Analog pure

August 24, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

Our perception of analog is one of purity.

Analog is pure.

Anything else is impure.

Only, that's never been true.

The only "pure" analog is what we hear directly from the microphone feed. Once we record that feed it has in some manner been converted to something other than the original.

No recording in the history of recording has captured analog in its pure form.

We must convert to record.

In the days of tape, we lost dynamics and frequency extremes of the analog pure because of the conversion and capture process.

In the days of direct-to-disc recordings, we added the (pleasant) compression, distortion, and loss of frequency extremes present in the original analog pure.

In the first days of digital recordings, we lost everything good about analog pure. We winced at the output.

And so we reverted back to accepting the "sound" of analog. And we mistakenly referred to it as analog pure.

Now, analog "pure" is part of the culture.

But, once recorded, it is not pure and has never been so.

The truth is that the closest we have ever gotten to analog pure is DSD. PCM can come close, but only after first being captured in DSD and later converted.

DSD (especially DSD128 through DSD256) is, to my ears, indistinguishable from the analog pure of the microphone feed.

Never in the history of recording have we been able to get so close to analog pure as we now do at Octave Studios.

We should think about readjusting our vocabulary.

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78 comments on “Analog pure”

  1. IMO correct, the only “pure” of anything analog except the direct mic feed is, that it’s free of digital and its limitations. Just as the only pure about digital is, that it’s free of analog’s limitations.

    But I’d say the thinking of analog=pure is usually not related to analog recordings or media (except that its free from digital), but to the source. Everything’s analog before it gets digitized or recorded in an analog way, that’s all.

    Probably DSD128 or 256 is the best way so far to record music from now. A real comparison would be interesting.

    With the following sentence imo you, intentionally or not, implied a few things:

    - direct to disc recordings usually were compressed
    - compression is the reason why some perceive LP’s as “more pleasant sounding”
    - records usually also inherit clearly noticeable loss of frequency extremes, making records sound more pleasant.

    I’d say nothing of this is true, some of it at least not in a way, playing a role for what we evaluate as final sound quality. What’s true imo is, that some distortion of the mechanical processes probably contribute to the typically perceived more organic (some see as “pleasant”) sound. Compression is probably more often found in digital than in analog releases.

    ———————-

    “In the days of direct-to-disc recordings, we added the (pleasant) compression, distortion, and loss of frequency extremes present in the original analog pure.”

    ————————

    1. The compressor I play my guitar thru is different than what recording studios use. If I am the only guitarist I use a compressor 100% of the time. It makes a fuller sound. Even with pole screws adjusted on the pickups to adjust for the output of different strings some strings just have wimpy output and get totally lost in the layering which is frustrating when your attacking a single note, a cool arpeggio or phrase...

      1. It’s a tough job to repeatedly correct or at least relativate many of those pro and anti marketing claims if half of what’s sold as facts is slick influencing, but I somehow have a strong aversion to breeding dogmatists of whatever camp.

        As your colleagues Sax (rip), Hoffman, Gray, Grundman and few others who are heavily into doing both digital and analog work, from what I read all still prefer analog to even DSD, I’m quite interested how they hear 4xDSD when they make serious comparisons. They could be some of the few, really interested in meaningful comparisons and they probably have the matching preconditions. But Kevin Gray just built up a new all analog, all tube mastering chain, so his interest seems to lie elsewhere…

  2. A stereo chain from the recording over the mixing and mastering to the final reproduction in the end user’s listening room is characterized by links all adding typical inherent distortions- the biggest distortions and unwanted degradation effects added by passive multi-way loudspeakers and untreated room acoustic effects. And don’t forget dirty mains power supply and RFI. The funny thing is that during the mixing a sound engineer tries to mask the audible distortions not knowing which distortions are induced by the end user’s stereo system. Thus the enduser would need the same stereo system the sound engineer has used in order to get an idea of the “best” sound quality. But there are so many sound engineers and their specific studio equipments! The situation is most bizarre: take a studio amp which produces benign harmonic distortions. Now there is an enduser who uses a typical vacuum tube amp with high levels of distortions or a near perfect class D amp. No chance to come close to the ideal sound the sound engineer wanted to create. And no, I will not start the discussion of inter-speaker crosstalk! 🙂

  3. Wow! A lot is said today. The lines drawn in the sand are turning into chasms.

    Where I might take an exception to todays talking point is with the line…” indistinguishable from the analog pure of the microphone feed.”

