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24bit vs 16bit, the myth exploded! - Page 68

post #1006 of 1813

To set the record straight, to me, just because something was recorded in analog does not mean it is superior. It is the sum of all parts that makes it so that we have already discussed and agreed upon. Some things would quite benefit.

 

But the closer you can get to the original source is nearly always better.

post #1007 of 1813

The original source is not always analog these days.

 

However, if we were to record an orchestra using among other things a high quality A/D and into a hard-drive, do you think we would be missing anything compared to using a magnetic head and into tape?

post #1008 of 1813
Quote:
Originally Posted by ultrabike View Post

The original source is not always analog these days.

 

However, if we were to record an orchestra using among other things a high quality A/D and into a hard-drive, do you think we would be missing anything compared to using a magnetic head and into tape?


Good question. Of course it might depend on quality of converters vs tape machine and/or tape used. There are even different ways to bias and emphasis eq the same tape formula, but lets not discuss this. You are asking about the very essence or basics of analog vs. digital mediums in the recording and playback format.

 

I have a hard time saying no, but when you say yes, then you have to beg the question "what would be missing?" I think there would at least be some loss I think, but it is still extremely subtle.

 

Of course you also have to figure in the coloration that the tape adds. Some say those that don't like digital and cling to analog prefer the imperfect coloration of analog. To me, there are advantages to both.

 

Don't get me wrong, I don't thing digital is the devil and it is so terrible and analog reigns supreme. I do however find issues with those that claim there is no difference at all. That human perception can't tell. That SACD's and CD's or MP3's sound the same. Or that a $50 audio card can sound as good as a professional A/D  converter.

 

I do know there is much smoke in mirrors in the audio world. More than any other industry. It comes from misunderstanding and placebo perceptions. I am aware. Not all of us have the same taste buds, not all of us have the same exact ears.

 

The whole reason 24-bit or higher sampling rates were even invented is for scientific reasons of more accurate representation of the input signal vs. output without any fancy tricks with D/A conversion. But I do understand the basis of the article. "Can we actually perceive these differences sonically and without bias?" Hard to say. I am in the it does matter camp. You may not and that is fine. I do however believe it does not matter as much as some say, but a difference is a difference no matter how small.

post #1009 of 1813

sure, hi rez ADC of mic feed misses lots compared to tape: hiss, 3rd order saturation distortion, stick-slip/judder mechanical tape motion causing FM distortion, high and low frequency amplitude errors "head bump", aperture and azimuth error, print through, "bits" falling off the tape gumming up the machine, wearing down the head...

 

... then play back the tape on a different machine than used for the recording, or just some time later on the same machine - have to recalibrate the playback for speed, head azimuth, could choose wrong bias


Edited by jcx - 12/19/12 at 2:30pm
post #1010 of 1813

I do believe there are trade-offs. I see this more clearly in digital than analog because that's what I know best. But from the limited knowledge I have in analog, I know there are very real limitations there too.

post #1011 of 1813

rtaylor76, care to answer what parts of the article on xiph.org made you laugh? And could you please name 24-bit tracks where you heard a difference to the 16-bit versions? Thanks.

post #1012 of 1813
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcx View Post

sure, hi rez ADC of mic feed misses lots compared to tape: hiss, 3rd order saturation distortion, stick-slip/judder mechanical tape motion causing FM distortion, high and low frequency amplitude errors "head bump", aperture and azimuth error, print through, "bits" falling off the tape gumming up the machine, wearing down the head...

 

... then play back the tape on a different machine than used for the recording, or just some time later on the same machine - have to recalibrate the playback for speed, head azimuth, could choose wrong bias


Don't forget wow and flutter, head alignment, alignment in general, saturation and hysteresis, head magnetization, print through, adjacent track bleed, quality of tape and domains...yeah, lots of problems.

post #1013 of 1813
Quote:
Originally Posted by rtaylor76 View Post


I do however find issues with those that claim there is no difference at all. That human perception can't tell. That SACD's and CD's or MP3's sound the same. Or that a $50 audio card can sound as good as a professional A/D  converter.

Have you done a controlled test to determine whether any of that is the case or not? (I have.)

