 2005 18:30


ICs don't kill music nearly as much as bad sounding studio acoustics do!

Absolutely! You've hit it on the nail!
And it's so much easier to sell gear that one doesn't like anymore and get some stuff  you prefer than finding or even building a great room.
Most of the big German studios are closed and my favourite Berlin studio was torn down in favour of a parking place.
Too bad that nobody tried to find out, why the rooms sounded so good before the crane came.
Quote:

Still it's too bad most of today's "studio designers" seem to have never set foot in one of the world's great rooms such as the RCA, Columbia, the Criteria room they tore down or Abbey Road.

Bob, it would be great if you named some of the greatest recording rooms and control rooms that still exist.
Maybe we can make a list with the best sounding rooms, confirmed by  experienced  engineers and force today's "studio designers" to go there and study the construction before we hire them and  before the last great room is gone forever.

Best,
Peter.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: J.J. Blair on May 28, 2005, 05:24:57 pm
Slight digression on Bob's last post.  Does anybody know if Von Karajan did lots of tape edits on his recordings?  I alsways imagined them playing a segment of a piece, and then splicing it.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: thedoc on May 28, 2005, 08:55:10 pm
Karajan...Wow!  some great stuff from him and from Anne-Sophie Mutter as well!

There was some great mic technique goin' on in his recordings!

Anyone interested in micing violins (there was a thread about that a while ago) should check out A-SM's recordings...!
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: wwittman on May 28, 2005, 11:42:22 pm
I think it was Rubenstein in a fairly famous story where after hearing the edited playback said "I wish *I* could play like that!"


Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Peter Weihe on May 29, 2005, 05:11:40 am
1?7T?itle=J.J. Blair wrote on Sat, 28 May 2005 23:24]Slight digression on Bob's last post.  Does anybody know if Von Karajan did lots of tape edits on his recordings?[/quote]  
Hi JJ,

I have just called my cousin, who used to be am member of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra ( piccolo flute) and asked him how von Karajan used to record.
The first  famous Beethoven recordings were recorded on analogue multitrack. Funny that these are the records that still sell the most out of their recordings with Karajan. He was known to be a precision fanatic. They did lots of tape edits . However my cousin doesn't ecactly know how many in comparison to other conductors, because the musicians left after the recording session. My cousin promised me to call one of the engineers von Karajan used to work with and ask him about the amount of edits in the analogue and digital days.
Quote:

I alsways imagined them playing a segment of a piece, and then splicing it.

They repeated whole parts and if necessary small segments  because it was much more difficult then to edit than nowadays. What the musicians loved about the days of analogue recording was, that very often they were booked for extra repair sessions. They played whole pieces again for getting enough material for edits. Digital edits lowered their income dramatically because now even one chord can be enough material to do the edit. Record companies tend to save the money for studio recording sessions nowadays and do a lot of live recordings of two concerts with just tiny fractions of extra recorded material for edits.
I called Friedemann Engelbrecht,one of the owners of Teldex Studio Berlin, a classical Tonmeister .
www.teldexstudio.de
(This is a refurbished historic recording studio.
Have a look at the Big Hall and their microphone list.
They still have all tube mics from the original days  in the same huge mic locker. Lots of M 50, U47, U67....in mint condition.)

He said that the amount of edits has significantly increased with the perfection of digital tools.The number of edits always depended on the team , conductor ,Tonmeister, cutter .
In the days of analogue recordings about 100 or more edits were quite normal.
Nowadays up to 1000 edits are standard  for one piece .
In former times there was the rule that you couldn't cut in sustaining horns. Today that's no problem anymore.
I asked him for what kind of recording they perform the most edits.
First there are much more edits possible in solo concerts than in orchestra recordings.
The more sustaining notes, the less edits can be made.
The more percussive the instrument is the more edits can be performed.
For example cemballo and as Bob mentioned classical guitar seem to be ideal for edits.

So finally it seems to me that we simply do as many edits as the recording technique and the tools and the instrument offer,no matter whether it's rock , pop or classic.
Some artists and engineers use it extensively, some moderately.

Best regards,
Peter














Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario on May 29, 2005, 06:07:59 am
What year did splicing of classical performances start? '62?

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: ted nightshade on May 29, 2005, 09:39:22 am
maxdimario wrote on Sun, 29 May 2005 03:07

What year did splicing of classical performances start? '62?




I'm guessing in '39 or so on a Hitler soundtrack. They were editing his speeches, probably some uberWagner was done up too.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: ted nightshade on May 29, 2005, 09:50:30 am
The first needle freak was the wife of the man who invented the hypodermic syringe.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Bob Olhsson on May 29, 2005, 10:26:18 am
I've seen pictures of geared turntables. You cued each take to the edit point and then played them backwards to the top. A mechanical fader cross faded the audio at the edit point. This technology became possible with the introduction of the acetate recording disk by in 1934.

Early tape was worse quality than the acetate but its editing capability led to it rapidly replacing the analog disk as a production tool.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: J.J. Blair on May 29, 2005, 11:10:31 am
Peter!  Wow.  Thanks for that info.  Amazing.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxim on May 29, 2005, 11:56:29 am
bob o wrote:

"Early tape was worse quality than the acetate but its editing capability led to it rapidly replacing the analog disk"

the more things change...
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: rankus on May 29, 2005, 12:07:45 pm
Bob Olhsson wrote on Sun, 29 May 2005 07:26


Early tape was worse quality than the acetate but its editing capability led to it rapidly replacing the analog disk as a production tool.




LOL ,, Sounds familiar..  Now it's DAW's replacing tape due to faster cheaper editing....
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Bob Olhsson on May 29, 2005, 12:27:10 pm
maxim wrote on Sun, 29 May 2005 10:56


the more things change...
Exactly!
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: stevieeastend on May 29, 2005, 01:59:52 pm
wwittman wrote on Fri, 27 May 2005 17:37

I

If someone says "great vocal sound" i'm happy... if someone says "great vocal EFFECT" I've failed.




I highly agree on that although I?d prefer, "great song"...
One of my "rules" is very similiar to this one: If everybody is discussing the song/the music/the artist I know I?ve done everything right in terms of engineering.

cheers
steveeastend
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: compasspnt on May 29, 2005, 02:13:27 pm
Sort of like not noticing the referee?
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: stevieeastend on May 29, 2005, 02:44:32 pm
Yeah, exactly, I don`t wanna stay in the way. I try, but its hard to realize, really...

cheers
steveeastend
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: tomrogers on May 30, 2005, 09:23:17 pm
Bob Olhsson wrote on Sat, 28 May 2005 12:30


RCA studio A was one of several built by RCA in the mid 1960s. I think they were in Rome, New York and Toronto in addition to Nashville. Many consider them the pinnacle of studio design although the control rooms are too small by today's standards.


quick google found a couple of the RCA facilities; nothing on the Rome studio

http://www.mcclear.com/history.htm

http://homepage.mac.com/studiovictor/English%20Web%20Site/in dex_English.html


Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario on May 31, 2005, 01:36:53 am
Here's the RCA Rome console
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Ers Bay on May 31, 2005, 09:26:03 am
[quote title=maxdimario wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 01:58]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 ?
[/quote

I do not know what was said in the meantime - too many pages, could not flick through them, sorry!

BUT, what were you trying to say, Maxdimario?

With all due respect, man, please do your homework and re-read chapters on OP-Amps and the implementation of negative feedback, all the different types of transistors, and so on.

Kind Regards

Ers
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: ted nightshade on May 31, 2005, 10:29:15 am
I'm thinking that the reason classical recordings are not more popular may be the long history of perfectionistic editiing. After 100 edits, there's no performance anymore! The thrill of the musician exulting in nailing it is gone. Perhaps rougher, more exciting/passionate recordings might have kept an audience.

Classical music in the US at least has been alternately snobbing and self-deprecating it's way into complete marginalization for some time now... it's sad, I see exceptional young performers who would be thrilling for all kinds of different people, playing to a way-too-small audience that would pretty much sit through anything as long as it's classical and competent. Some of the obscure underpaid (lots of pay to play!) singers I've seen transcend genre- when it comes from the heart and is just beautiful, it's just great singing and I'd think there'd be women swooning and throwing underwear... or at least folks making live performance profitable.

Me I'd rather take a real performance with the IC's than a rampant splice job with tubes or discrete. Of course my preference would be the best through the best...

I think I will continue to spend my classical dollar on attending live performances.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxim on May 31, 2005, 01:46:26 pm
ers wrote:

"BUT, what were you trying to say, Maxdimario?"

in reply to max's statement that

"There were some great records mixed on IC desks"

i'm not max...wait a minute, i am...so i'll answer anyway

i think he was trying to say that there were some great records mixed on ic desks

sometimes, a discrete neural pathway also works better
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on May 31, 2005, 02:46:17 pm
Weren't Tridents IC ladened as well?
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario on May 31, 2005, 06:31:55 pm
Quote:

After 100 edits, there's no performance anymore! The thrill of the musician exulting in nailing it is gone. Perhaps rougher, more exciting/passionate recordings might have kept an audience.




That's the way I feel about it exactly.

A 'perfected' performance can give you immediate satisfaction on first listen, but doesn't have as much staying power as a complete un-edited one (if it's a good one).


H.V.K. was a great conductor I'm sure, but his recordings have always sounded too technical to me.

Given the fact that most classical music was written before the times of the automobile and modern machinery/technology with all it's physical perfection, I doubt that the musicians of the time would have ever played in such a technically perfect way. They probably aimed at creating an effect in the listener which was more spiritual than technical.

The best interpreters know how to give an overall sense of meaning to a performance, and it becomes increasingly difficult to do so once the edits start piling up.

I really get more out of the unedited performances than I do the perfect edited ones... in the long run.





Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on May 31, 2005, 06:46:55 pm
Immediate satisfaction vs staying power, I agree.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: dcollins on May 31, 2005, 07:20:17 pm
Ers Bay wrote on Tue, 31 May 2005 06:26


With all due respect, man, please do your homework and re-read chapters on OP-Amps and the implementation of negative feedback, all the different types of transistors, and so on.



Nah too much work!  Opinion stated as fact is much easier....

DC
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: compasspnt on May 31, 2005, 08:16:10 pm
vernier wrote on Tue, 31 May 2005 14:46

Weren't Tridents IC laden as well?



The 80 series certainly were!
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: thedoc on May 31, 2005, 09:46:35 pm
dcollins said..."Nah too much work! Opinion stated as fact is much easier...."

You are SO right.  Also I think Von Karajan's recordings
sound exceptional.    Smile


Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zmix on June 09, 2005, 08:55:50 am
Read this nice article on OP-Amps by Nelson Pass, the minimalist amplifier designer:

http://www.passdiy.com/pdf/diyopamp.pdf
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Tomás Mulcahy on June 09, 2005, 10:17:12 am
compasspnt wrote on Tue, 24 May 2005 19:32

Me, I like good music.

Agreed!
Johnny B wrote on Wed, 25 May 2005 05:13

I think once in a while, the music is soooo great...soooo powerful...that even the technology can not get in its way...it just shines thru no matter how much people try to destroy it...


Agreed!

Good art either transcends the medium or embraces it. For example, "Infected" by The The both transcends and embraces. The sound is SO eighties, loadsa 480L, no bottom end. But man, you can really feel the angst!

So will give up these hot debates we love having on the interweb? No way!
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zetterstroem on June 09, 2005, 02:26:01 pm
great album!! his genius stopped after "mind bomb" though.... i think he went into therapy!  Shocked

soldering on a trident series 65 right now...... about 400 op's (tl071) in that bastard!!! (24channel)

everything you put into it sounds like marshmallows.... under a pillow.... when i change all the (1000) cheap electrolytics i hope it's only marshmallows!!

did 2 channels with ad711 op's and black gate electrolytics...... what a HUGE difference.... people who don't believe in mods must sit on their ears..... Very Happy
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Tomás Mulcahy on June 09, 2005, 03:21:14 pm
zetterstroem wrote on Thu, 09 June 2005 19:26

great album!! his genius stopped after "mind bomb" though.... i think he went into therapy!


Infected and Mind Bomb were his therapy... Now that you mentioned therapy, those titles are pretty damned "obvious"...
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: drpat on July 04, 2005, 04:23:09 am
OK,,, here goes...

