Whom to believe?

November 5, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

With the influx of media available it’s often hard to know what’s true or false. TV personalities masquerading as pundits in an effort to gain audience often say or do whatever it takes to get noticed.

Truth and facts be damned.

What would happen if people instead let us know their facts and information were based on personal experience? That in their view, this or that appears to them to be true, and here’s why.

I think part of the issue we experience with the ongoing cultural Great Divide is our tendency to label observations and personal opinions as fact rather than helping others know it is but our personal view of reality.

For example, when I proclaim DSD to be a better recording format than PCM it is entirely my opinion based on my personal experience. The fact that opinion is based on both engineering knowledge of how the two formats work and the dozens of examples and demonstrations I have witnessed should be useful not as proof that my assertation represents truth, but rather as a means to evaluate the validity of my observation.

How valid are my opinions and experiences as they relate to a subject?

If we wish to know if a bridge is safe to cross we’d likely accept the opinion of a structural engineer over that of the local dog catcher.

The structural engineer’s opinion may not be fact, but it’s far more believable.

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70 comments on “Whom to believe?”

      1. FR,
        Are you suggesting the average Aussie is more intelligent? I agree the American media machine is a mess, but there are a surprising number of critical thinkers in the US (not enough I agree). I’m really done with politics in general. We’re missing the point(s) as so eloquently expounded by “Politics Girl”. Loved the video.

        1. kc,
          Nope, you are over-extrapolating.
          We have really stoopid people down here too.
          But ‘Straya has a population of 26.7 million &
          ‘Murikah has around 350 million, so I’ll let you
          do the math(s) 😉

          We’re overpopulated, unsustainable consumerism & everyone is in debt.
          The reason that politics is in the toilet is because governments haven’t
          got a clue nor the BALLS to be able to fix any of this.

  1. It seems most plausible that DSD is a better recording format than PCM because it is offering the highest resolution in time. But concerning the end user the most relevant fact is the sound quality perceived from his hifi rig. And here things get most complex. Thus a promoter of DSD should also stress the influence of a good & professional mixing and mastering and the quality of the DAC and the resolution of the loudspeakers to be required for getting things audible. Not to mention the inherent “noise” issues of DSD. The general problem seen in many discussions about audio is the fact that a most anecdotical, subjective and individual perception is generalized as a fact for the whole mankind. The next problem is be seen in the confusion of strong causality and statistical correlation. And the acceptance of new facts depends on the individual view of the world often based on strange ideologies or religions. How long took it to accept or believe that the sun is the center of our galaxy and the planet earth isn’t the center of the universe?

    1. You touch on the main issue, that 99% of these opinions, even if based on technical knowledge and empirical evidence, is almost never put in context. Most forum-bunnies say this or that cable is great, blah, blah, blah, but provide little or no information about the system being used, the room dimensions, acoustics, let alone level matching with whatever is being compared against. Most forum-bunnies are I presume after some form of validation, so there is moderate to extreme bias, because you can count on one hand the number of times someone said they bought a cable and it made no difference at all.

      I would have thought the best way to convince people about DSD is via headphones.

      The problem with DSD is of course not the sound. An analogy is perhaps to suggest that we should all live as hermits in remote log cabins with no EMF/RFI nearby, unpolluted power and no external sound save for a few passing butterflies. Our audio systems would sound great. It is impractical as many live in noisy towns and cities, electrical jungles, have limited space and funds and hence make the most what they can.

  2. Which recording would you rather listen to—an average sound quality PCM recording of music that moves you, has real meaning for you or a high sound quality DSD recording of music that does nothing for you? I’ll take the PCM music every time.

