Jitter for duffers

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MajorFubar said:
I'd say it's a dead cert that any LP you buy new today is sourced from a digital file. The only exception might be some specialist release that's making a deliberate song and dance about being cut at the end of an all analogue chain. Though I can't think of one off hand.
Foo Fighters’ Wasting Light, just off the top of my head.
 

nopiano

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MajorFubar said:
nopiano said:
Today, it’s harder than ever to know what you’re buying if you buy new records, download or stream. At least in the 1960s and ‘70s it was clear!
I'd say it's a dead cert that any LP you buy new today is sourced from a digital file. The only exception might be some specialist release that's making a deliberate song and dance about being cut at the end of an all analogue chain. Though I can't think of one off hand.
Ha, yes, I suppose that’s true. So I’m not sure why you would?!
 

Blacksabbath25

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nopiano said:
MajorFubar said:
BigH said:
there is a interesting article by Noel Summerville about how hard it is to produce an all analogue record, he had to do it once for someone. Many people think when they are buying vinyl they are getting pure analogue. Many recent lps don't even seem to have been remastered from the cd master
It doesn't even enter their heads that many records for the last 40 years have either been cut from a digital master tape or an analogue master tape fed through a digital delay line (DDL). Digital delay lines were a Godsend because they reduced the number of wasted lacquers and the time taken to cut another. But as consequence it meant the lacquer was cut from a signal which had passed through both an ADC and a DAC on the way to the cutting head.

I wonder how many records cut from either a digital master or through a DDL were purchased by the staunch anti-digital brigade who steadfastly refused to be seen dead with anything digital.
Indeed, and this is one reason why I’ve kept my LPs from the pre-CD era, a few late ones only being from digital masters. I like the idea of true analogue LP replay from its day, just as DDD CD replay makes sense.

Quite a few great analogue era masters have been salvaged or given new life thanks the popularity of CD for so many years. This applies particularly for ‘classical’ music where restored shellac 78s and other historic material has been brilliantly remastered using modern digital techniques.

Today, it’s harder than ever to know what you’re buying if you buy new records, download or stream. At least in the 1960s and ‘70s it was clear!
I would say vinyl was far better 30 or 40 years ago but modern vinyl of today is just a digital copy just like CDs I mean it’s still mixed the same way in the recording studio as they do not have a separate studio just for vinyl recordings *blum3*

I understand why people like vinyl but they are basically spending loads of money on modern vinyl just to make it sound like cd but with old vinyl that’s where you would see nice big dynamic sound where CDs can lack a little against old vinyl .
 

MajorFubar

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davidf said:
Foo Fighters’ Wasting Light, just off the top of my head.
It was tracked and mixed on analogue tape machines but I've no idea if it passed through a DDL on its way to the cutting head. Depends who they got to cut the lacquer. They may well have recorded and mixed it all in Dave Grohl's garage, but even bands with elaborate home studios rarely cut their own lacquers. I'm sure one band somewhere will, just to be the exception.
 
MajorFubar said:
davidf said:
Foo Fighters’ Wasting Light, just off the top of my head.
It was tracked and mixed on analogue tape machines but I've no idea if it passed through a DDL on its way to the cutting head. Depends who they got to cut the lacquer. They may well have recorded and mixed it all in Dave Grohl's garage, but even bands with elaborate home studios rarely cut their own lacquers. I'm sure one band somewhere will, just to be the exception.
I couldn’t tell you that either. All I know is that it was recorded and mixed analogue, and that the CD was noticeably compressed compared to the vinyl release.
 

MajorFubar

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davidf said:
I couldn’t tell you that either. All I know is that it was recorded and mixed analogue, and that the CD was noticeably compressed compared to the vinyl release.
Yeah too many are. On a format that gives us a 90dB signal to noise ratio. Would be funny if it wasn't so tragic.
 

iMark

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rainsoothe said:
Many vynil enthusiasts acknowledge that digital is more accurate on paper, but they prefer the distortion vynil brings. Also, as I said in another post, live music, more often than not, is distorted as hell, there is no 3d soundstage or instrument separation etc - so one could make the point that digital is too forensic to properly reproduce the feeling of live music.
These are all myths. Recording sound has always been about limiting noise and distortion. In the 1970's tape recording equipment was so good that it couldn't get much better. But there was still tape hiss and there were other limitations. That led to the push to produce better and noise free recording equipment.