I believe the most important specification is the limits of human perception. There are too many audible issues to deal with to waste time on inaudible ones. Recording is a business like any other. You want to produce the best product you can with the least wasted effort. Every minute that passes in studio costs money.
Edited by bigshot - 12/19/12 at 4:52pm
post #1014 of 1813
Quote:
Originally Posted by ultrabike View Post

However, if we were to record an orchestra using among other things a high quality A/D and into a hard-drive, do you think we would be missing anything compared to using a magnetic head and into tape?

The main thing you'd be missing would be tape hiss.
post #1015 of 1813
Yes. More than once. Sometimes there was little differences in converters, sometimes it was obvious (like in the case with the RME). I still think spending twice ore three times that might get a better converter, but not twice the quality. The differences in format or converter are extremely subtle. You have to listen closely, but you can pick up on it. It is not quite as obvious as different mics or different mic pre amps.
post #1016 of 1813
Have you compared different levels of consumer playback equipment?
post #1017 of 1813

With the 4-track tape (granted, I've only a very short listen for comparison, but very good locally made equipment, Soviet era), the readily noticeable artifact was reduced stereo separation. This cannot be avoided, as there's bleed through tape substrate between the tracks. It's quite audible, somewhat more than between various amplifiers.

 

This alone is enough to render any listen with the tape non-blind.

post #1018 of 1813
That's probably head mis-alignment.
post #1019 of 1813

Reminds me of the time I was contemplating a new road bike... The sales person was telling me how aero dynamic one of the models was (which incidentally cost almost double of a similarly specced other model). I was yeah... it looks good, probably will help me get to work / home that bit faster... Until my wife whispered to me "But YOU're not aero-dynamic" >..<

 

The point is, why bother stopping people with the money and the ears that can hear the difference? Good for you if you can. As for me, I'm putting my money to better use elsewhere... on things that make obvious differences without me having to close my eyes and meditate like a monk in order to discern the difference in quality. Like getting myself into a more aero-dynamic shape :D

post #1020 of 1813
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post

rtaylor76, care to answer what parts of the article on xiph.org made you laugh? And could you please name 24-bit tracks where you heard a difference to the 16-bit versions? Thanks.


Ok ok. Fair. I need some more samples, but I cannot say that I was always over 50%. I will say that with a better headphone amp my accuracy improved dramatically to 60-70%. (I am not surprised of this as it took this same cmoy headphone amp with good headphones to really hear how bad some of my AAC files from iTunes really sounded when I was completely happy with equipment I had before). And that was straight out of my computer with headphones. It is also more difficult on a mac since it sets a global sample rate. I need to do it on a PC.

 

I would describe the sound as a more narrow soundstage and more lacking in things like reverb cues. Also, 16-bit versions were lacking in impact. Likely due to a loss in dynamic range. All that said, it was much more subtle than I thought. I had to really concentrate. It will drive you crazy. I can see better the reasons for these articles. What your brain is not focusing on does not matter and we accept what it has given to is and most of the time 16/44.1 is damn good enough for those things. Especially with the limitations of our equipment. However, I still can't subscribe that 16/44.1 should always be used or 24/96 is pointless. There was a bit more there. Mind you, it was not in proportion to the file size, but there was a bit more. The tests I used were orchestral recordings and some single instruments. I need to do more tests with some other material and with a system that can change sample rates instead of upsampling. 

 

I know that people like Ethan Winer and others have brought things to the table that need to be discussed. There are many myths out there that need to be busted. Things like power cords, computer cords, etc. There is a lot of voodoo in cables by itself. There are common myths all the way to other planet. Most of the myths have little to no merit and very little research and support. I however do take issue with the fact that pro's only use pro gear simply because it won't break down is not the case. The pro recording industry is built on what everybody else is using anyway. Some gear sounds similar, some of it is way off. Some consumer gear is decent, some pro gear is way overpriced. Some consumer gear (Bose) is way overpriced, some pro gear is not that much better than simi-pro gear. This isn't a discussion about gear, it's about format. 

 

I would just say that both scientifically and sonically, there is more information in 24-bit/96k. Whether that makes a difference to you depends on many factors. I guess I still in the does matter camp, but maybe not as much as I was. It certainly wasn't as "wow" as I thought it was going to be.

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