    1. I’d also go for the recording that moves me, regardless of the format.
      Luckily my CD player converts everything to DSD so that I don’t have
      to worry about the format 😀

  3. This post brings to mind a moment in court many years ago when a barrister (trial lawyer) was cross-examining a medical expert who everyone considered the foremost authority in the country and whose opinion was inviolable. The barrister, who was a wonderful chap, was a bit lost for what to ask the expert to find any cracks in his opinion. So he said to him: “Professor x, are you not known as “le grand fromage” of your profession?”, at which point everyone fell about in hysterics, even the usually dour judge. It didn’t help as the barrister’s client lost the case, but it was a nice attempt to chop someone off at the knees.

    1. One day in a trial involving a fight the attorney asked the witness if he too was hurt in the fracas? The reply, no sir, I was hurt halfway between the fracas and my navel.
      You can “believe me”, as I am a retired trial attorney.

      1. There was one character, a career criminal, who was asked “Mr x, have you ever paid any tax in your life?”, to which he replied, “No, but I was going to, I just hadn’t decided how much.”

        Except for Rumpole, the court stuff they do on the TV is all rubbish as they miss all the funny bits, which are the only ones I remember.

  4. I’m going out on a limb here…..

    I for one like DSD especially in the playback realm. That said, It all depends on the recording quality. Those recordings that are done well, especially in the 24 bit PCM realm, when played on my system thru the DSDAC offer very little discernible ‘sonic differences or any chance of fatigue in long loud listening sessions.

    Here’s where the limb may start start to crack or be sawed off by someone at the tree trunk end…
    For me if I take redbook cd quality and covert to a saved DSD format file 1st and then playback the same exact same recording the fatigue is gone. If I feed the DSDAC the wav or aiff file unconverted file the fatigue can still occur. I realize this should make no sense as the DSDAC is doing more or less the same conversion as what the software did to create the stored playback file.

    What I hear is not an in your face change, and again the fatigue takes hours plus to settle in. So rather than try to figure out why, I just automatically go for the conversion 1st then save a huge file. On higher res PCM files I don’t feel the need to.

    To tie back into today’s post I don’t expect anyone to believe… I’ll quote FR…. “my ears” and add, my system.

    1. Good morning Mike!
      A little more then 6 years ago, I went in to a high end stereo shop in Gainesville Florida.
      They had a Carry Audio SLI-80 integrated tube amp driving a pare of SVS speakers.
      And the audio source was a SONY music server that was hard drive baste.
      Sure a lot of the music that was on that server were hit songs from the sixties, but it sounded like they were right there in the room with us!
      I asked the store keeper what kind of audio files were on that server.
      When he told me DSD, that was the first time I fell in love with the sound of DSD files!
      We’ve come a very long way, but we still have a good ways to go.
      DSD doesn’t have the same attraction to people as MP3 wave and WMA has.

  5. Wow! Paul, Can we please debate something simple tomorrow like does solid wire sound better than stranded wire?

    So subjective and not subjective and real life. Let’s talk about this.

    IMO, Audio is VERY subjective. What dose that mean? No one should accept that DSD sounds better than PCM when Paul, me or other people here say that it sounds better to us. Take that as encouragement to go listen for yourself and decide for yourself if it sounds better. And as some have also pointed out things like mixing and mastering also can impact what sounds best. This is real life.

    Now, IMO and a lot of other people’s opinion things like bridges and brain surgery are not subjective.

    If you want to know if a bridge design is structurally sound you find a qualified expert to asses the design. What is a qualified expert? It is someone who has a degree in mechanical engineering who has specialized in structural engineering and past a board certified exam that says his is legally qualified to asses structural designs and legally responsible for his opinion on those designs. So the design is properly approved, but now the bridge has to be built. The design calls for concrete that has a shear strength ( the ability to resist deformation under sideways forces ). What if the concrete supplier decides to cut corners and save money ( that goes into his pocket ) and the concrete does not have the right shear strength. Inspectors are suppose to catch this. But, I have seen inspectors who are over worked and under payed who do not spend nearly enough time inspecting what they are supposed to inspect. Does the bridge fall down? Probably not. But, it does deteriorate faster than expected. However, that may take 20 or 30 years before it becomes apparent and by that time the people who cheated on the concrete or the inspection or both are dead. Again, this is real life.

