|Originally posted by kelly
Solid state equipment is not, by its nature, necessarily cold nor accurate.
I'm not certain whether you're speaking to Scrypt or not. If you are, allow me to point out that he didn't suggest solid state was necessarily "cold" or "accurate."
|Tube equipment is not, by its nature, necessarily warm nor "more colored."
That depends entirely on who is speaking. Right now, I'm speaking: I'm a studio musician who doesn't simply believe in objective audio data. I'm an empiricist, as are most of the people I've worked with. So are most of the people on Head-fi, of course.
I do happen to find decent tube equipment to be warm or colored in character. Objectively, it's difficult to say whether this is to be taken as better or worse unless the person who formulates the thought equates coloration with a better or worse audio experience in and of itself. I don't. I've been a studio musician for decades and have experienced the difference when tracking (guys in studios do these tests constantly, and it's always about what sounds best to them) and I must say, in my view, a bit of calculated distortion can improve the sound of all kinds of music -- classical music and all the rest of it -- if used intelligently.
If I use the word "warm" to describe the sound classic producers like Phil Spector sought when they consciously pushed an analog signal into the red (which is the sound of "You've Lost that Lovin' Feelin'" and "Be My Baby" -- I'm in a unique position to understand this, since my primary studio gig in '89 was having to reproduce those recordings exactly, which meant finding close to the original gear and hiring real orchestral players (and the parent company, Daiichi Kosho, paid our studio a million bucks a year to do it)), that's because I've come to identify the sound that way as a matter of convenience, as have many people I've worked with. We're not trying to find an objective truth, we're just looking for common language to describe a sound we like.
Personally, I don't use the phrase "more air" to describe ATRAC-R, as do many on this list: the phrase means nothing to me when applied to an MDR. But that doesn't matter, because it means something to the people who describe it that way, and who am I to tell them to hear things differently (or you to tell me) when the truth is they hear what they hear?
|Many intelligent people think many things that are not true and that many otherwise intelligent people believe such myths does not make them less mythological.
I don't think we're discussing truth or myths. What we're discussing is simply taste. And in my view, a fuller range of sonic pleasure is available to me when I combine solid state and tube resources in a way that combines the virtues of both. If we were discussing science, perhaps the criteria would need to be defined more carefully.
Really, the majority of engineers do speak of superior tube gear as having beautiful warmth and color. And that does mean something, because it's how they perceive what they're recording and they're the people who record what you listen to -- so perhaps it's useful to understand what they're trying to do. In the case of recording (not audiophile situations, because studio recording is all I really know about; I don't pretend to be an expert in the audiophile arena), the difference has to do with how information is captured before it reaches the digital domain (if that's where you're going -- some people stay analog). Personally, when I'm trying to get a natural but raucous sound, I prefer to capture the sound via analog tape using tube and solid state equipment and then send it to Protools or Digital Performer or whatever. If I'm recording a string quartet, I might want to skip the analog tape but use the same tube/solid state combination. If I want something murky on purpose, perhaps I'll experiment with a tube-tube situation. If I want something pinched and chintzy and fun or massive and dead, I'll toy with Reaktor software and similar tools and stay digital. But if two pieces of solid state gear happened to sound good for a part, then I'd use them together. But in the main, I prefer the combination of tube and solid state.
That doesn't mean I'm perpetuating "myths." It simply means I'm being true to what I like. A lot of engineers and musicians happen to swear by the tube/solid state combination. It's really a question of taste and experience. I'd wager that others on this thread can appreciate why I'd use words like warm, pristine and murky to describe differences in sound: There's no such thing as a flat signal in the ultimate sense.