    That implies that the feed is “analog pure”. 100% natural - indistinguishable in all sound characteristics from the originating source. The microphones, the cables, the preamps and all the other tools used to hear the feed are sonically invisible. For part of the audio chain “the absolute sound” exists.

    The belief in having the Pyramid recording system may be akin to wearing rose color glasses.
    The exuberance is contagious, but unless everybody is going to wear the same rose color glasses eventually the true colors will appear.

    While 4xDSD and DXD are obviously good recording and mixing formats, there is much more involved in the recording process.

    Lest we forget, The format the sound is captured to is just one part of the whole.

    1. Absolutely, Mike. And we haven't even touched on the sound of microphones which is huge. That said, for the moment all we can do is use the best microphones that there are, and employ our best techniques at making sure what comes out of those microphones is captured perfectly.

      The recording chain is a long one. We're tackling it one link at a time.

      1. Please excuse the auto correct of Pyramix above. 🙂

        It’s fun to watch / hear the growth of Octave Records as things progress.

        I’m sure you’re convinced (as many others are ) of the advantages and
        merits of recording in high rate DSD and use a very acceptable format for mixing and what ever else goes on.

        What you’re doing right now is all on the recording side. So why all the fuss? The ending file can be converted to virtually any digital format or for that matter vinyl.

        What matters in audio is the end result not the route there. So keep pushing the envelope. At least digital masters won’t degrade with time.

      2. Yes, that was my first thought. Microphones are far from pure. Even with the best recording techniques, I can always tell recorded from live by the imprecisions of the microphones used. Until microphone technology reaches another level of performance, live-sounding recordings will continue to be a pipe dream.

  4. Did you forget about reel to reel? If it's not chopped up into pieces and converted to digital in which it has to be converted back to analog it would be pure analog. There's no D/A converter in a record player or a reel to reel and its not chopped up into bits and pieces thus it's continuous and pure analog.

    Having said that yes I love my CDs and my CD players but I love my records and my turntable even more. Almost all of my CDs were made on a master analog tape and transferred to CD. Thus my CDs are copies of the original. No Copy of anything can ever exceed an original which is why copies of original paintings are not worth much.

    I guess you can say copying an analog recording to another analog source is not original either but it's analog to analog and not analog to chopped up bits and back to analog.

    We need to respect that some people still love good copies of analog on a good analog playback system instead of trying to kill the industry. They tried to kill off tubes and that didn't go too good either.

    If you can hear wire to can also hear there's analog versus digital. There's a place for both in the audiophile world and since many audiophiles have large valuable analog collections there needs to be a place for turntables and tape decks.

    1. Joe, I think you're focusing too hard on the process at the expense of the results. I have worked for years on reel to reels (and we own several of the best). I can tell you without question what we have now in DSD capture is so much better. Analog reel to reel has a sound to it. We've finally moved on from it.

      Nothing in this chain sounds "digital". At this point that's a long ago ghost of the past.

      1. Paul have you ever flipped the pages of a book and you can make a movie? Everything is not all there. Digital is not all there. You can never fill the gaps and have continuous infinite sound. There will always be something missing in between the bits with digital. Air around instruments are not captured the same. Analog captures all of it even if the dynamic range isn't great. Sorry no matter how wide the dynamic range is in digital it's just an inferior copy with basic missing information of an analog signal converted to digital and back to analog because digital is not music, analog is. Real sound that we hear in real life is analog not digital. People do hear something is not natural with digital and that includes DSD. Digital will never exceed analog in musicality and reality. We should not be ditching analog, we need to make it better in the areas where digital excels. Digital excels in the non musical areas, dynamic range and is more convenient to use, that's it. Musically and closer to reality is analog because reality is analog. If someone invented continuous bit digital it would be analog, maybe that will work. A laser beam that can read analog information off an analog format.