    As always YMMV.

    1. That’s the thing isn’t it, theory and reality can frequently be two different things.
      I just wondered if there was anyone left who hasn’t seen this clip, at least once!
      It must have been the chief engineers day off or the office junior scribbled the design on the back of a fag packet.


      Obviously things will have moved on a lot since then. What I like is the music and the narration, very much of their time. As if the film isn’t dramatic enough.

      1. Yes, I think I was in HS the first time I saw this video. They simply did not have things like finite element modeling back then that could simulate the bridge behavior under conditions that might excite a resonant frequency of vibration. There is a much more modern case of a pedestrian bridge that I believe almost collapsed when people marched across it where the uniformity of their foot strikes excited a resonant frequency and cause severe oscillations. It is both frightening and shocking to see this kind of behavior.

  6. I’d say competence in the technical field is only one good reason for a valid and trustworthy opinion. Too many engineer-like experts have strong agendas or weird views. I bet there’s also the one or other engineer among those pure measurement nerds.

  7. Yet facts are facts and if someone states a fact it does not become his opinion. It remains a fact. Confusing a fact as a personal opinion is muddying the water. One has to be careful because by doing so one avoids eating crow. Regards.

  8. Just like with any other format, there are good and bad DSD recordings. If we have heard mostly badly done DSD we won’t think very highly of the format.

    That has been my personal experience and Octave recordings, as well as other attempts, have not been executed well enough to change my experience.

    My references continue to be the Mercury Living Presence and RCA Living Stereo recordings of the past century. Not all were exceptional, but enough were that I came to believe that the potential of DSD has yet to be fulfilled.

    The only thing that will change my experience is a different experience. Believing what someone, with or without credentials, says about it doesn’t matter.

    The best we can do is share what we feel is exceptional and let others make their own judgements based on what they hear.

    Watching The Audiophiliac videos on YouTube has exposed me to new labels and music. I spent the last few days learning about Reference Recordings and blues singer Doug MacLeod.

    I looked into the Reference Recordings catalogue and found many exceptional productions. I am learning about how they do it because what they do is a positive in my experience.

    1. Yes, independent of the analog/digital era differences, recording skill simply rules by magnitudes.

      I can follow what you said in your posts and the labels you mentioned. I guess you would also like Stockfisch recording quality, which is digital and 24/88,2 only, but anyway exceptional and there are a few others available on similar level. Format plays close to zero role unless the top recording quality level was reached. Then format starts to matter much more relevant, too.

      I must say, overviewing my music, the DSD media doesn’t stand out at all with superior recordings. That doesn’t mean it’s not the better digital recording format, it just means, those who produce in DSD don’t more than others reach superior recording quality.

      I’d strongly prefer even superior CD recording quality to inferior DSD or analog.

  9. Paul,

    Your example is not fair. It is your interpretation of the facts and your experience with hearing that your are claiming. Not necessarily the same thing as scientific or data driven demonstration.

    Doctors all the time claim that one drug is better than the other based on their professional background and experience with patients. But you still need head-to-head trials in order to state that as a fact. You are no different to the Big Bang woman who on TV claims that the cocktail she is hawking is good for your brain because she is a scientist and studied it.

    You may believe that your interpretation of the data is sufficient to reach the conclusion that DSD is better. You may believe too (and I don’t doubt it) that your uncontrolled and anecdotal experience is sufficient to convince you. But that is not evidence. Your claim is on eminence. We have to believe you because YOU say it.

    Sorry, that is not scientific.

    1. Oh, boy! I think you totally missed Paul’s point. All that he’s saying is that someone with an education and experience in a subject is more credible than someone who does not have the same credentials. What he says may still not hold water but he has more data points on which to base his opinion. At least, that is my take on it.