Do vinyl lovers really want distortion when they listen to music? I have hundreds of classical LPs from the 1960's to 1980's. And they sound nice on our system, better than on any system my parents had. But I still get annoyed by scratches, noise and sometimes even tape hiss from the original recording. When I listen to the same recordings on a well mastered CD I marvel at how well these older recordings can sound and how revealing the digital playback is compared to the original LP. When I listen to classical music I want to hear music, not distortion.
 

iMark

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Blacksabbath25 said:
I would say vinyl was far better 30 or 40 years ago but modern vinyl of today is just a digital copy just like CDs I mean it’s still mixed the same way in the recording studio as they do not have a separate studio just for vinyl recordings *blum3*

I understand why people like vinyl but they are basically spending loads of money on modern vinyl just to make it sound like cd but with old vinyl that’s where you would see nice big dynamic sound where CDs can lack a little against old vinyl .
I'm not so sure that vinyl was much better 40 years ago. There were some terrible pressings back then. LPs were also a cheap mass medium back then and not as much care was taken in the production of them as there is now in the limited pressing runs.

One of our reasons to occasionally buy new vinyl is that when a different master has been used to cut the LP. A lot of modern CD suffer from the loudness wars. It could even be ploy to make CDs sound particularly bad compared to the LP of the same album in order to get people to spend an incredible amount of money on album. It's almost the reverse of the 1980s when you had to pay premium prices for CDs and LPs were cheap.

But the best argument is that I can't think of any classical music lovers who'd swap their pristine sounding CDs for LPs. CDs (or other digital sound reproduction) don't suffer from wear and will sound as new 30 or 40 years later.
 

andyjm

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chebby said:
I was fortunate enough to work on the periphery of this group in the early 80s - BBC Designs. Research at Kingswood Warren did the fundamental research and Designs at Western House designed the equipment on the basis of the research.

This jitter paper is widely quoted, but does need a few caveats. The BBC weren't in the business of producing the pinacle of audio fidelity, they needed to provide a good quality service to the masses. 35nS rms is the threshold that they sugest, but this is the point that 5% of the audience would be able to detect it (so arguably detectable by golden ear hifi enthusiasts). The FM PCM system at the time was 13bits with a 15KHz cutoff, so possibly the source material these days would be more revealing as well.

There have been later studies that suggest the detectability threshold is actually in the 100s of picoseconds for the worst type of correlated jitter.

Just an observation, some excellent work was done by BBC research. It is a shame that the BBC don't support fundamental research in the way that they used to. Designs merged with Research in the 90s, and Kingswood Warren was flogged by the BBC in 2010 and turned into flats. I don't know if the remains of the group still survives.
 

andyjm

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The point that is missed by the analogue vs digital comparisons above is that a digital copy is perfect, an analogue copy will always be worse. This really matters when an analogue signal is cascaded through mutliple pieces of equipment, transmission mediums, mixing, recordings and so on. The signal gets worse with each step.

It is an open question whether the original digital mix was any good, but you do get to listen to exactly the same (compressed?) data that left the recording studio.
 

chebby

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andyjm said:
chebby said:
I was fortunate enough to work on the periphery of this group in the early 80s - BBC Designs. Research at Kingswood Warren did the fundamental research and Designs at Western House designed the equipment on the basis of the research.
The latest nationwide update/upgrade of the FM (digital) distribution system back in November 2015 ...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/blog/2016-01-35-million-people-didnt-notice-a-thing-dot-dot-dot

... it shows that substantial r&d and infrastructure investment was still going into FM even recently. (Bearing in mind this had to be installed at 220 transmitter sites.) It also seems to suggest that FM still has a future (and the LW economy seven signals too).
 

CnoEvil

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"Duffers" is a great word and often used by my Father to (accurately) describe my ability to play Golf.

Keep up the good work....and thank you for bringing this word back into use - and for your technical simplification (not that I won't continue to be a "Digital Duffer").
 

andyjm

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steve_1979 said:
MajorFubar said:
davidf said:
Foo Fighters’ Wasting Light, just off the top of my head.
It was tracked and mixed on analogue tape machines but I've no idea if it passed through a DDL on its way to the cutting head. Depends who they got to cut the lacquer. They may well have recorded and mixed it all in Dave Grohl's garage, but even bands with elaborate home studios rarely cut their own lacquers. I'm sure one band somewhere will, just to be the exception.
Dave Grohl owns an analogue mixing console (see the movie Sound City for more info) and he still uses it. I think a few of the Foo Fighters newer songs can be bought on vinyl and have never been through a digital process at any stage.