        1. Like I said before I love my CDs. Cannot beat them for convenience. But I'm still kicking myself for selling my LPs really cheap back in the late 80's. Big mistake. LPs should be listened to once in awhile. I get digital burn out fatigue from all the digital sources and a pure analog session and experience every once in awhile is the remedy.

        2. Thanks, Joe. At what point does the page flipping or the on again off again nature become so fast that what is missing isn't discernable by us?

          You do know, of course, our brains are "digital". In that synapse are never continuous but rather fire in bursts and make and break connections on the fly. I will grant you we do not yet fully (or even close) understand how the brain actually works, but we do know it isn't continuous. Nor are our ears.

          Your argument about missing information hold water only for so long. Like a high speed video or film camera that can capture a bullet piercing a balloon (or the opposite using a slow capture method watching a plant grow)—things we as analogish humans cannot see. Both kinds of camera use your page flipping analogy yet work at such speeds they capture information we cannot see without them.

          In that example, digital is giving us more information than we can consume in the "analog" world.

          There is no missing air in the recordings I make. I can capture with the system info unavailable for capture with analog.

          1. I agree Paul, I love digital in many ways and due to the speed it's happening at I don't notice anything missing when listening to my CD's on my Philips player. However when listening to analog I also do notice something desirable.

              1. I have a nice Conrad Johnson 1 bit CD player which was a heavily modified Philips. It sounds very warm and analog like. It's not DSD but it is a 1 bit like DSD and has some of those same qualities.

              2. I'm one of those vintage Philips based CD player nuts Paul. My rare CDB630 has dual 1541A 16 bit DAC's and it has that magic. Very smooth sounding player.

  5. I suspect I am in the vast majority that accepts recorded music goes through various transformations and that's just how it is. It will never sound just like the real thing. Arguing over which method of recording is better, when the difference requires hugely expensive equipment even for there chance to hear it (if it exists) is simply pedantry.

    "Never in the history of recording have we been able to get so close to analog pure as we now do at Octave Studios."

    Hold on a second.

    DSD has been around for 20 years. Back then it was competing against 16/44 PCM and didn't get very far, and was a commercial flop.

    DSD recording was and remains more prevalent in the classical world, and in Europe (where the last remaining SACD factory exists). The Champion of DSD recording was and remains Jared Sacks, an American based in Holland who set up Channel Classics, and they continue to use it. He also set up nativeDSD.com. Amongst other things, he worked with Merging Technologies to develop the Pyramix software that Octave uses.

    The same goes for one of my favourite labels, Alia Vox, which still uses DSD and a lot of multi-channel. Their advantage is that many of their recordings are effectively live performances, sometimes in the original venue where the work was first performed hundreds of years ago. Their idea of authentic sound is how the music sounded when it was originally performed.

    You then have Linn, BIS and others who used DSD for more audiophile reasons, but have since dropped it as most audiophiles don't care anymore.

    The thing about these labels still using DSD is that they were successful labels for decades before DSD arrived, with a strong portfolio of artists and reputation for quality. So they had a popular product (and still do), irrespective of the format. They were and remained selling music, with DSD as an option.

    However, in this article from Stereophile when he launched nativeDSD.com, Jared Sacks explains that as he usually mixes live at the recording session he can keep it in DSD, but it the music requires it to be mixed, he will covert to DXD. He is not dogmatic. As he says, "The music always comes first."
    https://www.stereophile.com/content/jared-sacks-dsd-present-and-future

    1. Thanks, Steven. I will suggest my comment still stands but should not be inferred as Octave is the only ones able to do this. Of course that's not the case as you correctly point out.