      1. No, I didn’t miss the point. The fact the has experience does not mean he is correct. Only that he reached an opinion. This is why it is called “eminence based”. The data points are irrelevant if they are not in a controlled setting.

        Not only that, he has a comercial bias, so you should even discount more his opinion as a result of it.

        As I mentioned before, if DSD were so superior to PCM, we would have lots of well controlled studies showing it. We only have anecdotes.

        1. CtA, I commented in an earlier Paul’s Post that I have a TASCAM hi-res recorder that records both PCM and DSD and plays back in the same format it is recorded in. I compared PCM to DSD and to me DSD sounded better. I did this when the TASCAM was brand new and if I had found that PCM sounded better I could have returned it ( since I already had a PCM recorder ).

          In this thread I said that people should listen for themselves. Have you heard DSD?

          What is you definition of a controlled study? If I invite in 8 of my neighbors ( this is a hypothetical since my wife would ever allow me to that ), repeat what I did when the TASCAM was new and 6 out of the 8 say DSD is better does that make it a controlled study?

            1. jazznut, here is what I posted the other day in the post about Preserving The Art”

              “I have a TASCAM hi-res digital recorder and have done needle drops of the same vinyl track in redbook, 24/48, 24/96, 24/192 and DSD. The unit has a toggle button that allows you to go between hearing the source or recorded. To my ears there is no real difference between redbook ( CD ) and 24/48 ( I mostly listen to rock, if you listen to classical there may be a difference ). The biggest difference is between 24/48 and 24/96. The doubling of the sample rate makes the music sound so much clearer. There is further improvement when you go to 24/192 but it is not as noticeable as the first doubling. There is a difference between 24/192 and DSD but it is hard to say what the difference is until you go back to the source. Comparing DSD to the source it is essentially identical. DSD comes very, very close to analog sound.”

              I hope this helps.

              1. Thanks much, this comparison makes sense!
                I guess differences between all participants further rise, depending on the setup used. But it makes definitely much more sense to use this recorder and your test scenario than a DS for comparing different formats converted to DSD (which is what most here have).

        2. In my career, I worked with many executives who were hired based on their experience and in the pursuit of their single-minded vision ended up running their companies to the ground. So that’s that.

          Commercial bias is a very compelling point. Anyone who trusts manufacturer claims without question or due diligence belongs in the “highly gullible” column. Products need promotion but the temptation of overdoing it is more often than not too strong to avoid.

          However, I would find it a sad world if we needed to study everything before we can belief claims. It does not make much sense, particular in audio. Synergy of products in our environment, using our ears, matters a great deal. If gear is not a good match we return it. It costs a little in some cases, but mostly not. Then there are more or less independent reviewers that have a track record open to evaluation in those pesky comments and their number of subscribers.

          Consider Octave Records. I had misgivings about glowing promotion filled with what I thought was hyperbole. Still, I got two different recordings to try out and discover the truth for myself. Others may have a different opinion. I’m sure PSA’s accounts receivables will be healthier for it.

          A good study can be helpful, but the marketplace is the ultimate judge of truth in advertising.

          1. This is a fascinating subject. I have no problem that you “believe” your ears. It is to be expected. This is what the study of bias would tell you.

            But in order to believe some of Paul’s musings the last couple of days we have to ignore what humanity has learned about the scientific method, we have to ignore what we have learnt about statistics, what we have learnt about the study of bias, and what we learnt about psychoacoustics. If you ignore all of those things, then you can be happy “believing” whatever you want to believe. Elevated wires, magic fuses, you name it!

            It is complicated and really annoying to have to take time for all of those subjects, as someone said, it is just audio. Maybe because it is “only” audio is that very little controlled work has been done and it is full of unsubstantiated “opinions”. The more time I spent studying the science of audio, the less money I discovered I needed to spend to have excellent sound.

