Noble experiment

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I’ve been noodling a lot lately on my “live” experience at the airport. I’ve even awakened in the middle of the night with an aha! but then fallen back to sleep with a no, can’t be that.

But it’s something.

Several of you have suggested it is the recording process where the damage happens. This is a noble thought because it’s somewhat obvious. Like Occam’s Razor, simpler theories are preferable to more complex ones because they are more testable.

I wanted to share with you an interesting test I performed some years ago. Working, as I did in recording studios with fine analog tape decks I had the ability to easily switch between the tape recorder input and output. Here’s what I found. On simple single feeds, like a bass guitar or a microphone, it was very difficult to tell one from the other. If I listened closely I could hear a slight roll off of the highs—normal for those days of analog tape.

In later years I performed a similar experiment with our A/D converter the NPC. Feeding the analog output of a phono preamplifier into the preamp on one input and then the gain matched digital version on another, the differences were even smaller—essentially non-existent—as long as the source was a single voice or instrument.

In both cases (analog tape and A/D) when the music’s complexity increased to multiple voices or instruments the differences became clearer.

So, for me, the mystery continues. What I heard was only a few musicians and though they weren’t recorded I’d bet good money that if they had been I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference.

Which leaves the system…or something else…