I'm not an expert on topology, but I do do audio for a living, and I usually have about 5 things on the charts on a fairly regular basis. IC... discrete... who gives a rat's ass. Our job is to make good records. I love mixing on old SSL consoles. I love mixing on Pro-Tools 001 systems (oops, did I say that out loud?). My point is, mix the record! Don't complain, and do the best job that you can possibly do. You have an amazing job already. Better than McDonalds. I have a 2" machine and an HD system at my disposal, and I've made records that charted on both (and a 001). As soon as you start analyzing the topology, you are revealing the insecurities of how well you do your job. Mix the fucking record! Show the client what a champ you are, and impress the shit out of somebody. I've been blessed with the best gear that money can buy, but people are more inclined to invest in people... Good people, not good gear! I'd throw my four Pultecs away, but I ned them to impress myself, and the audio geeks that surround me. This post is too long already... I think I've made my point. Laughing
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario on July 04, 2005, 05:12:02 am
I am sure that you are excellent at your job, and that many people appreciate the records you have worked on but there are a few things to consider.

The first is that audio quality to the layman is something that can only be appreciated by direct comparison and by long-term listening.  So the decisions on what kind of electronics should be used to record artists (the artist makes or breaks a great record) should be left to people who have a clear Idea of how electronic artifacts affect the total phsycological and sensorial effect of the music on the listener.

another point is that even though you are rightly proud of having worked on a series of number 1 records, this doesn't mean that number 1 records have good sound. Most new records sound like they could improve considerably..

Sound quality will not improve the chances of having a hit which does not need a build-up, such as the ones that become hits because of heavy marketing or association with stardom, tv appearances etc.. Those kinds of records start out at the top.

Sound quality WILL improve your chances that listeners will listen to the record over and over, and 'get' what the artists are trying to convey.  Feeling the full effect of the music re-inforces the personal bond with the music, and creates long-term relationships with artists.

Singers who are exceptionally gifted and have a lot of expressive depth in their voice are much more convincing when recorded through equipment that is of high quality. Opamp mixers make excellent performers sound more distant and expressionless.  

Some badly recorded bands can only be understood live because the spirit of the music comes through.  Sometimes the cd's are worse than the live performances.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zmix on July 04, 2005, 11:51:05 am
drpat wrote on Mon, 04 July 2005 04:23

... who gives a rat's ass. Our job is to make good records.... Don't complain, and do the best job that you can possibly do....As soon as you start analyzing the topology, you are revealing the insecurities of how well you do your job. Mix the fucking record!  Laughing


Patrick,

Yes yes and YES! I'll add "It's a poor carpenter who blames his tools"....

Thanks for the fantastic post, and as it's your first, I think I should tip you off: You've just entered the waiting room at the clinic. Everyone here is suffering from varying degrees of what I have termed "gear hypochondria".. no cure in sight. Thanks for the medicine...
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Tim Gilles on July 04, 2005, 01:16:53 pm
wwittman wrote on Wed, 25 May 2005 21:10

But can you imagine it recorded on an SSL?




Yes.

I can.

I'm thinking there's some room for improvement.


Tim "Rumblefish" Gilles



Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario on July 04, 2005, 04:30:10 pm
Quote:


Yes yes and YES! I'll add "It's a poor carpenter who blames his tools"....

Thanks for the fantastic post, and as it's your first, I think I should tip you off: You've just entered the waiting room at the clinic. Everyone here is suffering from varying degrees of what I have termed "gear hypochondria".. no cure in sight. Thanks for the medicine...



Nobody said you can't mix a record on a mixer with opamps.
you can take the master tapes and mix them on a Tascam board. I can't see why a professional would even think of mixing an important album on a cheap Tascam...right?

well..guess what? the electronics inside a Tascam mixer are very similar to the big expensive boards..more than you would think.

....as for the carpenter blaming his tools, maybe the tools are your ears and your brain and your instict, and the signal path (mixer and everything else) is the wood, the paint and the glue of the 'mix'.

you can design the best piece of furniture in the world, but if you build it with cheap unseasoned wood you are not doing justice to the original design.

Just take a listen to records before the age of IC mixers and machines.

Tell me they don't sound better. It's all about the result, right?

What kind of result are you looking for? Getting the job done quick without dwelling too much on 'superficial' issues such as SOUND?

Fine, but if ever a band comes out that I do like I hope that they are recorded on discrete equipment by someone who cares about capturing the sound in the room, because I know that it makes for a much more listen-able recording.

it's not impossible to do so, it's not terribly expensive since you can get good discrete equipment for the same price or a lot less than the fashionable lights and switches mixers AND it's going to enable people to listen to that record over and over without getting bored of it.






Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on July 04, 2005, 07:36:17 pm
Hey, if it fools the record buyer, why not compromise the sound (for convenience, and a quick buck). HEE!
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: wwittman on July 04, 2005, 10:47:19 pm
We can save LOTS of time and discussion if we'll all just say "who cares about sound, it's just about the music", or "who cares about gear, it's just about the people using the gear" or whatever.

Meanwhile we DO care (that's part of being professional) and we DO have preferences.

What I find amusing, endlessly, is how some people's preferences seem to threaten others'.

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: J.J. Blair on July 04, 2005, 11:18:24 pm
My preferences can beat up your preferences.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on July 05, 2005, 01:09:23 am
Every piece of gear filters, crimps, and compromises the original performance ..I like to stay concerned about this.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Tim Gilles on July 05, 2005, 12:32:06 pm
wwittman wrote on Mon, 04 July 2005 22:47


What I find amusing, endlessly, is how some people's preferences seem to threaten others'.




What I find amusing, is how some people are unable to realize the NATURE OF PRESENTATION of argument is often an excellent indicator of the potential RANGE OF RESPONSE.

Not that anybody here on REP fits this model... But consider this:

ie: People who continuously present wholly subjective opinion as in-transmutable law are potentially subject to a whole host of challanges(and some might be acerbic... Amazing huh!?!?), as such a posture in debate is:

A.) Silly and modestly pitiable.

B.) Mildly embarrassing those who know better.

C.) Often quite annoying to those who know enough.

D.) Potentially misleading to those who know little and may have come here to learn.

Hilariously. A consistent behavior I have noted in this type of poster is: When people disagree with their post content... They almost NEVER seem to consider a cursory evaluation of their post content and presentation, BEFORE they settle on some half-baked, self-aggrandizing/congratulatory assessment of their ability to impact and threaten those who present a differing viewpoint.

This type of kneejerk cynicism is not synonymous with intelligence.

It is, in my opinion, a debasement of it. As it often represents a willful maneuvering toward limiting and parochial cogent actions.

Then again... WhaddaIKnow...??? I like all kinza audio items with IC's in them.

Best regards,

Tim "Rumblefish" Gilles
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Gold on July 05, 2005, 03:00:53 pm
Tim Gilles wrote on Tue, 05 July 2005 12:32



Then again... WhaddaIKnow...??? I like all kinza audio items with IC's in them.



So do I. I can't say I've found a whole class of items I despise. I don't have any tube gear in my rig but I wouldn't mind a pair of K+H UE100's.

Early on I was scared away from transformers. My transfer console is littered with them and it sounds clean. My main EQ is IC based and also sounds clean. My cutting rack has some old IC's that have a less than stellar reputation. It sounds good. My previous cutting console had old IC's and transformers and didn't sound that good. I see no pattern.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: wwittman on July 06, 2005, 01:19:20 am
Tim Gilles wrote on Tue, 05 July 2005 12:32



This type of kneejerk cynicism is not synonymous with intelligence.




Which type of knee jerk cynicism IS then? {g}
( I HATE it when i use the wrong type)




On Digidesign's advice, I am trashing my preferences...
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario on July 06, 2005, 12:55:15 pm
Quote:

ie: People who continuously present wholly subjective opinion as in-transmutable law are potentially subject to a whole host of challanges(and some might be acerbic... Amazing huh!?!?), as such a posture in debate is:


Law is set by people who have the power to do so.  Smile  

Opinion is the fruit of experience, in the best case, and the fruit of self-interest in the worst case..

If an inexperienced but talented artist knows that there is a difference in the musical result of using a 100% discrete vs. IC signal path then they will have the knowledge to choose between the two.

Some artists do not have the slightest idea of how different recording equipment affects the music. That is the engineer and the producer's job.

You go into any major studio with huge rooms (and lots of good room sound worth listening to), mics that have very high resolution,  and racks of equipment and you find mixers with electronics that wouldn't belong in a good home stereo as a friend said once.  What happens to the ambience and reverb tails on IC desks? It becomes a wash doesn't it? Close mic'ing and effects are necessary to put some detail and ambiance back in the music, but it ain't the real thing and it doesn't have the same depth.

Musicians come in not having any technical idea of what the difference between one kind of mixer and another, and no idea of what that can do to the music.

Perhaps it's the studios and producers and A&R that have laid down an in-transmutable law, since many a band has been captured forever, in their peak period, through the above-mentioned equipment and subjected to all the over-production that it is primarily suited for.

When has anyone ever A/B'ed a discrete mixer with an IC mixer on the same mix? It's virtually impossible to do isn't it? How are people to know?



Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Tim Gilles on July 06, 2005, 01:01:27 pm
maxdimario wrote on Wed, 06 July 2005 12:55


When has anyone ever A/B'ed a discrete mixer with an IC mixer on the same mix? It's virtually impossible to do isn't it? How are people to know?



Case in point.

Tim "Rumblefish" Gilles
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: J.J. Blair on July 06, 2005, 01:42:48 pm
You know, I've never heard anybody tell me that they can hear the difference between an 8078 and an 8088, even though the latter uses 5532 op amps.  By all accounts, the character of those consoles tends to be defined by the transformers.  To verify this theory, I have a number of Neve broadcast modules, where I replaced the discrete op amp in one of them with one of the 5532 based op amps I have lying around and A/B'd them.  I really can't tell the difference, and would tend to agree with this opinion.

I really think it depends on what you are asking your ICs to do.  Quad Eights are not all discrete, but are really amazing sounding consoles.  They have discrete op amps, but have a mixture of discrete and IC components in the EQ esction.  An IC op amp in place of an input transformer may not have as much character, but the transformer is more likely to color the sound.  However, in a situation like a stereo buss, a discrete op amp will definitely give better results than an IC op amp, most noticebaly in terms of headroom.  Also, I have noticed that my all discrete API 550As have better headroom than my API 550A-1s, which replace one of the 2520s with an IC and I believe replace some of the resistor based EQ functions with ICs.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario on July 06, 2005, 01:48:56 pm
Tim.

Clients may not know the difference, but engineers who worked with both and understand performance do know the difference...


For those who don't have access to good discrete equipment (tube or transistor) there is a way to get accustomed with the difference in sound quality and it's effect.

Just listen to LP records pressed on 100% discrete equipment (incl. cutting head amps) from the 70's and before(before IC's began to be utilized in audio equipment) compared to the majority of LP releases post '82ish and listen for livelyness, performance and listen-ability. anyone can do this in the comfort of their own home.

If your stereo has no IC's in the signal path (most stereos before the mid to late 70's.. and the best hi-end hi-fi amplifiers built today don't have IC's) you will feel the effect even better.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Peter Weihe on July 06, 2005, 07:38:43 pm
maxdimario wrote on Wed, 06 July 2005 18:55


When has anyone ever A/B'ed a discrete mixer with an IC mixer on the same mix? It's virtually impossible to do isn't it? How are people to know?



I did.
Last year I bought a 48 channel transportable Neumann console from the Berlin  broadcast "SFB"  for a friend of mine.
The console is divided in 9 blocks of 8 channels or masters.
On the back the blocks are connected via multiconnectors and there are XLRs for Mic In, Line In, Direct Out and TT jacks for 2 inserts per channel on the back of each frame.
So you have a patch-bay on the back of the console.
It's a mechanical masterpiece.
One great aspect is that it is left up to you how many input frames or master frames you want to take with you. The console works in all different constellations from 8 channels/ 4groups to 48 channels/8 groups and 2 stereo masters.

When I realized that I was able to carry the single frames alone it took me just 1,5 hours to set it up in my control room next to my Helios console. The test began.