      What I hoped to get across is the idea that it hasn't been very long that we have had the tools to do what we're doing with the modern DSD256 multitrack system. Yes, DSD has been around a very long time, but it wasn't until a few years ago that we were able to do more than simply DSD64.

      Jared Sachs has been (and remains) a pioneer in the field and I admire what he's done and contributed.

      1. Jared Sachs is interesting in being a classical musician who moved over to being a recording engineer and label owner, since 1984. Jordi Savall founded Alia Vox along with running three orchestras and a heavy performance schedule. https://www.alia-vox.com/en/artists/jordi-savall/ They can use DSD because they can get the mix at the recording session.

        I liked what Sachs said about not being an audiophile and the difference between an audiophile and a musical recording. The pianist may sit with their head over the hammers, but the audience don't.

    1. Yes indeed we are. And then we feel so passionate about it.....
      But the recording chain has indeed improved since say Arthur Schnabel was recorded on wire...

  6. The truth is always liberating for some, and less often not for others, I feel like a new day has arrived for the love of Audio and Music Reproduction. Just as I love old Tube Amps, because they are imperfectly amplifying music, and I can work on them with a 60W Soldering Iron, and not worry about damaging PC boards. Just as I loved my MGB's, setting their Valves, Timing and replacing Spark Plugs, Points, Condenser, then setting off Car Alarms in Shopping Centers, with my Dual Pipe Monza Exhaust System.. in idle.

  7. Okay, okay, I give in. Repeat after me “DSD is best, DSD is best”. I must confess after a few of these posts in recent days I am starting to feel slightly bashed over the head with it. I know we’re all here for the improvement of audio and chasing our dreams but need to be careful we don’t end up chasing our tails.

    When viewing a piece of art we accept and admire it for what it is, not constantly try to reshape it by adding or subtracting material, and music is art in whatever form it comes.

    So here’s an idea. Choose a day, kick back, accept our recordings as they are and just enjoy what we’re got. Good, bad or indifferent, it’s all there for our consumption and pleasure. Our hi-fi’s are a means to an end, the end being to enjoy the music.

    BTW, my interpretation of analogue ‘pure’ would be an unamplified acoustic instrument, no electronics at all.

    1. I fully agree. However “pur analogue” is a most complex process in our ear-brain system fooling us that there is an uninterrupted and not delayed flow of information. And some physicists even assume that time is quantized. A real challenge is to install a proper/pure (!) recording technique when using multiple (!) microphones and trying to avoid that an instrument or a voice bleeds into a microphone not being dedicated to this voice/instrument resulting in a most blurred sound (see: Nils Lofgren, Acoustic Live, where his guitar then is stretched from the left to the right loudspeaker when reproduced by a stereo chain.

    2. Rich,

      After a certain amount of upgrading and tweaking, I have come to the conclusion that any more upgrading and tweaking would be insane. Maybe I should find another hobby after 55 some odd years.

      Dan

      1. Dan, I get where you’re coming from. In many ways this whole hobby is insane but equally so enjoyable, when it’s going well. If you’re hooked, you’re hooked. I find it takes some restraint to settle with what you’ve got rather than upgrade or tweak. After a while that itch needs scratching. 🙂

  8. Dear Paul,

    I think the concept of “pure” in this context is arbitrary, and does not advance the understanding of anything.

    I think you are inventing and applying a contrived definition of “pure.” It would be equally reasonable and rational, if not more reasonable and rational, to define as “pure” any recording which remains in the analog domain.

    There is nothing unreasonable about defining as “impure” a recording which has a digital conversion step in it.

    Are you suggesting that DSD recording is “pure”?

    1. Only from the standpoint of English. As a practical matter, as soon as the capture mechanism loses info (like the highs or dynamics lost on tape) then it is no longer pure.

      I think perhaps the problem is in the word pure (as I think you are pointing out). Pure suggests nothing added (like pure water). But pure maple syrup wouldn't be called that if you removed some of its properties.

      Maybe there;'s a better word?