            But digressing, spend some time listening to the new Gaga/Bennet album. Great music and sound. Also, look for Caetano Veloso’s new album too. After all, it is about the music and not the boxes in front of you.

            1. It is a fascinating subject. I would like to know more about the study of bias. I’d like to do it privately but I don’t know if it’s possible in this venue. I have not formally studied the science of audio, but I have a big takeaway from reading posts in this and other venues.

              I only needed to spend a fraction of what I spent in the past to put together two systems that are my favorites in 40 years as an audiophile. The breakthrough was finding high sensitivity speakers. From there other synergistic devices like the TubeDepot 7 SET amp at $180 for my near field rig followed.

              I don’t envy the wealthier members of the PSA family who can afford excellent, expensive gear. They keep folks employed and the economy going. According to the press, PSA has set the standard in many ways. I wanted to, and got, that point of reference. Now after retirement, having joined the ranks of the poorer members of the family, I have to fill the gaps by finding the low-cost, high performing jewels in the audio marketplace. If that is not a worthwhile takeaway, I don’t know one that is.

              1. Thanks for a very thoughtful comment.
                Where to start with the study of bias? I would suggest reading Kahnemann’s Thinking, Fast and Slow autobiography. You can then add Michael Lewis biography of Kahnemann as it is complementary. I think he is the first “scientific” leader of the study of bias. There has been lots of work but him and Tversky are considered to the top “fromages”. The books are approachable. They initiated what is called behavioral economics, as they studied how people make decisions, in contrast to the classical school that said that people were always rational. After them, there is a lot done. Dan Ariely from Duke does a lot, but I don’t see him as intellectually rigorous, but practical.
                Like you, I “feel” retirement close by, so I don’t have that urge to spend crazy amounts of money and I also learned that you don’t actually need to. You can reach amazing sound for much less than what “they” tell you. The PS Stellar line to me is the best value in PSA. Based on ICE Class D amplification. You can get amazing sound from Chinese DACs. Even a $400 DAC preamp is just literally transparent, and it even converts DSD! Lately, I also became convinced that powered speakers are really a great sound quality advance and convenience. It is amazing the sound you can get from JBL 305/306 if you don’t want to play them too loud or you have a smaller room. Size matters. If your room is big, size is expensive! The JBLs are clearly not state of the art, but bang for the back they are incredible. The other thing that makes audio expensive is the obsession with appearance. Many confuse sound quality with the way they look. Not true!

                Anyway, you can ask Paul for my email (this will tell him it is OK to provide it to you) if you want to chat more. Again, a pleasure.

                1. Thank you very much for all the information. I look forward to learning more. Maybe we can compare takeaways at a later time. Two of the biggest takeaways from PSA are Paul’s insistence on decluttering the middle and the importance of clean power. The clutter is in my office on the other side of the wall. The move won me big time points at home! The soundstage is huge. Clean power with the P15 is an investment but that’s where good sound quality begins. I could not give those two takeaways a more thorough endorsement. Pictures are below.

                  Main Listen


                  1. I cannot post a picture, if I did my wife would shoot me. If we are talking clutter, you ain’t seen nothing yet. I do agree the P15 is very nice especially if you get your power from ConEd.

  10. Even when trusting a professional engineer over a dog catcher, it is always good practice to get a second opinion. As an architect I was fortunate to have also been trained in structural engineering. On one of my first big projects, a 180-unit reinforced concrete oceanfront condominium in Florida, I decided to check the structural engineer’s reinforcement on some major deep cantilever beams that held up the above stories. In particular I performed calculations to verify the design for shear failure at the supporting columns. To my shock and dismay, I found that the engineer’s design would fail under the design loads. I alerted him to the problem; he acknowledged his error; and the steel reinforcement deficiency was corrected before construction started.