The Helios is completely discrete  ( except one IC in the side chain of the EQ ) and the Neumann has a discrete mic pre amps V476 but IC based Eqs W491 and IC based active faders and summing amps V475.
I installed a parallel cabling from my Studer A 800 to the line inputs of both consoles.
Then I chose a recording with all live played instruments - a t typical band setup , electric guitar, acoustic guitar, electric bass, drums , Hammond B3 and vocals.
First I made a monitor mix on the Helios without Eqs and then I measured all levels and panning with tones and set up the same levels and panning on the Neumann.
And ?????
The mixes sounded surprisingly different not only to my ears but even to my son and his friend.
I repeated the whole procedure three times with different styles of music - piano and strings- and the next time I started the mix on the Neumann and copied the settings on the Helios.
What was the difference?
The most striking difference was that the Helios had a greater bandwidth much more air and much more buttom.
That's no wonder because the German broadcast ( Braun Book) demands a roll off starting at about 16 KHz and a Low Cut at about 40 Hz.
Second the Neumann is stuffed with transformers. Each stage has at least an input transformer and some have both Input and Output transformers.
The Helios is completely transformer-less.
The Helios sounded more silky and had a much wider panorama, while the Neumann had a tighter Bass and slightly punchier attacks. Maybe it was a bit more aggressive which didn't sound so nice on vocals or strings but helped drums especially snares to cut through and sound like 1990. ( Just a bit more like SSL .)
But I liked both mixes more than the same mix with the same levels in Pro Tools which I tried for one title. For me the Helios was much more charming and musical. It was pretty easy to add  the aggressiveness on the drums to the Helios with the help of some Amek Neve 9098 on bypass  or a SSL master compressor but there was no way to get the bandwidth, the depth and the smoothness of the Helios into the Neumann.

As there were just too many parameters more than just a discrete design and an IC based design I asked my technician to help me and isolate the different components from each other.

First we have to consider that the Studer A 800 is stuffed with ICs.
Dolby SRs are stuffed with ICs. I tried recordings with Dolby and without Dolby. The difference between the consoles stayed the same.
Recently  I took some Haufe 1:1  transformers, the ones that were specially made for Neumann . Haufe builds excellent transformers. The specs only tell you that they are linear up to 20 KHz but my technician measured that they reach beyond 100 KHz and go down to 5 Hz. BTW the transformers in the old Siemens modules are also incredible.
I tried them with different original non recorded ( live played) signals through my GML Mic Pres.
Just like every piece of equipment or every gain stage they change the sound but in a charming way.
The edges were a bit smoothened, there was a slight loss of transparency .
Funny that every individual transformer that we tried sounded a little different and added his own signature.
My technician removed the Hi cuts and Low Cuts in every stage of the Neumann console on 8 channels.
Afterwards the discrete Mic Pre sounded  amazing and the Eq and active faders went up to 150 KHz now . That dramatically changed the overall bandwidth but still  that light aggressive aspect stayed which sounded like a boost in the upper midrange when we compared single signals with GML gear, and the Helios.
However this is on a high subtle level and the modified Neumann modules sounded much better than most other so called high class consoles or channels that I have tried.

I asked my technician, Manfred Reckmeyer to build a IC based gain stage as perfectly as he could. He was convinced that it had nothing to do with ICs or discrete and that it was just a matter of proper design, power supply and circuit board layout.
When we made a mixing test with In the Box mixes and analogue summing amps for a German studio magazine, ( I wrote about it an the digital/analogue summing thread) Manfred's summing IC based amp prototype sounded much better  than the dangerous 2 Bus ( more stable dynamic) to all of the listeners.
But there was still something that I didn't like on single signals like violin, vocals and my own instrument guitar especially on high solo notes. All IC designed units that we tried added a bit of harshness .
However the IC designed stages sounded great on heavy guitars with fast attacks as they did on snares . Again it helped the attacks to cut through.

After a while we found some notes on these instrument during our tests that revealed that harshness or aching peaks which my technician blamed on the high feedback loop in IC based stages.
Manfred's last IC-design sounded better to us than my Amek Neve 9098 and the Neves V-Series ( Prism Rack), but
finally Manfred gave up and he built a great sounding discrete throughout symmetrical stage.
Now the harshness is gone,  sibilance is much less of a problem and that amp goes from 2 Hz to over 200 KHz.
Ever since I have tried every unit that came to my studio and there was none IC based unit that didn't show these strange artifacts . That was the point that finally convinced Manfred to continue with discrete designs.
But on the other side we have found some well respected gear with discrete op-amps that showed the same artifacts.
So "discrete" doesn't necessarily mean great.

I am an even bigger GM fan now, because the GML stuff combines transparency, an incredible bandwidth and dynamic, silky top without ever getting harsh.
However we found that most IC based stages following a GML Mic Pre can't really handle the signal maybe because it's just too fast and precise for ICs.
But I am only repeating Manfred's words without really knowing what's happening inside these boxes.

Finally I had to realize that my converters were stuffed with ICs and after exhaustive testing of almost every converter on the planet I was happy to discover the Lavry Gold AD.
The Gold can handle those signals and never gets ugly or harsh.
I compared the Input and Output Amps of my Studer ( set on input monitoring) to the Lavry Gold, connected with the same cables and I found that the Lavry sounded much better, much more like the original signal.
( I don't mean the time level).
That's the first time that I liked a digital converter better than my Studer. A private revolution. Things move on.

Nevertheless some of my students liked the sound of the Pro Tools 192 on heavy guitars more than the original all discrete sound, just because it was more aggressive.
Even ICs or converters can become part of a style or fashion.
In some cases it hurts and sometimes it helps and obviously some people like it and some do not.

I am happy to have an all discrete signal path now but I would always prefer the man over the equipment.
I always ask a good friend of mine, a great mixing engineer and producer to mix my stuff no matter whether he does it on an SSL or in Pro Tools. I am a musician, assuming I had a similar  talent for mixing as he has got  it would take me another lifetime of daily work as an enineer to find out whether I could do it as well on my Helios as he is mixing on his SSL.

Talent, experience and ears help music.

Best regards,

Peter
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on July 06, 2005, 09:54:13 pm
You know you want tubes.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: wwittman on July 07, 2005, 12:51:09 am
not ALL 8078 or 8088 are one or the other.

there are definitely both discrete and IC 8078's out there.

and I've told the story before but...


there was a well known studio that for whatever f$%^ed up reason had SOME modules of each type in their desk..and I was recording a rock band and couldn't for the life of me figure out why one tom mic sounded poopy in comparison to the others . we switched to another channel down the desk and all of a sudden things popped into place (after we'd changed cables, patches, mics and so on, pointlessly).
only LATER did the maint. biffo pull the module and mutter "oh, it's one of the IC ones"

needless to say this didn't make me happy.
But the POINT of it was that it was totally apparent, in the same desk, which opamp was installed.
Transformers didn't change.

discrete 8078's sound VERY different from the IC ones. And better.

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: J.J. Blair on July 07, 2005, 01:50:07 am
William, as I tend to always pick discrete pres when I am working, I will agree with your over all analogy.  However, there may have been other factors you were unaware of in your anecdotal evidence.  Other components in the channel may have been unhealthy, but we wil never know.  Besides, as I stated, ICs tend to run out of headroom much faster, and in a situation like recording a tom or a bass drum, you need a shitload of headroom.  However, on other less aggressive sources, I think you would be hard pressed to pick which one was IC in my experiment.  My point was mainly that the sound that people associate with those consoles tends to have more to do with the transformers than the op amps.  None the less, any broadcast channels I have that had IC op amps in them were fitted with the discrete op amps, because I am generally of the same opinion as yourself.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario on July 07, 2005, 01:59:50 pm
Nice to have you here, Peter.

Quote:

But there was still something that I didn't like on single signals like violin, vocals and my own instrument guitar especially on high solo notes. All IC designed units that we tried added a bit of harshness .
However the IC designed stages sounded great on heavy guitars with fast attacks as they did on snares . Again it helped the attacks to cut through.


High frequency instability, tizz, grainy shaky image.

This is typical of IC's

The IC circuit that you custom built is probably a lot better than what is in the popular IC consoles. I think people should keep that in mind, and also keep in mind that consoles have a series of stages, and the artifacts (discrete or ic's) add up most evidently on the final mix.

I agree with you 100% about the agressive-ness that IC's add.

5532's are a bit softer on the highs so this is attenuated somewhat.

A lot of the electronic dance drum sounds of the 80's and 90's are a result of sampling and resampling drum samples that had passed through soundcraft consoles and the like which use tl072's and 553X IC's.... boom chack! tcchhh!! smeared  aggressive thick highs!

As sound modifiers, or sound generators, IC's, just like any other circuit, will add something and take something away from the original signal.

IC's are synthetic in nature (the design philosophy could be said to 'synthesize' an ideal amplifier out of a distorted one) and the effect they have on audio is to make it sound more processed and agressive, as well as less real and a bit colder, which is sometimes what you may want to do.  I wouldn't pass ALL the sounds of a mix blindly through them though..

Remember the orginal MXR Distortion+? it had the old '70's style 741 op-amp, which is the grandaddy of popular op-amps, and it added a grit and aggressiveness to the guitars that helped shape 80's metal guitar sounds such as Ozzy's R.R. (if I remember correctly). Modern 741's are not as agressive sounding, perhaps because they are cleaner.

But if you want to record truthful honest sounds such as vocals, strings, real-sounding drums acoustic instruments etc. then your Helios beats them all.

And let's not forget that Led Zeppelin's guitar army distorted sounds as well as the Stones and a Lot of heavy 70's bands were recorded on a Helios.

You can always add an IC to the signal path, but you can't take it away if it's part of the mixing board.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario on July 07, 2005, 02:20:19 pm
Quote:

My point was mainly that the sound that people associate with those consoles tends to have more to do with the transformers than the op amps




Certainly Transformers have their own sound, especially cheap ones, and sometimes they can distort -- say a deep bass signal -- in a way that adds intelligibility because of the added harmonics, or soften highs etc. but the fact remains that a console is built out of a series of AMPLIFIERS.

Some are small signal amps (preamps) others are high-level signal amps with a higher current output (line amps) but every stage is an amplifier.

The distortion characteristics of the first stage (could be the tube in a tube mic, or the fet in a fet mic, or the preamp in a ribbon etc.) are amplified by every succeeding stage.

So once the signal has reached a certain voltage, most of the distortion artifacts have already been added.

this is why the preamp is the most critical stage of the signal path....and why nutty mastering engineers can get away with so much.

Using discrete pre's is a great idea to reduce the artifacts of an IC mixer, but it's a comprimise.

you certainly hear less of the IC sound if you are mixing line level sources but then you have to consider that if your board is IC based you also have an IC monitor path (probably) and once a signal passes through 4 or 5 or 6 IC's at line level (mostly buffering as opposed to mostly amplifying) you might not hear a great difference, unless you A/B'ed, but the difference will creep up on you eventually.

The big problem with IC's is that they tend to reduce the 'magic' of music or intimacy due to the inner workings of them.

As Peter said above there are some sounds that you may want to create by passing through an IC such as aggressive percussive sounds.

But the IC is not fit as a general music amplifier, it was never designed to be.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on July 07, 2005, 02:55:31 pm
I'm getting nervous ..aren't there ICs in ATR102?
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: compasspnt on July 07, 2005, 03:03:12 pm
Nice observations, Peter.  Thanks.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: J.J. Blair on July 07, 2005, 03:09:14 pm
Vern, I thought the ATR102 was discrete.  No?

<<Certainly Transformers have their own sound, especially cheap ones...>>

Max, you might want to rethink that statement.  I think Oliver would take issue with you on that one.  There are many well built, expensive  transformers that color the sound.  It's probably safe to say that they all do.  It's how they do that differentitates the good ones from the bad ones.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario on July 07, 2005, 03:32:45 pm
J.J.In fact I said 'especially'.

Good ones,  in particular when used as impedance converters (such as in tube mics) will alleviate the circuit of complex impedance-matching contraptions in a way that the music doesn't suffer.
the equivalent electronic circuit sounds stiff and artificial compared to the passive, transformer one.

..and just like microphone capsules there are some excellent ones, and lots that are not good, even by the 'same' manufacturer.

Transformers are very hard to build, and very expensive to make well. They are also fundamentally simple devices: a coil magnetizes a core which in turn magnetizes a separate coil. But there are infinite variables that can affect it's sound, so each one is slightly different.

Also transformers can gain in voltage if desired (for instance a V77 has a voltage gain of 40 times the input signal an LA-2A 10 times etc.) without need of active amplification, therefore improving s/n ratio among other things.