      1. Thank you for your reply.

        Yes, I tend to be too literal and too linguistically-oriented!

        I don’t think there’s a single word that will capture what you have in mind.

      2. A better word? How about ‘perfect’…..oops no, let’s not go there.
        A quick internet search will reveal many synonyms for ‘pure’ but I’m not sure any of them are truly applicable here.
        Perhaps the whole concept of ‘pure’ is a misnomer.

  9. I have no doubt that Paul speaks the truth from his personal experience, which is vast, but I know a few mixing and mastering engineers who would disagree with this: "The truth is that the closest we have ever gotten to analog pure is DSD. PCM can come close, but only after first being captured in DSD and later converted."

    My professional friends, who are purist audiophiles in addition to being engineers, think PCM can be perfectly transparent. To say that it can't, one would have had to listen to all the ADC/DACs out there in a variety of studios. The hardware, software and signal path matter just as much as the format.

    Further, if 352.8 kHz PCM (DXD) is transparent when high-rate DSD is converted to it, then why not just skip the DSD stage?

    1. Great question and one I have asked many times. Here's the deal. To make this work you must capture in DSD. There's no penalty for then moving to DXD and back again, but the opposite isn't true.

      We have made experiments where we simply skip the DSD capture and set the converters to DXD for capture. Definitely not the same. It loses that "you are there" sound that we get when capturing in DSD.

      Sure would be a lot easier if that weren't true. But....

      1. That’s not easy to get first time, but I did 😉 DSD as a quite perfect capture format has to rely on other, probably somehow also compromised processing to be media ready…and is still better than pure PCM.

        It would really be interesting not only to compare the DXD mixing way to the analog step inbetween, but also to pure analog further processing (vinyl cut, even tape).

        If there’s such a difference between analog/DSD and PCM, why shouldn’t for the moment all analog after the DSD recording be a superior option?

      2. Paul, if DXD PCM doesn't sound transparent to a mic-feed source but does sound transparent to a DXD source, then obviously something is going wrong with the software or hardware in the A-to-D conversion. That raises the question: Is it a fundamental flaw with PCM -- probably not -- or is there a hardware/software combo that solves the problem and makes PCM transparent to an analog source? Looking at it another way, I take it that an A-to-D conversion to DSD is fundamentally easier to accomplish with perfect "subjective fidelity" to the source. However, an equally-perfect A-to-D conversion to PCM might be trickier but still possible.

        I understand that you guys at Octave have a workflow down pat that accomplishes everything you need sonically -- so why screw with success? -- but I still think there might be another way.

      3. The only download I sought to purchase that was recorded in DXD (24/352) was this one. It's a very highly regarded recording, on the Gramophone Instrumental shortlist in 2020. It was recorded in a very large concert hall in Germany using mobile multi-channel equipment.
        https://www.nativedsd.com/product/myr026-solo-ii/
        Myrios is one of the smaller quality German labels Jared Sachs was talking about.

        I tend only to get the "you are there" thing when "I am there", i.e. at live performance. If you don't mind spending €20 (less than a cup of coffee in St Moritz!) I would be curious if you get the "you are there" feeling from it.

    2. Your last question is really interesting! The DS DAC is said to convert 16/44.1 to 10xDSD. The result was in my system that every CD lost its “punch” (some might have said it now sounded “more analog”, smoothed). Thus obviously the conversion process changes the sound. Thus what kind of alterations happens in the conversion process from DXD to DSD? Maybe in the end it’s all about reconstruction filter topologies?

  10. IMO DSD now is so good that it no longer needs exaggerated statements of perfection, incorrect badmouthing of alternatives or unvalidated claims. The whole CD/LP era’s style of argumentation seems outdated. It’s also when I sometimes read posts from a major vinyl advocate…it seems some fought their battle for too long to switch their mind to new realities and perceptions.

    1. Old opinions or beliefs die very hard.
      Some never do. There’s room for all in any given format.

      Which is best is often a matter of opinion and or marketing.