It's an interesting idea. He says digital is better in so many ways but doing it in an analogue can be better for the creative process. It forces you to make choices and get it right when recording and mixing the music because you know jou can't just 'fix it' later on with a computer. He says that there are many pros to making music using modern digital equipment but it makes you lazy as an artist and he thinks that you can get better results if it's done in analogue because you have to approach the music creation proccess differently.

If you haven't seen the movie Sound City it's worth a watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQoOfiLz1G4
As was pointed out above, there is an awful lot of mangling that needs to be done to the 'master' to produce a 'cutting master' used to drive a vinyl LP lathe cutter. Digital delay lines were used from the 80's onwards, so it is very likely that your vinyl record has been digital for at least part of its journey. It is always possible that the Foo Fighters managed to find a firm who could cut without a digital step in the chain, but I would guess they are few and far between.
 

ellisdj

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Andrewjvt said:
MajorFubar said:
chebby said:
Yeah I always smile at the simpletons who think all this stuff is new.
There is nothing quite as good sounding as pure, clean, usb isolated, triple linear powered digital signal.

Even better when you place your dac ontop of speaker isolation products.

Can even change the original recording to conquer the loudness wars, I believe.

Takes a ruthlessly revealing system and makes it less so apparently.
it is easy demonstratable as well Andrew you forgot that bit
 

MajorFubar

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steve_1979 said:
It's an interesting idea. He says digital is better in so many ways but doing it in an analogue can be better for the creative process. It forces you to make choices and get it right when recording and mixing the music because you know jou can't just 'fix it' later on with a computer. He says that there are many pros to making music using modern digital equipment but it makes you lazy as an artist and he thinks that you can get better results if it's done in analogue because you have to approach the music creation proccess differently.

If you haven't seen the movie Sound City it's worth a watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQoOfiLz1G4
Cheers, will watch that. Reminds me of an amateur musician I follow on YouTube who still records all his music on a Tascam four-track. He quotes similar reasons: the limitations hone one's ability as a musician, and force you to make certain choices before you even record your first track. It was good enough for bands like the Beatles for most of their career.
 

Webern

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iMark said:
Blacksabbath25 said:
I would say vinyl was far better 30 or 40 years ago but modern vinyl of today is just a digital copy just like CDs I mean it’s still mixed the same way in the recording studio as they do not have a separate studio just for vinyl recordings *blum3*

I understand why people like vinyl but they are basically spending loads of money on modern vinyl just to make it sound like cd but with old vinyl that’s where you would see nice big dynamic sound where CDs can lack a little against old vinyl .
I'm not so sure that vinyl was much better 40 years ago. There were some terrible pressings back then. LPs were also a cheap mass medium back then and not as much care was taken in the production of them as there is now in the limited pressing runs.

One of our reasons to occasionally buy new vinyl is that when a different master has been used to cut the LP. A lot of modern CD suffer from the loudness wars. It could even be ploy to make CDs sound particularly bad compared to the LP of the same album in order to get people to spend an incredible amount of money on album. It's almost the reverse of the 1980s when you had to pay premium prices for CDs and LPs were cheap.

But the best argument is that I can't think of any classical music lovers who'd swap their pristine sounding CDs for LPs. CDs (or other digital sound reproduction) don't suffer from wear and will sound as new 30 or 40 years later.
+1 for all of that. I loved my old classical LPs and I sometimes miss having the big sleeve notes, but there is no way I would ever go back to them from CD. I have CDs from the 1980s that still play perfectly and sound as fresh as ever.
 

MajorFubar

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I remember looking round record stores in 1984ish at these new-fangled CD things. I was about 14 at the time. The huge majority by a country mile were classical. Classical enthusiasts had been first to jump ship, and for good reason. That would change a year later when Brothers In Arms was released. By the end of 1985, that one album alone accounted for over 50% of the total number CDs sold to date, no doubt buoyed by the Christmas market. Whether you like Dire Straits or not, BIA was a landmark album for CD sales, and for many people buying their first CD player in 1985-1986, it will have been their very first CD.
 

steve_1979

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MajorFubar said:
davidf said:
Foo Fighters’ Wasting Light, just off the top of my head.
It was tracked and mixed on analogue tape machines but I've no idea if it passed through a DDL on its way to the cutting head. Depends who they got to cut the lacquer. They may well have recorded and mixed it all in Dave Grohl's garage, but even bands with elaborate home studios rarely cut their own lacquers. I'm sure one band somewhere will, just to be the exception.
Dave Grohl owns an analogue mixing console (see the documentary Sound City for more info) and he still uses it. I think a few of the Foo Fighters newer songs can be bought on vinyl and have never been through a digital process at any stage.