I much prefer the sound of a good transformer to a symmetrical buffer built out of op-amps.

When I say prefer the sound, I don't mean prefer the type of distortion, but naturalness of sound and depth of sound.
Musical quality and not measureable specs.




Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: J.J. Blair on July 07, 2005, 04:51:39 pm
Agreed.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: wwittman on July 09, 2005, 03:18:40 am
The fact that this thread has gone to 17 pages is destroying my will to live.

"... hate it or ignore it, you can't like it..."
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: JGreenslade on July 09, 2005, 06:52:38 am
wwittman wrote on Sat, 09 July 2005 08:18

The fact that this thread has gone to 17 pages is destroying my will to live.

"... hate it or ignore it, you can't like it..."


The fact that a thread debating the merits of I.Cs vs Discrete has gone on for 17 pages, whilst only mentioning cross-over distortion ONCE (ChrisJ I believe - forgive me for not checking through the whole discussion...) would be enough to destroy any engineer's will to live...


Justin
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: compasspnt on July 09, 2005, 09:17:22 am
I have not had the time to use my Studer A800-Mk III's recently, for reading the (soon-to-be) 18 pages.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: danickstr on July 09, 2005, 12:05:18 pm
A summary for those just joining us here:

Lots of posturing, pontificating and anecdotal uppercuts backed by some good evidence for the arguments on either side.  Apparently, it comes down to taste and also it is apparent that great (I mean successful) recordings have been made on both.

The gist of it seems to be that IC's add a distortion sound to music and diminish dimensionality, which some say is exactly what is required to get the sound for a certain type of music.

Lets see if this thread can go on for another 18 pages.  

Some of my favorite outtakes:

"ICs don't kill music nearly as much as bad sounding studio acoustics do!" - Bob O.

"or i might need a fuzz pedal with a dead battery..." - Zetterstorm

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

"Sorry for the late response.... I've been chained to a female singer" - WWittman

"you can't add intimacy and depth with distortion." - Mdimario

"My fundamental issue is with those who really cannot drive all that well describing the "sour grapes" of the SSL in a sort of sycophantic feeding frenzy. Then again, this is what we love about the internet..." - zmix

"I looked like a hero but what made me look good was what I didn't do." - Dschober

"Me, I like good music." - compasspnt

"Bach's genius will even shine through when one of his Fuge's is played on a casio. "

"Talent, experience and ears help music." - PWiehe


gotta love it!

cheers
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on July 09, 2005, 01:08:21 pm
I don't think distortion is what the complaint is (with ICs) ..thats a whole other topic. Transistors, IC's and digital gear handle distortion differently, and tubes handle it very differently.  
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: dcollins on July 09, 2005, 01:31:45 pm
thermionic wrote on Sat, 09 July 2005 03:52


The fact that a thread debating the merits of I.Cs vs Discrete has gone on for 17 pages, whilst only mentioning cross-over distortion ONCE (


Assuming you didn't change all your opamps to LM324's, when was the   last time anyone had problems with cross-over distortion?

You guys are cracking me up, btw...

DC
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Johnny B on July 09, 2005, 05:23:34 pm
vernier wrote on Sat, 09 July 2005 18:08

I don't think distortion is what the complaint is (with ICs) ..

Transistors, IC's and digital gear handle distortion differently, and tubes handle it very differently.  


And what do the latest test instruments from AP (et al.) show in this regard?

IOW, has anything new and exciting been learned or discovered over the last 5 to 10 years because of better and more precise test equipment?

How do people today attempt to distiguinish the different technologies?  

By what measurements?

And are those measurements as good as they should be, are they weighted properly?






Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on July 09, 2005, 06:32:14 pm
Measurements and test equipment is for Nasa ..we have ears. I'm gonna go play an old record now.
Title: No such thing as Magic
Post by: Radi0welle on July 09, 2005, 07:48:39 pm
Hi, all...

I always find threads like this amusing... belongs in the same class as Monster Cable and Oxygen-Free copper... or even better, silver plated wire with Teflon insulation.

Maybe it's just me, but as a hard-headed degreed Electrical Engineer with many, many years of experience designing precision analog circuitry, I basically ignore anything that cannot be substantiated with quantitative measurements, or in the case of things Audio- discerned by listening in a double-blind test.

In the absence of such tests, my particular bias is that MAYBE some kind of claim as to the audible benefits promised by the latest marketing hokum, or ignorant, baseless opinions is possible, but as far as things that make music sound bad, they just ain't "where the money is."  Sorry, folks- That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Things to remember:  Correlation doesn't equal Causation.
Learn a few things about measurements, logs, and orders of magnitude.

Now, having said all that, I still have an open mind.  If you want to sell me on the superiority of any system, component, etc., be prepared to show me the numbers, or play it for me.  If I can hear a difference, I MIGHT be a little more inclined to believe it.

<set mode:SOAPBOX = "OFF">

Thanks for enduring the rant...

*Bracing myself for the expected flurry of brickbats*

Have a sunny day!

-Daniel
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on July 09, 2005, 09:32:55 pm
There's a huge difference between types of gear, get  records out and listen ..examples go from excellent to horrible.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Johnny B on July 09, 2005, 10:06:29 pm
I think most people will accept the proposition that the different technologies behave differently and therefore sound different. I also think many will accept the idea that the "ear" is always the "Final Arbiter," this is true regardless of what any test data or spec sheets show.  In the final analysis, the Ear Rules.

Here, I think people want to have the latest thinking, they want to understand why things are as they are, they want to know what happens when you have a specific "purebred" type of technologly up against another, what happens when you mix technologies together, or just how to improve their sound.

To move forward and gain any understanding, people usually try to break things down from the whole into ever smaller pieces and parts, and this comes at the risk of losing sight of the "whole."

It seems to me that some kind appropriate or "balanced" approach may be the best course to gaining insight and advancing one's understanding. To my small brain, that usually means one often has to reserve judment and keep an open mind.

For me, that translates into trying to always maintain a willingness to change one's view based upon new information and new experience.

As always, YMMV.







Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: wwittman on July 09, 2005, 11:36:34 pm
Johnny B wrote on Sat, 09 July 2005 22:06

n open mind.

For me, that translates into trying to always maintain a willingness to change one's view based upon new information and new experience.





for me it translates into knowing what works for me and the forgetting about it so I can get back to the music and performances.... which is the part i CARE about.


I'd have to be REALLY bored to be reevaluating my technical choices all the time.
they're ONLY technical choices.
Title: Re: No such thing as Magic
Post by: Curve Dominant on July 10, 2005, 01:13:25 am
Radi0welle wrote on Sun, 10 July 2005 00:48

Hi, all...

I always find threads like this amusing... belongs in the same class as Monster Cable and Oxygen-Free copper... or even better, silver plated wire with Teflon insulation.

Maybe it's just me, but as a hard-headed degreed Electrical Engineer with many, many years of experience designing precision analog circuitry, I basically ignore anything that cannot be substantiated with quantitative measurements, or in the case of things Audio- discerned by listening in a double-blind test.

In the absence of such tests, my particular bias is that MAYBE some kind of claim as to the audible benefits promised by the latest marketing hokum, or ignorant, baseless opinions is possible, but as far as things that make music sound bad, they just ain't "where the money is."  Sorry, folks- That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Things to remember:  Correlation doesn't equal Causation.
Learn a few things about measurements, logs, and orders of magnitude.

Now, having said all that, I still have an open mind.  If you want to sell me on the superiority of any system, component, etc., be prepared to show me the numbers, or play it for me.  If I can hear a difference, I MIGHT be a little more inclined to believe it.

<set mode:SOAPBOX = "OFF">

Thanks for enduring the rant...

*Bracing myself for the expected flurry of brickbats*


Dude,

Here's a brickbat for ya:

YOU'RE RIGHT!
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Eric Bridenbaker on July 10, 2005, 02:13:13 am
If you like the sound of certain op amps then use them.

As far as "destroying" the sound, well the mic capsule did a pretty good job of that from the get go... all transducers, electronics, and yes, even monster cable will cause phase, dynamic and frequency "abberations" from the source.

At a stricly technical level, if you want the least amount of affectedness to the signal, use a discreet, servo coupled high grade and simple amplification path, which is still compromising the signal, albeit measurably less than other ways.

If you're going for something "else" then throw it though some tubes, transformers, electrolytics, and op amps.

The op amps and transformers are part of what makes an API do it's thing on rock'n'roll. Classic guitar amps don't sound the way they do because the cicuit is "pure", and certainly, the sound is very much alive in those.

The amp stages in the various tape machines and outboard gear add (or don't add) their respective things. It really is a matter of taste.

Sometimes you want to marinade some pork or chicken for two days, if you're into that sort of thing, then smoke it on the grill at low heat over the course of another half day. Other times you'll want to take a nice steak and do it straight up hot and fast without adding anything.

In most cases, the thing to avoid is overcooking. The thing to get right is knowing what the various flavors and techniques are, so that they can be used with taste, to achieve the most satisfying effect.

Cheers,
EB
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zmix on July 10, 2005, 03:33:17 am
OK, I have a few questions about this topic "IC's Kill Music" (sic)


I assume that the title contains a grammatical error -that the topic is NOT about the music that an IC makes when it's killing something, but rather an accusation that ICs are killing music.

Who's music did these ICs kill?

Was this music even breathing on it's own before these ICs got to it? Was it not, in fact, brain dead already?

Are all ICs responsible?

Is this similar to the horror inflicted upon music when sheet music was widely distributed for the first time?

Is this the same tragic end that music met when recording was invented and "Live" music was "Killed"?

Could this be the culprit lying in wait when the transistor replaced the vacuume tube?

Was the "active balanced" circuit conspiring to do away with music when it overthrew the transformer?

Was the evolution to digital conversion and storage merely a cremation process for the music which was brutally murdered by the ICs that met the music at the input jack?

Once cremated, the music was sent to the ultimate IC: the CPU, for "processing".. is it possible that what finally emerges is really only a ghost???

I like ghosts.



CZ
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario on July 10, 2005, 03:57:14 am
The big problem, is that most people talk about these things but they have never actually used them, or heard them together and cannot compare. They have never heard the effect, which is probably the case for most electronics engineers today who STARTED with IC's.

Some people are deaf to performance, feeling, and don't have the ears to discern between what is good sound and bad sound.

Some people hear the difference immediately.

the rule of thumb is that music mixers and equipment should be natural sounding as humanly possible, in order not to screw with the performance, and realism..which gives added weight in the long run.

You can filter the sounds you want with whatever outboard gear you may like, but the mixer has to be musically neutreal (insomuch as technology will allow).

any engineer that thinks that talking about the sonic and technical differences between an ssl and a discrete neve is akin to comparing speaker cable has no place in making professional music equipment.

This is the kind of approximative evaluation that is only applicable to budget products, such as Beringher mixers, which by the way are probably 'cleaner' and have better specs than an SSL.

The real audio engineers, who worked for research institutes and/or did not have to go "where the money is" designed audio equipment with music in mind, and their knowledge spanned into other areas.  The more you know the less you know, so you can see in their designs that they tried their best not to mess with whatever music 'could be'as a whole. They did not concentrate solely on one or more SPECIFIC aspects, but went out of their way to make the amps as simple and clear sounding as possible.

The German word for THD is 'Clear-Factor' I believe.


The problem with 'science' just like anything else is that knowing a little and trying to apply that knowledge can actually be much worse than what your ears tell you is right.

The test to end this discussion would have to be one similar to what Peter W. did.

Record the same band with an all IC and an all discrete path, maybe with mic splitters, and then compare the mixes.

Again, you only really need to listen to the records that have come out in the last 40 years and use your ears and heart to judge. Most hits after 1982-ish were at least mixed on IC's. Take the time to actually hear the difference.


The technical people who don't have any artistic or musical sensibility are the ones who designed the most musically harmful equipment.





Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Brian Roth on July 10, 2005, 05:06:17 am
OK. cool...then what REPEATABLE  measurements can quantify these differences??

If they can't be measured via current measuring systems, then two possibilities exist:

1.  Current measurement methods are not adequate.

2.  The alleged differences don't exist.

It's all well and good to make allegations, but if sonic differences exist, then we need to know how to "trap" them via scientific methods.

Any ideas??