  11. So, Paul got off on the wrong foot today when he declared that "pure" analog comes from a microphone feed. I was surprised since Paul has previously said that he knows recording engineers who can tell you what microphone was used on just about any recording. A microphone leaves its thumbprint on anything that goes through it.

    Paul, however, is right that there is something very special about DSD256. I will try to explain what it does and how it does it. First, lets call DSD256 what it is. PDM ( Pulse Density Modulation ) which is a special case of PWM ( Pulse Width Modulation ). I have been to seminars and lectures where notable mastering and recording engineers have said that the remarkable thing about PDM is that when the sampling rate is high enough ( and DSD256 is certainly high enough ) and you make a digital copy of analog music and the convert the copy back to analog what you get back sounds like the original. To say it another way is DSD256 makes exact copies.

    I have a DSD recorder that i use to make copies of my best vinyl. It copies at DSD128 and the plays it back at DSD64. During the recording I can toggle between the copy and the original listening to the headphone feed from the recorder. To these old ears the mastering and recording engineers are correct.

    How can this be? What does this happen with PDM and why does PCM ( Pulse Code Modulation ) seem to leave a digital footprint on the results? The answer is two things, one of witch I have all ready mentioned. First, the sampling rate must be high enough ( DSD256 or at least DSD128 ). Second, with PDM the amplitude of the analog signal is NOT ( yes, is NOT ) digitized. You can see this for yourself if you go online and find an article that shows the DSD output of digitizing a sine wave. Even if you are not an EE ( Electrical Engineer ) it should be obvious that all you need to do is use an analog low pass filter to get the sine wave back. Do not ever try this if you have the PCM output from digitizing a wave, all you will hear is horrible noise.

    So does PDM do this for all music? The answer is yes, it does. To understand this you need to go online again and first look up a guy named Fourier and then look up how a square wave is made from a Fourier series. If you understand this it will be obvious that PDM can make exact copies of all music.

    End of lecture, do your homework, this will be on the final exam! 😉

    1. This is excellent, Tony and thank you. I am going to reprint this in a post.

      To be clear (we engineers are certainly picky...), of course I realize microphones are colored and imperfect. By a lot. So when I mention pure analog it is from the output of the microphone I am referring.

      We can't (yet) do anything about the microphones but we can carefully preserve everything following it.

  12. I think many do need to adjust their vocabulary. I’ll tell you what. I’m no DSD racist. I just listened to the Gasoline Lollipops record “Nightmares” from Octave Records and that was recorded in pure DSD and I can definitely tell. The record sounds quite good, but more importantly the actual music was really enjoyable. I hope many of you on here will give it a shot. Worth it. 🙂

    Thanks Paul! 🙂

  13. My Hauptwerk digital organ samples are all .WAV files 24-bit 96kHz, which I load and play uncompressed. I believe they are LPCM (linear pulse code modulation) format. All mixing within the program utilized this format, and the I2S to my DAC is the same. My DAC loves PCM input.

  14. Oh the microphone, the microphone.... That's where the electrical journey starts... What a sonic responsibility the microphone has!
    Air pressure fluctuations converted to fluctuations in potential difference, modified within the microphone circuitry... Potential difference to be passed along cables in an analogue manner. Influenced by the evil resistance and reactance of the cables... Modified even. R=voltage drop, X=phase shift.. Uggghhhhh!
    Shorten, or even eliminate that analogue conduit and we may reduce that unwanted interference with our "pure" audio signal.
    What about a microphone that has the AD converter as part of its topology, outputting DSD right there at the microphone?
    What's your next project Paul?

  15. "No recording in the history of recording has captured analog in its pure form."

    I have no idea what this sentence means. I don't even know what Paul is referring to with this.

    Coincidentally, Paul and I exchanged some nice comments yesterday as I told him I was lucky to visit and spend a few hours at Shangri-La recording studios in Malibu (very near home), owned by Rick Rubin. I sent him some pictures of the visit too.