    On another large project I and my people did not check a structural engineer’s concrete control joint layout. They were one of the City’s foremost structural engineering firms. After the building was nearing completion, unsightly slab contraction cracks appeared throughout the building. A worst aesthetic nightmare. The slabs were exposed polished concrete floors and it cost my firm hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages and remedial repairs. The structural engineer claimed he thought the floors were going to be carpeted and that some cracking would be okay, pointing the finger back at the Architect.

    So, except in emergency situations, independent peer review and second opinions are always good practice. No one, regardless of their training and expertise, are infallible. Fortunately, most medical centers these days do practice peer review. Whenever I go in for a procedure at UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center, there are two or three doctors reviewing my case, which gives me some comfort. Even so, I try to be aware of what they are doing at all times. On a recent emergency room visit, when the shift changed and a new doctor came in, he ordered a set of MRI imaging that I had already had done just hours before. My kidneys are bad enough already without double radiation exposure. I also like to know what they are dripping into my veins. Trust but verify 🙂

        1. By the way, did you go to see Cameron Carpenter at Disney two Sundays ago? It was a magnificent concert. He played the house organ, not his.

          Some of the sounds of the organ for the Goldberg variations were incredible. He used a “campanita” that was magic! The entire first part was all one continuous piece where he made the music flow using continuous notes. Sometimes, very low bass that sounded like mini earthquakes. The way he can play using his feet is like Fred Astaire for the organ. What a night it was!

          1. No, I missed that. Sounds like a great event. His talent, that organ. I am not venturing out yet. Are they spacing the people and everyone wearing masks?

            1. Yes, they check vaccine status at entry and everyone wearing masks. The set up is pretty good.

              Unfortunately, it was not full for such a lovely evening. I think the Hall is having trouble selling tickets still.

              1. I would feel more comfortable if they would now start requiring proof of boosters, since the efficacy of COVID shots taken over six months ago is less for many people. Being more vulnerable than younger people, as a matter of choice I still avoid public gatherings even though vaccination cards and masks are required.

                1. I’m taking the third shot Monday. But, the decline of protection from disease is not immediate. There is slow decline. The Israeli study of the third short shows that quite well.
                  We one to the Bowl in the summer, but it was open as you know, and still fully masked. We were reluctant to go to Disney but with the vaccine cards checked and masked, we felt safe (enough).

  11. “And you can believe me because I never lie and I’m always right. So wake up, America, [SLAP — waaaaah] to your only logical alternative. Me. George Tirebiter.”

    Paid for by Tirebiter For Political Solutions Committee, Sector R

    The Firesign Theatre (1970?)

  12. “ For example, when I proclaim DSD to be a better recording format than PCM it is entirely my opinion based on my personal experience. The fact that opinion is based on both engineering knowledge of how the two formats work and the dozens of examples and demonstrations I have witnessed should be useful not as proof that my assertation represents truth, but rather as a means to evaluate the validity of my observation.”

    This seems to be the paragraph many skipped over. We’re back to the truth / fact discussion and that someone’s truth may or may not be fact to anyone else. The discussion becomes a game of semantics.

    I would ask this question to the knowledgeable with the experience…
    Is a pure direct to DSD recording (no over dubs no splices no changes) better than a multitrack DSD recording that is put on tape for editing and mastering in the analog realm, and then returned to DSD?

    1. I don’t know anyone that transfers DSD to tape. But, if you mean converts to analog, then mixed, then back to DSD, then that’s the standard. So, logically, we have to convert DSD to analog to hear it in the first place. So we can dispense with that part.

      Second, I believe we’re losing something in the process of mixing in analog. Analog mixers are inherently inferior to a PCM mixer. There will be plenty that argue with me about this but When you mix analog signals together you can wind up with some pretty significant IM depending on the mix. If it instead mixed in PCM there’s no chance for IM because it’s all done in maths.

      Hope that helps.

      1. Ok that helps. But certainly wasn’t clear to me initially. Especially given this write up…
        “The recording was brilliantly captured in pure DSD…. The tracks were later mixed in analog… mastered on the Sonoma DSD workstation.