Bri



Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: JGreenslade on July 10, 2005, 06:12:18 am
dcollins wrote on Sat, 09 July 2005 18:31

thermionic wrote on Sat, 09 July 2005 03:52


The fact that a thread debating the merits of I.Cs vs Discrete has gone on for 17 pages, whilst only mentioning cross-over distortion ONCE (


Assuming you didn't change all your opamps to LM324's, when was the   last time anyone had problems with cross-over distortion?

You guys are cracking me up, btw...

DC


Newer devices may *claim* absence of crossover distortion, but unless the signal does not exceed the class A region, how can that be guaranteed? "Switching" distortion may be more appropriate, but if it exceeds the biased region...

I made the point about crossover distortion because I felt it was relevant to a debate of this nature - it was not intended to be a blanket statement relating to the merits of "technology A" vs "technology B" - as we know, a professional uses the item in their arsenal most suited to the application, and gets on with the job.

Taken from:The Self Site
Quote:


The best possible distortion performance is demanded. Most opamps have Class-B or AB output stages, and many of them (though certainly not all) show clear crossover artefacts on the distortion residual. A discrete opamp can dissipate more power than an IC, amd so can have a Class-A output stage, sidestepping the crossover problem completely.



Justin
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: danickstr on July 10, 2005, 10:59:12 am
poorly designed gear that uses ICs in an unsuitable way kills musicality.  no one can argue that.  but any type of gear is then suspect, if it sounds wrong for the intent of the producer and artist.

but I agree that ICs are rarely the best choice except as a matter of entry-level gear where the idea is to get a bit of cash from someone and give them something inferior, but marginally adequate.

so while I am on that topic, I have to say that I can't stand this kind of introduction for young musicians to shitty gear.  but their thin pocketboks and fat dreams will send them out with the word "sucker" written across thier foreheads.  Right into the gaping maw of a Guitar Ash salesperson.  Ics make music live for these novices, but what is the musical cost for a frankensteined mixer with FX that fits in a backpack.

1208 mixer   200.00
preevey amp and mic  150.00

sounding like you're singing underwater ........      worthless
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Andy Simpson on July 10, 2005, 03:19:19 pm
Brian Roth wrote on Sun, 10 July 2005 10:06

OK. cool...then what REPEATABLE  measurements can quantify these differences??

If they can't be measured via current measuring systems, then two possibilities exist:

1.  Current measurement methods are not adequate.

2.  The alleged differences don't exist.

It's all well and good to make allegations, but if sonic differences exist, then we need to know how to "trap" them via scientific methods.

Any ideas??

Bri






If I may be so bold, I will suggest that one thing we are not measuring/comparing in circuits is the relative phase response, or perhaps we're just not taking notice of it.
(* and nfb will certainly have an impact here).

If we define the life-like quality of a sound as it's depth or shape, then the arrival times of each part of the spectrum absolutely need to be preserved, so that different frequencies arrive at the correct time and preserve the (subtle? no) differences that make up depth, life, image, etc.

This, I believe, is where tubes/discrete work so well, or rather they don't fuck it up.

(Anyway, alot of mics kill it before the amp gets a chance.....a u47 or a ribbon would probably sort the men from the boys, but a 414 might as well go thru an ssl.....Wink)

Anyway, as I said, the true test would be to pass through the circuit recursively, 50+ times and see what happens at the end. This will be very enlightening, no doubt.
My guess is that aside from the noise issues, good sounding gear will pass the sound many times without large changes, and bad sounding gear will make it unrecognisable in very few passes.

Andy

PS, the 414 is a good example of how a ruler-flat frequency response does not a natural, alive sounding recording make.
There's no mention in the specs of how it delivers those flat frequencies.....but flat they is! Wink
And 1950's recordings are a good example of how a frequency response that looks like K2 on a foggy day can deliver a very alive sound.

Phase? Let me see your graphs!!!
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on July 10, 2005, 04:18:45 pm
What danickstr said.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario on July 10, 2005, 05:28:10 pm
There's no use in trying to quantify with specifications what the trained musical ear hears immediately.

If there isn't enough popular knowledge to explain the obvious, that doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

Distortion or deformation of the waveform is the principal concern to be dealt with.

What makes an audio signal sound musically alive is not fully understood by the vast majority of people who are involved with audio.

Bill Whitlock said something interesting in a paper he wrote, regarding the difference between phase DISTORTION and phase SHIFT.

Phase shift does not create too many problems, but phase distortion does.

It alters the waveform in a way that the nature of the sound is lost.

Digital distortion is the worst kind of distortion, and I suspect that there is a lot of phase distortion (not shift) in digital encoding and decoding, much more than analog.

The human brain, which interprets sound, is used to phase shift, but phase distortions happens primarily in man-made electronics circuits. It is an artificial distortion which cannot be interpreted naturally by the ear.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: dcollins on July 10, 2005, 06:47:14 pm
thermionic wrote on Sun, 10 July 2005 03:12



Newer devices may *claim* absence of crossover distortion, but unless the signal does not exceed the class A region, how can that be guaranteed?


Well, it's guaranteed by matching the source to the load!  If you have to drive a very low Z, or to a very high swing, or both, you may have to go discrete.

Quote:


Taken from:The Self Site
Quote:


The best possible distortion performance is demanded. Most opamps have Class-B or AB output stages, and many of them (though certainly not all) show clear crossover artefacts on the distortion residual. A discrete opamp can dissipate more power than an IC, amd so can have a Class-A output stage, sidestepping the crossover problem completely.




Douglas Self is the worst possible example to bring into this thread.  He is the ultimate objectiveist, and believes in measurement.  His books are full of AP plots and discussions of how to lower distortions in every stage....

And speaking of cross-over distortion, Self's amps are almost all Class B!

How does he do it?

DC
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: dcollins on July 10, 2005, 06:55:22 pm
maxdimario wrote on Sun, 10 July 2005 14:28


Distortion or deformation of the waveform is the principal concern to be dealt with.



But only you can detect this distortion?  No equipment, regardless of sophistication, will show it?

Quote:


Phase shift does not create too many problems, but phase distortion does.



This one could do with a little fleshing out.  When does "shift" become "distortion?  Is it the rate of change?  A certain amount of degrees?  When the high-end is delayed more than the bottom?  

All my EQ's change the wave-shape, that's what they do.

Quote:


Digital distortion is the worst kind of distortion, and I suspect that there is a lot of phase distortion (not shift) in digital encoding and decoding, much more than analog.



Factual distortion is actually the worst kind.......

DC


Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Johnny B on July 10, 2005, 07:32:17 pm
dcollins wrote on Sun, 10 July 2005 23:55


But only you can detect this distortion?  No equipment, regardless of sophistication, will show it?



So the existing Test Suites are inadequate because no equipment can measure it?
Some people have been saying things like this for a long, long time.

One of the standard (canned) responses to the charge that the Test Suites are inadequate seems to be that because there are no measurements, there is no proof of a problem, therefore, those who espouse the canned responses simply deny that a problem even exists.

Often, the "Denial/Lack of Measurable Proof" argument is followed by a pot shot attack on the one noticing the problem stating that the "ear person" relies "too much" on their ears, that their ears are playing tricks on them, that it's all in their head, that it's "only" anecdotal and all purely "subjective."  

The implication is that direct experience and close personal observation is not good evidence, but this sort of evidence is fully admissable in any Court of Law. IOW, it's long been held to be very good evidence.

And in some cases in the audio field, this sort of evidence may the best we can ever have, it should never be ignored or denied out-of-hand.

As Always,
YMMV


Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zmix on July 10, 2005, 08:49:55 pm
dcollins wrote on Sun, 10 July 2005 18:55



Factual distortion is actually the worst kind.......

DC





What more can one say? Thanks Dave.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxim on July 10, 2005, 09:10:43 pm

now, i understand, that the punters hear the whole picture, and concentrating on the detail can be counter-productive, and our brains will make up the difference anyhow, as long as the music is alive

which is, perhaps, where the title of this thread goes too far

it takes a lot to kill music, and, if it's alive (skip james, robert johnson etc), the sonics will not stand in its way (up to a point)
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on July 10, 2005, 11:04:39 pm
Maybe the title could be a question: "How many IC's does it take to kill the music?"
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Johnny B on July 11, 2005, 12:29:00 am
vernier wrote on Mon, 11 July 2005 04:04

 "How many IC's does it take to kill the music?"



Maybe it only takes a few, and that's the problem.

I'll bet in some cases it only takes one IC...Once again...it's a problem.

You'd think that by now that the Art and the Science of Sound would have come together in such a fashion that there would be no problems, they'd all be solved, but I fear many problems, many new problems are in everyone's future. I hope I'm wrong.






Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on July 11, 2005, 12:45:03 am
Science solved sound problems long ago. Good mic, good pre, good deck ..throw in a Pultec and old tube limiter, you're set. Problem solved!
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Brian Roth on July 11, 2005, 03:42:31 am
andy_simpson wrote on Sun, 10 July 2005 14:19



Anyway, as I said, the true test would be to pass through the circuit recursively, 50+ times and see what happens at the end. This will be very enlightening, no doubt.
My guess is that aside from the noise issues, good sounding gear will pass the sound many times without large changes, and bad sounding gear will make it unrecognisable in very few passes.




An excellent idea that I did perhaps 30 years ago with "then available" gear.  I need to repeat those tests again when I get some time.

So, how many stages as a minimum to "trap the crap"?  What amplifiers?  

I would also believe that a nulling test would be instructive.

Audio is perhaps the only "engineering" profession where repeatable and verified measurements are shunned.  Hmmm...maybe I should design Space Shuttles because I "have this belief" that solid engineering principals are unimportant...just what my feelings are <g>.  "I think a Space Shuttle will work better because it's painted in my favorite shade of blue".

Bri

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Brian Roth on July 11, 2005, 03:44:29 am
BTW, for the null amp test, I need to find the right circuit.  My first attempt would be using an LM318, but I'm certain there are better ideas.

Bri

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Andy Simpson on July 11, 2005, 04:00:49 am
maxdimario wrote on Sun, 10 July 2005 22:28

There's no use in trying to quantify with specifications what the trained musical ear hears immediately.

If there isn't enough popular knowledge to explain the obvious, that doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

Distortion or deformation of the waveform is the principal concern to be dealt with.

What makes an audio signal sound musically alive is not fully understood by the vast majority of people who are involved with audio.

Bill Whitlock said something interesting in a paper he wrote, regarding the difference between phase DISTORTION and phase SHIFT.

Phase shift does not create too many problems, but phase distortion does.

It alters the waveform in a way that the nature of the sound is lost.

Digital distortion is the worst kind of distortion, and I suspect that there is a lot of phase distortion (not shift) in digital encoding and decoding, much more than analog.

The human brain, which interprets sound, is used to phase shift, but phase distortions happens primarily in man-made electronics circuits. It is an artificial distortion which cannot be interpreted naturally by the ear.


Yes, yes, yes. I meant phase distortion. Eg. 10k is 5ms late, relative to 1k. Relative phase.

So who is measuring the correctly time-aligned delivery of the waveform?

It is possible to have a ruler flat frequency response, an amazing fast slew-rate and very low THD but massive amounts of phase distortion, which is not measured or listed.

This we know from 414 and ssl (protools converters?).

MY ears hear it. MY brain detects it. It can be measured, it just isn't.

Andy
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Andy Simpson on July 11, 2005, 04:12:36 am
Brian Roth wrote on Mon, 11 July 2005 08:42

andy_simpson wrote on Sun, 10 July 2005 14:19



Anyway, as I said, the true test would be to pass through the circuit recursively, 50+ times and see what happens at the end. This will be very enlightening, no doubt.
My guess is that aside from the noise issues, good sounding gear will pass the sound many times without large changes, and bad sounding gear will make it unrecognisable in very few passes.




An excellent idea that I did perhaps 30 years ago with "then available" gear.  I need to repeat those tests again when I get some time.


Bri




Cool. What was the gear and result?
It must have been hard getting tape to do 50 generations without the self noise obliterating the music completely, or did you do it with channel strips (or some such module) repeated in series perhaps?

Yes, it'd be great if you could repeat the tests and post some examples of a 50th generation sound from various devices.....

Andy
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Brian Roth on July 11, 2005, 05:23:02 am
The test chain was ten opamps in a sequence, set as inverters running 20 dB gain with a 20 dB "pad" between each.

Looks like it's time to do that test gaian!

Bri
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Johnny B on July 11, 2005, 08:32:50 am

Converters that modify the signal to the degree that it results in "Time Smear," which people can hear, should be part of a standard test suite.