    What I wanted to know was what do musicians "want" when they are recording their music. Granted, this refers to pop/rock/hip-hop and derivatives. It was made clear that the musicians want a particular sound, an effect, a "version" that could be very realistic or not realistic at all. He told me comparisons between Neil Young who had just finished recording there, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers that just finished an album there some brief time ago.

    I wanted to know how they could get this marvelous pure sound in Johnny Cash' classic late albums and the compressed (loudness wars, he said - it was my neighbor who invited me, not Rubin himself) Red Hot albums. He said THAT is what the band wanted! THAT is what Cash agreed with Rubin. Something raw, simple, unadorned that in the studio sounded great. It sounds great everywhere. Or In Red's case, Rubin poking the bear, was used as a metaphor. The band liked it and it sold tons of records, was his excuse.

    Paul thinks of the recording studio as a pristine lab, such as a place where they manufacture monoclonal antibodies or computer chips. But musicians think of the recording studio as another instrument for them to use. Since the days of Les Paul and George Martin. They come to Rubin to get a particular sound or to discuss how to get a particular sound. Young, for example, wants whole band in one take for the songs. Everyone playing together. Using PCM 192. Eminem, when he recorded there, wanted to use HIS monitors to listen to the recordings, not what the studio provided.

    They showed me an entire closet with inventoried microphones, another one full of guitars. Musicians and their engineers choose the mics they want to get a particular sound.

    They can do pure when they want. But mostly, they want a particular sound.

    He made me listen to something that was absolutely hideous. Terribly distorted, and he smiled, I was horrified, but after a few seconds a very pure electronic deep bass came in and the sound changed. He told me that the band was specific that they wanted this effect.

    Classical music (or music that only uses non electronic instruments), has other issues. The capture of location is virtually impossible. Is sixth row the place? Or like in Zully's cello, 8 feet above the cello pointing at it perpendicularly? When did we ever listen to a cello from that spot? You know that is artificial!

    We watch a movie and we suspend disbelief. We should listen to music and accept that this is what musicians wanted us to hear, and in the case of non electric music, we have to suspend disbelief about acoustics. Here, some recordings are going to be more "realistic" than others.

    But, definitely, I don't think the limiting factor is the storage of the master recording. It is the ability of the musicians and their associates (engineers and producers) to get a product/recording that we enjoy.

    By the way, he also said that may recording company executives tinker too much with the sound of the bands...

      1. The most interesting thing to me was that they state that Shangri-La is set up as a place for the musicians to work comfortably and in peace. They had multiple rooms for recording, bedrooms, lounges all set up with wiring for recording. Outside areas too. It was a collection of recording sites within a few roofs. Even one inside the old Bob Dylan tour bus! It was cool to be inside.

        Also, some musicians are much stronger at deciding what they have while others relay more on interaction with their producers. It depends on the experience and comfort of the musicians (they told me).

        But clearly, they did appear a bit more apprehensive of the record company executives, not the recording engineers or producers.

        Because he is a good friend and neighbor, I hope to get more insight and possibly visiting while recording some other time.

        One last thing, he stated that most "mastering" is done in different settings, not there.

    1. ...& therefore, often, it's not what the musicians want us
      to hear but rather what the producer(s) want(s) us to hear.
      One man's pure is another man's impure.

      1. That is NOT what he said.

        As an example, he mentioned that Neil Young made every decision regarding the sound. From the set up in the recording studio to the equipment he wanted used.

  16. Then why is it that an all analogue LP sounds definitely better than a LP made from DSD recording ? While the former is very involving the latter is less involving, electronic sounding and more BLAH sounding overall. Obviously the loss of information is significantly greater with DSD. Regards.

    1. This most certainly has not been my experience with MoFi, Octave or Rolling Stone vinyl back when there ABKCO catalog was released in SACD and latter vinyl was made from the DSD masters. It is also not my experience when I make DSD needle drop recordings of my vinyl. As always in audio YMMV.

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