        Maybe a flow chart for typical DSD recording will be helpful for understanding. I guess where the confusion on my part came from is that while tracks are captured in DSD – The mixing can be done in PCM or analog, then that mix converted back to DSD for the final presentation.

        I was trying to understand and thanks for the reply Paul.

        1. Yup, you have it. So, currently, as concerns Octave, Blue Coast, a 5/4 Productions (who did the Zuill Bailey and Grusin albums), everything is captured in DSD. Think of it as a DSD recorder. Edits are made in DSD—easy cut and splice are without change, fade in fade out in small DXD snippets. Think of this process as remaining in DSD.

          While in DSD no changes to level or mixing is possible/practical if we’re staying with the pure 1 bit PDM expression (DSD can be multibit and in that scenario we have more options though none mentioned use it).

          Once files are ready for mixing, in all cases mentioned they are converted to analog, mixed on an analog mixing console, then run back though an A/D into DSD again. If a PCM version is desired (like we do at Octave and Cookie does at Blue Coast) it is low pass filtered and PCM is derived from the DSD master.

          What Pyramix would want you to do is use their decimator to convert DSD to DXD (PCM), do the mixing and then back again to DSD. Unfortunately, this sounds like dog sh*t. One might as well have just recorded in PCM and Pro Tools in the first place. Flat and lifeless. All the magic gone. Which is why no one concerned with sound quality uses it. They do their work in analog as mentioned.

          Now what we’re working on at Octave is something new and exciting. In our new system we’re developing, the recording process in DSD is as described. When it comes time to mix this is where it’s different. The guys at Bit Perfect in Canada have developed a look-forward zero phase decimator with assignable sample rates to perfectly convert DSD to PCM without any loss. A huge miracle in and of itself. You can’t hear the difference. This then allows us to mix in PCM with any DAW (like Pro Tools) and, as long as we don’t use any plugins that alter phase (other than 180˚) with frequency, there’s zero loss and the magic is maintained.

          This has all sorts of practical benefits and should result in a level of recording as of yet unheard in our industry.

          Stay tuned.

          1. That’s interesting! I think it must make sense to find a way staying in the digital domain if it’s possible to overcome the analog editing/mixing advantage. At least it was the very basic argument of digital from the early days on, that pure digital processing should be the advantage (which it seems it wasn’t yet in a few cases so far)

            I just yesterday posted a statement of the Acousence engineer about his view in the pure DSD thread, which is completely contrary to yours regarding your previous post here, as he says analog mixing is far superior to (normal) PCM mixing. But even among engineers, very different opinions are usual 😉

            What I didn’t fully get from your description of your new PCM mixing approach:
            Even if you convert completely lossless to PCM and back (which to be honest I always presumed to be normal, but it seems it wasn’t), you still make the change to a format that’s clearly worse than DSD (by your own statements). So even if forth and back conversion is lossless in terms of phase etc., you still have the general PCM disadvantage in the process, as you went through it to get your final DSD product, right?

            1. Well, that’s where it gets confusing, Jazznut. Think of it this way. We can all agree that vinyl sounds different than digital. They both have a very distinct sound. Yet, it is possible and easily demonstrable that we can digitally capture the sound of vinyl, yet we cannot go the other way.

              So, whatever DSD does/is sounds the way it does. It’s magical and filled with details. If you first capture those details and magic in DSD you can with the right technology preserve those details in PCM or analog.

              What you cannot (so far) do is capture from the original analog feed, the same level of magical details as does DSD. As in the vinyl example above, it works one way but not the other.

              I wish I could explain it better in a way that CtA would appreciate but to be honest, I don’t understand the process or reasons why myself.

          2. So, a pure PCM recording stays in PCM the entire time. There are no conversions for mixing unless something is specified by the engineer and musicians. You would get the same file the musicians did without conversions.