And there should be a way to look at the "big picture" to make sure that many channels  with "Time Smear" and "Phased-Out" problems do not produce those nasty "Negative Cumulative Impacts" when they are all added together.






Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Andy Simpson on July 11, 2005, 12:20:31 pm
Brian Roth wrote on Mon, 11 July 2005 10:23

The test chain was ten opamps in a sequence, set as inverters running 20 dB gain with a 20 dB "pad" between each.

Looks like it's time to do that test gaian!

Bri



Cool.
So what was your conclusion at the time?!

Andy
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario on July 11, 2005, 12:57:28 pm
Quote:

it takes a lot to kill music, and, if it's alive (skip james, robert johnson etc), the sonics will not stand in its way (up to a point)


Intresting enough, I was talking to someone last night who had a western electric horn with a big woofer in his mono HI-FI 40+ years ago and he was talking about realism etc. being there..

he also mentioned audiophile 78 records which were pressed on red vinyl and how much superior they were realism-wise to anything he'd heard since.

Frequency response and tonal balance do not make a huge difference in transmitting feel and realism.

Has anyone heard a 78 in good condition lately? they are noisy scratchy and bandwith limited but they make the performer sound more human than todays technology in some ways.

Rhythm is very important feel-wise.

Have you ever seen a band playing live where the rhythm section is locked and grooving? being in the same room is quite the experience.

Would the IC mixer or the discrete mixer capture that vibe better?

The answer is clear to those who have experienced both.

Blues artists recorded on SSL? it would sound like sloppy playing..and that's it..

you need to hear the attack portion of the notes and drum hits cleanly to get the feel.

A good example is one of my all-time favourite groups, that basically existed because of feel and timing: The Free

The Free were remixed on what sounds an awful lot like an opamp mixer in the early 90's or late 80's complete with added snare samples. Maybe it was Bob Clearmouintain who re-mixed.

Apart from the great job that was done mixing the tracks, the sound DOES NOT convey the spirit of the band.

It does not convey Rodgers' soulful earthy voice, nor does it convey the stinging crying guitar of Kossoff nor does it convey the physical groove that was layed down by Fraser and Kirke like the original mix, although the tapes were the same.

This re-mixed cd was the first CD I bought of the band and I must say apart ALL RIGHT NOW which is so strong as a song that it was worth a couple of listens every now and then, the rest of the album tasted bland.

When I did years later buy Fire&Water which was the original 70's album mixed on discrete, it was a revelation.

I listened to that cd hundreds of times (I actually wore it out, with scratches) and even got some of my friends interested in it so that we had a little band to play some of the numbers.

I ended up buying everything they ever did including the remasters.

The reason is that the free were a BAND -- they had a band-groove, a blues-based band, which was based on FEEL.

It wasn't the melodies as much as the general feel.

Feel comes down to phrasing, rhythm, and it has to sound real.

Kossoff used to say he didn't want any pedals because they took some of the soul away..
Obviously you have to have soul to begin with to understand.

So yes.. the mixer does make a big difference, and I wish people who sit in a room and read theory instead of listening to music would not tamper with the music making and recording process.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: danickstr on July 11, 2005, 07:49:30 pm
vernier wrote on Mon, 11 July 2005 00:45

Science solved sound problems long ago. Good mic, good pre, good deck ..throw in a Pultec and old tube limiter, you're set. Problem solved!



lol   now that I think about it, is there any gear that I would want to use in a good signal chain that is chock full o'IC's? Unless it's for elec guit. or something.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Johnny B on July 11, 2005, 07:54:02 pm

Sounds like some jurors are ready to deliver a final verdict.  Smile
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: dayvel on July 11, 2005, 11:43:09 pm
I think you could grow a damn fine garden in this thread.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: compasspnt on July 12, 2005, 12:30:54 am
dayvel wrote on Mon, 11 July 2005 23:43

I think you could grow a damn fine garden in this thread.


Because of the great amount of fertile space, or the pre-extant mounds of fertilizer?
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Brian Roth on July 12, 2005, 01:32:44 am
andy_simpson wrote on Mon, 11 July 2005 11:20

Brian Roth wrote on Mon, 11 July 2005 10:23

The test chain was ten opamps in a sequence, set as inverters running 20 dB gain with a 20 dB "pad" between each.

Looks like it's time to do that test gaian!

Bri



Cool.
So what was your conclusion at the time?!

Andy


Time frame was probably 1977 when the TDA1034 (soon thereafter known as the NE5534) was introduced.  The listening system was far from "high def" as we know it today (JBL studio monitor driven by that large Yamaha power amp which was popular at the time...model number forgotten).  I had been using LF356 opamps in custom equipment, and you could hear 10 of them in a string vs. a straight wire.  *Within the limitations of the monitoring chain*, 5534's added practically nothing compared to the wire bypass.  For grins, LM-301 really sounded bad.

Nearly 30 years have passed, all signal chains have improved, so that makes me want to repeat similar tests, especially since it never dawned on me in 1977 to do a null test.

Bri

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Andy Simpson on July 12, 2005, 02:12:55 am
Brian Roth wrote on Tue, 12 July 2005 06:32

andy_simpson wrote on Mon, 11 July 2005 11:20

Brian Roth wrote on Mon, 11 July 2005 10:23

The test chain was ten opamps in a sequence, set as inverters running 20 dB gain with a 20 dB "pad" between each.

Looks like it's time to do that test gaian!

Bri



Cool.
So what was your conclusion at the time?!

Andy


Time frame was probably 1977 when the TDA1034 (soon thereafter known as the NE5534) was introduced.  The listening system was far from "high def" as we know it today (JBL studio monitor driven by that large Yamaha power amp which was popular at the time...model number forgotten).  I had been using LF356 opamps in custom equipment, and you could hear 10 of them in a string vs. a straight wire.  *Within the limitations of the monitoring chain*, 5534's added practically nothing compared to the wire bypass.  For grins, LM-301 really sounded bad.

Nearly 30 years have passed, all signal chains have improved, so that makes me want to repeat similar tests, especially since it never dawned on me in 1977 to do a null test.

Bri




Cool.

Cynical question no. 1, what was the source material? (Was it something with amazing depth/image/etc?).
Cynical question no. 2, was the monitoring system capable of delivering a 'fuck, the band is in the room with me' type of compelling sound?
I guess the null test would have been utterly definative either way, regardless of the source material and monitors.

Please do repeat the test!!! The results of a null test would tell us alot.

Andy

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Brian Roth on July 12, 2005, 02:48:02 am
Andy, the tests were pretty primitive by today's standards.  Mono only (it was enough of a PITA to cobble 10 opamps in series with pads!).  Source material was a hodgepodge as I recall.  Probably some 15 IPS 2T masters and things like Dark Side or Crime of the Century from LP...probably some Steely Dan LP sources.

At the time, JBL monitors were the "happening thing", but I sure don't recall which model.

I was 23 years old in 1977, and struggling to sort out many audio design issues.  At that time, the " 'golden ears' had it out" for things like Neve desks with all the transformers in the path.  I was trying to get a grip on what seemed to be transparent and what was not.

With the then-available test gear, the limitations of the 356 and 301 opamps in a string could be detected.  The 5534 chain measured well, IIRC.

Now, my next trick is figuring out the best parts for a null-er-ator <g>.  I'm leaning towards the LM318 since I have some sitting in a parts drawer.

Bri

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Andy Simpson on July 12, 2005, 04:58:37 am
maxdimario wrote on Mon, 11 July 2005 17:57

Quote:

it takes a lot to kill music, and, if it's alive (skip james, robert johnson etc), the sonics will not stand in its way (up to a point)


Intresting enough, I was talking to someone last night who had a western electric horn with a big woofer in his mono HI-FI 40+ years ago and he was talking about realism etc. being there..

he also mentioned audiophile 78 records which were pressed on red vinyl and how much superior they were realism-wise to anything he'd heard since.




Interesting that the horn often gets mentionned when people are describing super 'in the room with me' audio experiences.

Yesterday I was doing a rough mix on location in a rehearsal space I'd been recording a band in. Anyway, for fun I ran up my monitors to 'performance' level, pressed play and ran to the safety of the next room.
Listening from the other room, the illusion of a band in the next room was so convincing, I swear I could easily fool somebody into thinking there really was a band in there. In particular, the ride & cymbals, the general rhythm section was so big, clear and real sounding.
That was on my previously mentionned srm450 mackies, horn loaded.
I am loving these monitors more every day!

Andy
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: leban (giancarlo) on July 12, 2005, 08:16:20 am
dcollins wrote on Sun, 10 July 2005 23:55

maxdimario wrote on Sun, 10 July 2005 14:28


Distortion or deformation of the waveform is the principal concern to be dealt with.



But only you can detect this distortion?  No equipment, regardless of sophistication, will show it?

Quote:


Phase shift does not create too many problems, but phase distortion does.



This one could do with a little fleshing out.  When does "shift" become "distortion?  Is it the rate of change?  A certain amount of degrees?  When the high-end is delayed more than the bottom?  

All my EQ's change the wave-shape, that's what they do.

Quote:


Digital distortion is the worst kind of distortion, and I suspect that there is a lot of phase distortion (not shift) in digital encoding and decoding, much more than analog.



Factual distortion is actually the worst kind.......

DC






My simple suggestion, not perfect because the capture done via digital converters (ic based!):
All he is measurable. The impulse response is defined as the response of a system to a  input. This is maths.
What you need for a digital measurament is
1) the best possible A/D e D/A converters pair in the market.
2) the same A/D e D/A configuration for a direct A/B comparison.
Digital converters can add a bit distortion etc but what you can check is the 'difference' between the two results (for example if in both you have phase shift in 5Khz range you can guess it is for DACs)
Impulse response is an audio file, you can check phase distortion/shift, distortion, linearity simply analyzing with any kind of computer audio editor.

In synthesis
a) a test signal (for example a 24 seconds test signal) played in your gear with your optimum A/D converters
b) you capture with the best possible D/A converters
c) you calculate deconvolution (a math processing, voxengo deconvelver can do it)
d) you have the response of your system.

I'm an electrical engeneer and i see the solution from my point of view...




Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zmix on July 12, 2005, 09:42:51 am
dayvel wrote on Mon, 11 July 2005 23:43

I think you could grow a damn fine garden in this thread.


This is Plato's "Cave"... nothing will grow in here.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: compasspnt on July 12, 2005, 09:54:06 am
What's that shadow on the wall?
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Johnny B on July 12, 2005, 10:33:08 am

Will the bearer of truth again be killed, or will the "Analogue vs. Digital vs. Tubes vs. Discrete Transistors vs. IC's vs. Tranformers vs. Tranformerless vs. 192Khz and Greater/Newer/More Advanced SRC's Debate" simply continue to rage on with people still asking those nasty probing questions like "Yeah, but why does it still sound like ass?"

Will newer/better test suites provide more clues, or, will the mystery/saga keep playing in serialised episodes with more juicy tid-bits revealed each week?...only someone with the wisdom of a Socrates knows.

And when Socrates knows something, he can teach it to Plato who can then pass the lesson on to us mortals.



 
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zmix on July 12, 2005, 10:59:50 am
Plato and Socrates were human philosophers, and certainly mortals.

The story of Plato's Cave is about people so obsessed by an artifact ( a shadow cast upon a wall) that they think this artifact is actually the thing itself. They argue about the shadows although none of them have any knowledge of, or have ever seen the thing that is causing the shadows to appear.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Johnny B on July 12, 2005, 12:46:22 pm
Perhaps one of the things that is being underscored here is all the anomalies introduced by the IC chain, here is but one example of the problems that must be overcome:

  http://www.analog.com/UploadedFiles/REDESIGN_IC_Anomalies/19 5504460ts101_anomaly52605.pdf

Of course there are even more anomalies out there for other IC's.

For example, see:

http://www.analog.com/processors/technicalSupport/hardwareAn omalies.html


Certainly no one could argue that anomalies don't exist for the tube, transistor, discrete, or analogue systems out there,  just that we know the truth that they are there, they have been revealed, and they are all very different from one another.

In this sense, we have come out of the Cave, albeit, only a little.



Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zmix on July 12, 2005, 01:19:22 pm
Johnny, these are lists of DSP hardware and coding anomalies. You may as well post the known bug lists for OSX here...  

Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  :
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Johnny B on July 12, 2005, 03:46:13 pm
Yeah, I know..it was only a quick and dirty response and merely provided as an example of the strange behavior or "anomalies" one can find with IC's.

Last time I checked, DSP were IC's..I think that's still true...in fact...DSP chips seem to be all over the place in the digital domain.

BTW, I'm not saying the other competing technologies do not have their own anomalies, just showing that IC's have them.

Whether a more particularised IC anomaly is more at fault or more to blame for killing the music is another question altogether.

The point I was attempting to make is that IC's, in general, *have* "anomalies."



Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zmix on July 12, 2005, 10:13:17 pm
don't we all....... Evil or Very Mad
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Johnny B on July 13, 2005, 11:04:15 am

I can't speak for others, but the mean lady who lives with me, beats me with her closed fists and gives me black eyes and fat lips says I have a lot of problems. To be honest, I think she's my biggest problem. She's a huge anomaly in my life. I think I'll trade her in on three twenty-year-olds...that'll fix her.

I'll say this for her tho', she does have a good ear and can hear crap in bad IC circuits.


Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: JGreenslade on July 13, 2005, 12:04:56 pm
DC wrote:
Quote:


Douglas Self is the worst possible example to bring into this thread. He is the ultimate objectiveist, and believes in measurement. His books are full of AP plots and discussions of how to lower distortions in every stage....



Sorry about that... Self is a real party pooper...just imagine what the discussion groups would be like if we adhered to Self's protocol...

BTW, Self is not the only objectivist that advocates Class B operation in power amps - funny that... He must be using a *fair* amount of forward bias to get away from the worst regions of switching distortion, but on the whole I get the impression that many of his ilk tend to view pure Class A in power amps as a scenario where the cure for the problem (i.e. efficiency well below 20% and excess heat build-up) is worst than the symptoms...

I haven't taken the time to study Self's power amp designs - is he an advocate of feed-forward error correction? I believe a certain well-known Canadian amp OEM use FFEC, and consequently performance on paper looks good, without upsetting "Friends of the Earth".

Justin

edit: Self on Power amps
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxim on July 16, 2005, 12:49:41 am
just to take this thread for another spin, the real enemy is not is the IC's, and not even the drum loop

imo, the most heinous crimes against music have been commited by people who believe that human beings have an innate ability to play bongos
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Terry Demol on July 16, 2005, 10:32:47 pm
thermionic wrote on Wed, 13 July 2005 17:04

DC wrote:
Quote:


Douglas Self is the worst possible example to bring into this thread. He is the ultimate objectiveist, and believes in measurement. His books are full of AP plots and discussions of how to lower distortions in every stage....



Sorry about that... Self is a real party pooper...just imagine what the discussion groups would be like if we adhered to Self's protocol...

BTW, Self is not the only objectivist that advocates Class B operation in power amps - funny that... He must be using a *fair* amount of forward bias to get away from the worst regions of switching distortion,




To the contrary, Self's optimum OP bias is quite low, usually
less than 200mA depending on OP devices and resistive component
of their emitter impedance.

We have tested the popular Self OP topologies such as CFP and
experimented with various OP bias currents. In this case his
theory doesn't necessarily correlate to sonic results. More
bias sounds better, IOW cleaner, more dynamic, less grain, just
better in every way.  

Quote:




but on the whole I get the impression that many of his ilk tend to view pure Class A in power amps as a scenario where the cure for the problem (i.e. efficiency well below 20% and excess heat build-up) is worst than the symptoms...

I haven't taken the time to study Self's power amp designs - is he an advocate of feed-forward error correction?




No. That was invented by Malcolm Hawksford. Many people nowadays
use variations of this linearisation scheme, including Halcro.

Quote:



I believe a certain well-known Canadian amp OEM use FFEC, and consequently performance on paper looks good, without upsetting "Friends of the Earth".




FF EC is a very good alternative to the usual huge loop
feedback scenario. It is very fast and much better at adressing
Xover dist than global FB. However it can be tricky to get
working right.

[/quote]
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: JGreenslade on July 17, 2005, 02:09:25 pm
Terry Demol wrote on Sun, 17 July 2005 03:32

thermionic wrote on Wed, 13 July 2005 17:04

DC wrote:
Quote:


Douglas Self is the worst possible example to bring into this thread. He is the ultimate objectiveist, and believes in measurement. His books are full of AP plots and discussions of how to lower distortions in every stage....



He must be using a *fair* amount of forward bias to get away from the worst regions of switching distortion,




To the contrary, Self's optimum OP bias is quite low, usually
less than 200mA depending on OP devices and resistive component
of their emitter impedance.



We have a question of semantics here - if a typical studio amp runs on +/- 75v rails with 200ma bias, by modern "efficient" amp standards, that would equate to what I would consider a *fair* amount of forward bias, not the "contrary" to Self’s implementation.


Quote:



I haven't taken the time to study Self's power amp designs - is he an advocate of feed-forward error correction?


Quote:



No. That was invented by Malcolm Hawksford. Many people nowadays
use variations of this linearisation scheme, including Halcro.




Note the use of "advocate", as opposed to inventor... I look forward to reading Hawksford's articles in AES journals btw.

edit: I knew that statement didn't feel quite right...

Considering these posts stay in the archive indefinitely, we might as well make the effort to ensure accuracy - "Feed Forward Error Correction" was originally proposed by Harold Black in 1928, scroll down to the pdf in this link: http://recforums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/mv/msg/6365/0/0/9 98/?SQ=983d6ecea6171685460a1f7ce0eac469

Justin
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: micguy on July 20, 2005, 01:40:36 pm
Since it seems every other person in the audio world has put their two cents in this thread, why not me?

OP-amps are a class of circuit topology. They can be made from Vacuum tubes (yes, some early ones were), discrete transistors, or transistors on the same die. Every black vinyl disk ever made (analog, and therefore obviously "better sounding" Wink  than a digital CD) passed through an op-amp driving the cutter head.

Discrete transistors (BJT's and FETs) are made using the same processes that are use to make the ones on I.C.'s - they're not necessarily better (or even different)

If you look at "high end" discrete op-amps - like the Jensen ones, they go to great lengths to couple them thermally - makes them work better, by potting them in epoxy. If you want even better thermal coupling, you put them on the same die. Oh wait, that's an I.C.

Anyone who says that Tubes are always better than transistors, or discrete is better than op-amps, needs to first understand that the world isn't that neat - it's not 3 simple classes of devices.

Also, making statements like "but I'm glad that the best ones were made on discrete desks, because I like listening to them better" clearly has no idea what they're talking about - how do you even know what desk something was mixed on?, Was the mastering was done with all discrete circuitry, or were there evil op-amps involved?

An awful lot of energy can be wasted patting yourself on the back about how you like this versus that for some arcane technical difference. If you'd just listen to the music, and take the excess energy you have and put it to some useful purpose (donate the time you'd spend arguing about this or the money you'd otherwise spend on next month's preamp to charity), the world would be a lot better place.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on July 20, 2005, 02:56:26 pm
But I like the sound of old records. And many CD (reissues) as well. They capture the great old tube sound, stored for eternity (thanx to digital).
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Andy Simpson on July 20, 2005, 03:09:07 pm
vernier wrote on Wed, 20 July 2005 19:56

But I like the sound of old records. And many CD (reissues) as well. They capture the great old tube sound, stored for eternity (thanx to digital).


And some of the capture the great old music sound too....Wink

Andy
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on July 20, 2005, 03:54:40 pm
Yep, all of it ..great stuff. And good that its available for reference. Margarine makers have real butter as an example, artificial sweetener chemists too ..can't ever lose sight of what they're trying to achieve.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: magicchord on July 20, 2005, 04:08:22 pm
...I only listen to acoustical recordings on my vintage windup reproducer...
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zmix on July 21, 2005, 12:46:47 am
andy_simpson wrote on Wed, 20 July 2005 15:09

vernier wrote on Wed, 20 July 2005 19:56

But I like the sound of old records. And many CD (reissues) as well. They capture the great old tube sound, stored for eternity (thanx to digital).


And some of the capture the great old music sound too....Wink

Andy

Laughing  Laughing  Laughing

now back to the moron-a-thon....
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario on July 21, 2005, 04:16:42 am
Quote:

but I'm glad that the best ones were made on discrete desks, because I like listening to them better" clearly has no idea what they're talking about - how do you even know what desk something was mixed on?, Was the mastering was done with all discrete circuitry, or were there evil op-amps involved?



Simple, all records made before 1977 or so had discrete desks (which were higher quality overall).

If you look at the way professional equipment was built before the late seventies you'll see that the quality was much higher, the sound was more natural.

op-amp desks came about because of the new, relatively cheap and small IC technology.

SSL desks took advantage of the miniaturization and cost-effectiveness of IC's to build a parametric eq, dynamics section and automation in EACH channel.

Just years before this would not have been possible with that size/pricetag.

The thing is that those IC's were not built for audio.

We are not talking about analog devices chips here but cheap dirty op-amps.

and zmix, instead of calling people morons because they like the sound of tube recordings (even mastered on cd), maybe you should take the discussion to a higher level and tell us what you like about the sound of records mixed through tlo7X and 553X VCA-equipped mixers.
Please tell us what makes that kind of signal path so endearing and superior to discrete solid state or tubes.

Maybe this would resolve some of the misunderstandings or illuminate the ones who have doubts on the issue.

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zmix on July 21, 2005, 11:00:51 am
Sorry, - 21 pages of fallacious argument, unsupported conjecture and dogmatically expressed opinion is a "moron-a-thon" no matter what the topic is.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Johnny B on July 21, 2005, 11:50:07 am

Is it not possible for people to rise to a more professional level so that they can express their differences and opinions without the ad hominem name-calling.

Calling someone a name simply because one disagrees with them adds nothing to the discussion and does nothing to explore "why" someone may feel they way they do. People usually feel the way they do based upon their particular circumstances and individual experiences, perhaps making enquiries into those areas would aid in gaining a greater depth of understanding and advance the discussion forward.

For example, one tech or the other could have burned someone really badly and helped ruin a given project. That would seem to be a perfectly logical reason for feeling strongly about a given tech and then expressing it in a short-hand fashion without revealing all the underlying nuances. Again, finding out what's underneath a person's statement can help us understand the "why" aspect. Another example could be where someone got burned on some tech that was a complete waste of money, again, a pretty good reason for being upset and expressing it in a short-hand way.

Sometimes more questions and less name-calling is the best course on these forums.  

As always,
YMMV  
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zmix on July 21, 2005, 01:09:52 pm
Please, - I never called anyone a moron because they like the sound of tubes.

In fact, I never called anyone here a moron at all.

In calling this thread a "moron-a-thon" it is not my intention to insult anyone. This is a pun I used to give my impression of the marathon-like excess of this thread.

I would like to personally thank Max Dimario and Johnny B for their hypervigilance and immediate response to rebuke the notion that 21 pages of regurgitated retoric, opining inconclusively about and fetishizing all things discrete might be characterized as moronic.

carry on...



Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: t(h)ik on July 21, 2005, 01:21:28 pm
All the world's a moron-a-thon

We are merely players

Retards and purveyors

Each the other's idiot

Outside the rusty cage

<you know the bassline from here>
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on July 21, 2005, 01:26:05 pm
It's fact that different era's of equipment effect the sound of recordings. It's irreversible and unchangable, so get used to it.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: John Ivan on July 21, 2005, 01:58:46 pm
I haven't read the whole thread but I will,,

The thread title it's self though is just crazy IMO. When I think of what may or may not be killing music, there is a huge huge list of stuff that comes to mind and almost none of it has anything to do what so ever with which pile of shit someone picks up to record with.

To me, the human stuff means way way more. I'll go back to this Idea, that we are all sick of but makes a ton of sense.

The right Guy/Gal can make an absolutely astoundingly magnificent recording with a Roland 2480 and a pile of china mics. Period. Another guy/gal can make an un-listenable pile of garbage on the finest recording rig that has ever existed. Period..

Having said all that, I agree that in many cases, class A designs of old have a wonderfully clear and pretty sound. I was over to a friends place here in Lansing the other week and he was getting a session together. The drums were coming up through his 80??? Neve mixer and his big monitors and when he faded the over heads up, I about fell out of my chair. A pair of C-12's through that neve and those monitors is just amazing to me..


SO WHAT!! I can't afford to work like that very often so I need to make things sound as good as I can without it. Thankfully, when I'm moved by a piece of music, the audio amps it went through is the last thing I think of.

