When it comes to the recording industry there are no standards.
There are, however, personal standards for each company.
Take Octave Records for example. Working with DSD is always going to be a challenge with compromises, but so too is analog. In fact, the only analog process I know of without compromise is a direct-to-disc live recording. Everything else is to some degree compromised through process.
DSD can too be direct (but rarely is). One could record live in single rate DSD and then transfer that recorded file to an SACD without any conversions or processing. That’s rare (as are all single-take live recordings). I would estimate that 99% of all analog and DSD recordings have conversions back and forth in the process of becoming finished.
Take the process we at Octave Records (in our new studio) use. We record everything in 4XDSD (11.2mHz). Those files are then low pass filtered to 352.8PCM (DXD), mixed and mastered, then converted back to 4XDSD through the Pyramix DSD rendering process.
Compare this with how we started out working when we used the Sonoma system.
In the Sonoma 1XDSD system we recorded everything in 1XDSD, then ran each track through a DAC to produce analog, mixed on a vintage analog mix board (the Studer), then A/D converted back to 1XDSD. From there we low pass filtered the DSD master to get the PCM versions. The results were excellent.
That entire process was a real milestone of quality that we at Octave Records are proud of. It set a new standard that blows away most analog and PCM recordings.
But now, it’s time to take the next step upward on the journey.
Octave’s new Pyramix DSD system has raised the bar yet again.
Comparing the sound quality output of both methods—the original 1XDSD->DAC->analog->A/D->1XDSD to the new 4XDSD->DXD->4XDSD chain—the new all-digital Pyramix recordings are “light years” better. I can’t wait for people to make their own judgments.
But, this is all new ground and does not adhere to any industry standard.
While it is true there are no industry standards, there are certainly personal standards by which people like us, and Gus, and Cookie, adhere to because we hear the difference in poor choices of technique and abhor compromise simply for the sake of saying something is this way or that.
Each of our techniques may be different, but at the end of the day, it’s the results that matter.
Openness of process is critical. We want you to know how the “sausages are made” because when you hear how extraordinary the results are you’ll want to seek out more of it.
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