It's an interesting idea. He says digital is better in so many ways but doing it in an analogue can be better for the creative process. It forces you to make choices and get it right when recording and mixing because you know you can't just 'fix it' later on with a computer. He says that despite the benefits modern digital equipment give it also makes you lazy as an artist and he thinks that you can get better results if it's done in analogue because you have to approach the music creation proccess differently.

If you haven't seen the movie Sound City it's worth a watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQoOfiLz1G4
 

steve_1979

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MajorFubar said:
Cheers, will watch that...
It's a really interesting documentary. The album they make has some good songs too (although most of it isn't to my taste). The best track IMO is the one they did with Stevie Nicks. Not half bad for a 64 year old eh?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEDoG2-0yMs
 

steve_1979

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andyjm said:
As was pointed out above, there is an awful lot of mangling that needs to be done to the 'master' to produce a 'cutting master' used to drive a vinyl LP lathe cutter...
To be fair you're probably right. I just know that the Foo Fighters like to create a lot of their music in the analog domain.
 

Andrewjvt

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ellisdj said:
Andrewjvt said:
MajorFubar said:
chebby said:
Yeah I always smile at the simpletons who think all this stuff is new.
There is nothing quite as good sounding as pure, clean, usb isolated, triple linear powered digital signal.

Even better when you place your dac ontop of speaker isolation products.

Can even change the original recording to conquer the loudness wars, I believe.

Takes a ruthlessly revealing system and makes it less so apparently.
it is easy demonstratable as well Andrew you forgot that bit 
Do you mean making a recording of your KEF/amp combo sounding nice as proof that all the snake oil madness add on adds better sq?

I'm only interested if you are able to have blind testing.

Just listening and being advised or influenced on what to expect before hand is the oldest sales trick in the book.

PS what on earth are those purple things on top of the speakers?
 

DougK

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MajorFubar said:
I remember looking round record stores in 1984ish at these new-fangled CD things. I was about 14 at the time. The huge majority by a country mile were classical. Classical enthusiasts had been first to jump ship, and for good reason. That would change a year later when Brothers In Arms was released. By the end of 1985, that one album alone accounted for over 50% of the total number CDs sold to date, no doubt buoyed by the Christmas market. Whether you like Dire Straits or not, BIA was a landmark album for CD sales, and for many people buying their first CD player in 1985-1986, it will have been their very first CD.
Being, ahem, 27 in 1985 BIA was my first CD to be played on my brand spanking new CD player. Most of my classical CD collection date from around this time too, still got them all, and they are in pristine condition.
 

andyjm

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chebby said:
The latest nationwide update/upgrade of the FM (digital) distribution system back in November 2015 ...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/blog/2016-01-35-million-people-didnt-notice-a-thing-dot-dot-dot

... it shows that substantial r&d and infrastructure investment was still going into FM even recently. (Bearing in mind this had to be installed at 220 transmitter sites.) It also seems to suggest that FM still has a future (and the LW economy seven signals too).
Thanks. Interesting to see the innards of the new NICAM box. The heart seems to be a Xilinx Zynq Zedboard development board. Normally these are used to evaluate and 'play' with a device (the Xilinx Zynq in this case), prior to including it in the final design and production system. I guess in the case of the NICAM boxes they only needed a small number of units, so it was more cost effective to use the develpment board with all its redundant components than design the Zynq directly into the hardware.

The Zynq is pretty impressive. A 'system on a chip' including a FPGA with an ARM A9 processor, RAM and I/O, all on the same die. Yours for £40. I have no idea how they do it.
 

Infiniteloop

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For me, the most interesting part of this thread is the bit comparing vinyl to digital and which bits (pardon the pun) of the chain in getting the recording to playback medium matter. For me, even if part of the path in getting a signal to vinyl is digital, it doesn't matter.

IMO the important part is the point at which the sound gets created; DAC for digital and cartridge for analogue. They are obviously fundamentally different to each other as analogue relies on a physical execution.

This thread reminded me of the last listening session I had with a HiFi mate of mine, who sadly passed away a year ago. We'd been listening to some music through his newly acquired Naim DAC and amps and it was impressive (although he listened far too loudly for my taste, bless him...). After a while we switched to his LP12. A few sides later, he looked at me and said, questioningly: "I was thinking of ditching the LP12". I didn't need to say anything, and I must have raised my eyebrows. Then he said: "But I guess not".

Enough said.
 

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