People are killing music Not IC's.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Johnny B on July 21, 2005, 02:09:41 pm
zmix wrote on Thu, 21 July 2005 18:09

 I would like to personally thank [a few posters] for their hypervigilance and immediate response to rebuke the notion that 21 pages of regurgitated retoric, opining inconclusively about and fetishizing all things discrete might be characterized as moronic.



Zmix, you gave me the best good laugh I had today.

Thanks for the wit and good humor about all this. Smile

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on July 21, 2005, 05:18:29 pm
I find the observations about IC's interesting. And desks (pre '77 or so) not containing them is noteworthy as well. Must suss this out.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario on July 22, 2005, 01:52:14 am
Quote:

I would like to personally thank Max Dimario and Johnny B for their hypervigilance and immediate response to rebuke the notion that 21 pages of regurgitated retoric, opining inconclusively about and fetishizing all things discrete might be characterized as moronic.



The whole point is NOT to take this issue lightly, as you do.

There is no fetishing involved. Discrete is just a word to those who haven't the technical backround to understand..What it stands for translated in non-technical terms is a more natural, lively-er and realistic sound.

.. to say that somebody can record a masterpiece with $99 chinese mics and a budget workstation says something about the general lack of understanding and concern for quality,that is quite plainly reflected in the end product. Anyone have ears here?

nothing wrong with a guy doing stuff in his home studio on budget equipment, what is wrong is seeing the best artists captured on similar equipment.

What's the use of the whole pro-audio studio business, if the studios sound no better than a home studio?  In the long run people wisen up..

once upon a time studios had the best technology available, with skilled technicians just to keep it in 'tune', like a custom race car. Too expensive and too much need for know-how for a home studio. Think about the difference.

There used to be a distinct advantage in recording at a pro facility, not only for the room.

zmix if you want the thread to die off, I would say that the best thing to do is not to add to it.

This IC thread is really all about QUALITY.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Johnny B on July 22, 2005, 10:24:41 am
Here, here.

"Sound Quality" is all that counts.

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zmix on July 22, 2005, 11:36:46 am
Max,
I don't care if this thread continues until it takes up 6Tb, I think it's great Laughing .

I do want to ask you to clarify by example what your point is. As far as I can tell your opinion is that the IC is universally bad, but please illustrate what exactly you are doing to work around this? For example, please tell us the signal path of the last 10 vocal sessions you've tracked, (or guitar or whatever you feel most strongly about) so that I can get an idea of what you've discovered that makes you feel so strongly. Also, please send some links to those records so that we can really understand what a difference there is.

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: maxdimario on July 22, 2005, 02:46:59 pm
I usually use my custom tube pre-amp made with ef12's and V-series transformers and chokes or a refurbished V77 or V72 with an LA-2A clone I built with UTC ha-100x and A24 transformers and a telectronix optical attenuator, since replacing 40 year old caps seems to be a no-no amongst recording 'engineers' and you lose market value.

for mics I use a U67 with original 1967 capsule, no re-skin, replaced electrolityic coupling capacitor etc. or (my favourite)a custom U47 clone which uses a 50's telefunken early high-capacitance type M7 re-skinned a couple of years ago by Geffel with a PVC membrane. Again, this is because when comparing my current mic with the originals , I felt obliged to mod them and re-skin them anyway and I don't feel like losing the value or tampering with a vintage item.

I now also use an sm58 sometimes for more rhythmic vocals such as in dance or rock etc.

For guitars I use sm57, 4038, d12, and 77 U67 U47 anything really.

AS LONG AS THERE ARE NO IC's in the guitar amp or the mic pre or the board.


I also did a nice comparison between a refurbished v76 Studio version I got, which is the dirty-est of the german tube preamps because of the 4 tubes and electrolytic capacitor coupling throughout and it smokes IC based focusrite, on noise, clarity top end you name it.

The best solid state stuff is the early german stuff (not neumann).

I like api better than IC's but the german amps are more natural.

I think for a working recording studio an all-tube console would be just too huge, and would not transfer well to most of the modern types of arrangements which grew up on solid state.

so discrete transistor is the ideal, all arounder.

but if you do stuff on small scale, and use few mics tube is still best.

As far as converters, my personal converters are RME with a modified analog section.

I prefer prism to apogee. Never heard Lavry although I am told by a friend with good ears (who can hear the difference between IC's and audio electronics) that they are very good and close to analog resolution.

My fave tape machine is the studer 16 track with no IC's or dynamic bias, although I remember the sound of an old ampex 16 track that I liked too but it was a bit 'ringy' sounding.

Sure you may want to automate everything, eq it, compress it etc. but if the end result sounds distorted and lifeless?


It's the great artists and musicians that make up 90% of a perfect mix, not the mixing engineer.


So if there is one thing an engineer should always do is not fuck up the signal path.

A singer can control breathing and tone, so you don't need to ride too much. Musicians can balance themselves and bring good musical instruments in.

The only thing that the band has no control over and the engineer should not fuck up is the SIGNAL PATH.

especially when tracking.

So that's my ideal path.


But I could be using anything really, it doesn't make a difference what I use.

What makes a difference is when the people who record real artists use cheap IC's to fix the perfomance forever on tape, and seemingly don't care or can't hear the difference.

Success hides a multitude of sins, they say.




Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zmix on July 22, 2005, 04:36:03 pm
What about the rest of the question, max? I can't find any records with your name on them at www.allmusic.com. I'd like to hear this modded 47 and the LA-2 clone on a vocal.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on July 22, 2005, 07:17:33 pm
You never heard a modded 47 thru an LA-2?
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zmix on July 23, 2005, 03:38:31 am
duh... Razz
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on July 23, 2005, 01:59:34 pm
Maybe you could get the electronics of a 149 put in yours.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: wonderlandaudio on July 23, 2005, 02:49:45 pm
Did you know some Neve 8078 have all-discrete modules and IC- based modules ? ( Due to interchangeability of cards ?
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: wwittman on July 23, 2005, 02:59:47 pm
wonderlandaudio wrote on Sat, 23 July 2005 14:49

Did you know some Neve 8078 have all-discrete modules and IC- based modules ? ( Due to interchangeability of cards ?


didn't I already say that?

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: vernier on July 23, 2005, 03:30:20 pm
Ditched tubes for transistors, then embraced IC's. New new new.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: aamicrophones on February 23, 2009, 04:30:21 pm
Probably ever single A/D converter on the planet as they all use IC's.

Again, Willy Studer used IC's in the A80 and it sounded very good but look how he used them.  He limited the amount of feedback and used them feed a pair of Class A/B discrete transistor that drive the output transformer.

Tube circuits also use feedback.   We removed the feedback in the front end of tube microphone circuit to make it more linear which is quite possible with the cathode follower buffer circuit.

Cheers, Dave
www.aamicrophones.com

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: garret on February 23, 2009, 10:54:41 pm
Oh no.. this thread got bumped.  Can we unbump it?

Is there a way to put the jack back in the box?

Didn't Mr. Obama say something about this being the time when we set aside childish things?  I vote "childish" on this thread.

Hey, anyone hear any good songs lately?
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: compasspnt on February 23, 2009, 11:10:18 pm
garret wrote on Mon, 23 February 2009 22:54

Hey, anyone hear any good songs lately?



I might have, if IC's hadn't killed all of them.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zmix on February 24, 2009, 06:32:10 pm
Wait wait wait wait....


I know about "Mr. Yuk":

http://tbn1.google.com/images?q=tbn:Pwa15zde4VBd7M::http://www.asmalldoseof.org/historyoftox/1970-2006/Mr.YUK2.jpg

But what are these "ICs" (pronounced "Ick")?

Are these "ICs" = Home Taping?

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/bc/Home_taping_is_killing_music.png

or are these so called "ICs"  = Illegal downloading?


http://www.gothtronic.com/Goth/data/Articles/DOWNLOADING_KILLING.jpg
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Tomas Danko on February 25, 2009, 06:10:42 am
Let's add some more then, shall we.

http://funny.williepedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/downloading_communism.jpg
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zmix on February 26, 2009, 01:25:37 am
Are there "ICs" in communism, too?

Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: garret on February 26, 2009, 03:14:14 am
zmix wrote on Thu, 26 February 2009 00:25


Are there "ICs" in communism, too?



http://www.smh.com.au/ffximage/2005/02/04/icon_topic3_feb4,0.jpg

"IC's are killing capitalism!"


Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: zmix on February 26, 2009, 08:57:49 am
Fight the REAL enemy:


http://bigearflux.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/gdfghdfghdfghfghkilling_music.jpg
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: compasspnt on February 26, 2009, 09:25:18 am
O, I C.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Larrchild on March 05, 2009, 10:43:20 pm
index.php/fa/11548/0/
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Andrew Hamilton on March 11, 2009, 01:50:02 am
Here's what Dan Lavry posted on his own web site 3 years ago:

"The Opamp approach has some advantages over discrete. The component matching capability is great, and one can match more then 2 devices, you can match dozens. Also, the ability to have everything packaged in a tiny area makes all the devices operate at the same temperature which further help greatly.

But Opams have their limitations as well, compared to discrete circuits. First, there are no inductors. Second, the capacitors used in the silicone are limited to very small values (the area is tiny). The caps are also limited in the type of material (fro example, no film type caps and so on…) Last but not least, most opamps are designed for relatively low current, thus limiting the applications when very high current is required. The same is true for voltage. Let me note that some companies specialize in manufacturing high voltage and current devices…

Some of the shortcomings of the opamps are overcome by using them with external parts. Often there are compensation pins on an opamp, enabling the designer to “continue” and “complete” the circuit inside the silicon with external parts. Often a designer can extend the usability of an opamp by use of external parts to cover high voltage, current and power applications, improve the input circuitry and so on…

But at the end of the day, the opamp is a repackaging job, and any comments against an opamp should be viewed as such. I am not for or against opamps. It is just one more part type, and one can and should use it were it makes sense. And one should not use it where it does not make sense. I would not “judge” the quality of a piece of gear based on use (or lack of use) of amps."





Andrew
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: MDM, on March 23, 2009, 07:23:57 am
an opamp is not a repackaging job..

it is a miniaturization...job... with all the shortcomings you would expect from it.

as Dan Lavry mentioned, they are easy to use also because they do not need expensive selection.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Andrew Hamilton on March 26, 2009, 01:56:30 am
MDM, wrote on Mon, 23 March 2009 07:23

an opamp is not a repackaging job..

it is a miniaturization...job... with all the shortcomings you would expect from it.
...


...and some ancillary benefits to the diminutive size, as well!  Don't just throw a baby out with the bathwater. Smaller is better because it is more portable and takes up less space. As mentioned in the quote, the very nature of the silicon chip enables a high level of uniformity to its electrical and thermal properties.  The drawsback to ICs, which he does cite, can be worked around, and this extra effort (say, adding larger parts to the build-out pins) is worth while because of the low cost and various conveniences (thermal, spatial, and precise) of using little ICs for the sections that benefit from them (or are immune to their erstwhile drawsback).  




Andrew    
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: MDM, on March 31, 2009, 06:46:53 am
I think thermal distortion is something you want to look at.

that and the fact that IC's cannot use selected components like discrete circuits can, therefore they are designed with a lot more error-correcting circuitry than you'd need with a properly-designed purpose-built discrete circuit.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Jim Williams on May 14, 2009, 11:09:59 am
JGreenslade 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" Smile


Front end = LM394CH super matched transistor pair, in other words, an IC. It also sounds like crap, a MAT 02 or the that part is superior, pop one in your SSL 4k mix amp and report back.

It's not the arrow, it's the indian.
Title: Re: IC's kill music
Post by: Jim Williams on May 14, 2009, 11:15:40 am
MDM, wrote on Tue, 31 March 2009 03:46

I think thermal distortion is something you want to look at.

that and the fact that IC's cannot use selected components like discrete circuits can, therefore they are designed with a lot more error-correcting circuitry than you'd need with a properly-designed purpose-built discrete circuit.


You really need to talk to a chip designer. You are full of missinformation. New devices from Analog Devices are based on thermal and layout matching on a precision level not attainable with discrete components.

Can you show me a discrete opamp that does 1.6 ghz?

Can you show me a discrete that does -154 dbu THD?

Can you show me a discrete opamp that does .8 nv/hz/sq noise?