            On Paul’s descriptions you have the recording in DSD, then it is converted to analog, mixed, then back to DSD, then converted to PCM if necessary. Or you can listen in DSD. I don’t think the conversion themselves create much change, but the analog mixing definitely.

          3. There’s one more question:

            The Pyramix-protools-like way which sounds like dog sh*t is the way more than 50% of digital PCM and SACD media are mixed like, correct (assumed it’s not a majority of DSD recordings which are just marginally DXD edited)?

            This combined with the much disadvantageous performance of PCM vs. the partly more analog-like DSD generally, which you often described (and which I don’t doubt), let’s the vast majority of digital media show up in a quite disgraceful light 😉

            1. It’s the contrast that’s hard to ignore. If one was to start with PCM and run everything through Pro Tools as 99% of today’s music is recorded and mixed it is entirely possible to make good recordings. So, the dog doo comment doesn’t apply. It’s in the hands of folks who, with enough skill and desire, can make decent (if not quite good) recordings.

              But. Once you hear what a DSD captured recording sounds like and then run it through a standard PCM decimator, you’re horrified at what just happened. It’s that immediate contrast that just shakes your world. One listen and you’ll understand why all the folks doing this don’t bother and instead go analog with all its problems and lack out automation etc.

              1. Yes, I think we have a common understanding here 😉 If us audiophiles speak of dog doo on pro tools level, that’s still quite perfect for most and I understand you can’t use that term for all except PSA and others taking the best approach.

                Furthermore, regarding PCM use (supposedly mostly without protools use) I guess I have many more better sounding albums in this format than on (for sure partly perfectly editing/mixing processed) DSD. Not because DSD isn’t better than PCM, but because the difference between them is far minor, than the difference between basic source recording qualities of each.

                I very much appreciate yours, Cookies’ and others’ fight for DSD and best format quality. I just think the hype, given the minor relevance compared to the recording quality, can be misleading. That doesn’t mean I can’t imagine that one time, with more advanced surrounding future technology, DSD and no other format can reveal the pace, 3D imaging, ambiance and openness, only analog does (for me) so far (among certainly different disadvantages it has on the other hand). I think we agree that the camps are defined by different priorities regarding the disadvantages of both 😉

          4. Paul, the system doesn’t let me answer on your 7:24 post directly, so I post it here.

            Thanks much for the answer Paul!

            You touched different topics, which I’d like to shortly address.

            „…vinyl sounds different than digital. They both have a very distinct sound.“

            That’s true in a certain way, but not a dogma for me. They approach the optimum from two sides, getting more similar, the better each gets. Everything else is a cliche well cultivated by those who want to keep camps established or who relate the comparison to certain optional performance levels of each, which they experienced.

            „..we can digitally capture the sound of vinyl, yet we cannot go the other way.“

            I have not yet experienced a full capture of vinyl by digital so far, not even by the Analogue Productions released Ahmad Jamal recording (which I have as LP) and which used a very high end vinyl rig. I also have a very high end vinyl rig, but I think it isn’t so much better as it sounded in comparison to the rip (at least on the DS). But I agree that digital can capture more characteristics from vinyl than it would be in the opposite way. This doesn’t tell much as long as it can’t capture all or can’t reproduce itself what’s missing in comparison to analog, but it’s a fact.

            I know Michael Fremer made various statements about that he captured vinyl characteristics on a rip, which were preferred by any listener to the digital version, but if you dig deeper he somewhere also said, it didn’t capture what’s replayed by the analog chain. It wouldn’t make sense he claims that.

            “ If you first capture those details and magic in DSD you can with the right technology preserve those details in PCM or analog.”

            It’s indeed hard to understand, why pure PCM (or analog) can’t capture what it can preserve (as you say). I appreciate that you say you don’t get that as well and anyway I believe you that DSD, converted forth and back to those formats it’s told to be far superior to, is still better than PCM used natively.

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