Why can't digital sound as 'warm' as analog?

compact disc, dacs, mp3 players and streaming audio
Pure_brew
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Re: Why can't digital sound as 'warm' as analog?

Post by Pure_brew » 22 Oct 2019 13:14

Tonybro wrote:
22 Oct 2019 09:55
NOYB wrote:
22 Oct 2019 02:31
The masses just want to listen to the music. So inconvenient vinyl is out and convenient digital is in. So shall it forevermore be. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3ta4T9tIUM
I'm going to be facetious now and say, the masses, especially the young masses, just want to isolate themselves from their surroundings and will have any old noise going at it so they can facebook, snapchat, instagram to their hearts content.

Young people particularly have no comprehension of the potential quality of playback systems and sources - even digital. They'll just consume in whatever form/quality it is delivered. Variety in and of music is dying because of it. There is a link somewhere on here pointing to academic studies indicating as such due to the lack of originality in current music.
Not saying this isn't true but how different is it really compared to average household in decades gone by? Most people I knew had the same old cabinet style stereo for years, stacked up a bunch of records for playback, and were usually doing something else while the music was playing. The main activity in improving sound was replacing a broken needle.

Kids were lucky to have some hand me downs, or maybe a boom-box that dad pulled out from behind the couch on Christmas day. The appreciation of music was primarily what ever the radio fed you. Kids got older and talked on the phone - a lot.

I personally think modern access is pretty amazing, and there are lots of musicians out there trying to be original which only gets a bit tougher. My kids have introduced me to new stuff and likewise I've shared some old. And honestly, I can't think of a kid who wouldn't appreciate a nice stereo system. On the flip side, not to many adults have even had the experience of sitting down to hear what high-end 2 channel playback can even do.

Also- there is always crappy music around and gems in-between. I can imagine a personal hell where I have to buy and listen to every left over record at the local Goodwill for ever and ever.

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Re: Why can't digital sound as 'warm' as analog?

Post by Sterling1 » 22 Oct 2019 16:12

Pure_brew wrote:
22 Oct 2019 13:14
Tonybro wrote:
22 Oct 2019 09:55
NOYB wrote:
22 Oct 2019 02:31
The masses just want to listen to the music. So inconvenient vinyl is out and convenient digital is in. So shall it forevermore be. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3ta4T9tIUM
I'm going to be facetious now and say, the masses, especially the young masses, just want to isolate themselves from their surroundings and will have any old noise going at it so they can facebook, snapchat, instagram to their hearts content.

Young people particularly have no comprehension of the potential quality of playback systems and sources - even digital. They'll just consume in whatever form/quality it is delivered. Variety in and of music is dying because of it. There is a link somewhere on here pointing to academic studies indicating as such due to the lack of originality in current music.
Not saying this isn't true but how different is it really compared to average household in decades gone by? Most people I knew had the same old cabinet style stereo for years, stacked up a bunch of records for playback, and were usually doing something else while the music was playing. The main activity in improving sound was replacing a broken needle.

Kids were lucky to have some hand me downs, or maybe a boom-box that dad pulled out from behind the couch on Christmas day. The appreciation of music was primarily what ever the radio fed you. Kids got older and talked on the phone - a lot.

I personally think modern access is pretty amazing, and there are lots of musicians out there trying to be original which only gets a bit tougher. My kids have introduced me to new stuff and likewise I've shared some old. And honestly, I can't think of a kid who wouldn't appreciate a nice stereo system. On the flip side, not to many adults have even had the experience of sitting down to hear what high-end 2 channel playback can even do.

Also- there is always crappy music around and gems in-between. I can imagine a personal hell where I have to buy and listen to every left over record at the local Goodwill for ever and ever.
There used to be 14 Audio Specialty Shops in my city. Now, there are none, just a Best Buy store; and, this store has no place to sit down to listen to high-end 2 channel playback. Why no interest at the store to present "Stereo" equipment, not enough local market for it. It's why on-line has become the way to get outfitted for stereo. Thing is, on-line does not create a market, as would be probable when general consumers have an encounter with stereo, which fires the imagination. For sure it's a catch 22. Build it and they will come is not what Best Buy can afford these days.

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Re: Why can't digital sound as 'warm' as analog?

Post by Vinylfreak86 » 22 Oct 2019 19:09

Sterling1 wrote:
22 Oct 2019 16:12
There used to be 14 Audio Specialty Shops in my city. Now, there are none, just a Best Buy store; and, this store has no place to sit down to listen to high-end 2 channel playback. Why no interest at the store to present "Stereo" equipment, not enough local market for it. It's why on-line has become the way to get outfitted for stereo. Thing is, on-line does not create a market, as would be probable when general consumers have an encounter with stereo, which fires the imagination. For sure it's a catch 22. Build it and they will come is not what Best Buy can afford these days.
This is serious problem of a modern internet era. When I want to buy a new audio equipment it is practically impossible to go to a physical store and test it. Maybe if I would go to neighbouring Austria or Hungary. Then I have to order things from web and my decision is only based on web reviews of this item. :o When I am buying new CD`s and vinyl I don`t just order them on webshop page, but sent a message to a seller and ask him which release is it and if he can order one different. Physically I can only buy in our capitol city.

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Re: Why can't digital sound as 'warm' as analog?

Post by Sterling1 » 22 Oct 2019 20:31

Vinylfreak86 wrote:
22 Oct 2019 19:09
Sterling1 wrote:
22 Oct 2019 16:12
There used to be 14 Audio Specialty Shops in my city. Now, there are none, just a Best Buy store; and, this store has no place to sit down to listen to high-end 2 channel playback. Why no interest at the store to present "Stereo" equipment, not enough local market for it. It's why on-line has become the way to get outfitted for stereo. Thing is, on-line does not create a market, as would be probable when general consumers have an encounter with stereo, which fires the imagination. For sure it's a catch 22. Build it and they will come is not what Best Buy can afford these days.
This is serious problem of a modern internet era. When I want to buy a new audio equipment it is practically impossible to go to a physical store and test it. Maybe if I would go to neighbouring Austria or Hungary. Then I have to order things from web and my decision is only based on web reviews of this item. :o When I am buying new CD`s and vinyl I don`t just order them on webshop page, but sent a message to a seller and ask him which release is it and if he can order one different. Physically I can only buy in our capitol city.
Yep, In my city, Louisville, KY I used to be able to enjoy visits to hi-fi shops no more than 5 or 6 miles at most from my residence. Now, for that experience, I'd need to drive two hundred miles. And, for JBL auditioning it would end up being a trip requiring an overnight stay, requiring a van rental to take home the speakers purchased.

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Re: Why can't digital sound as 'warm' as analog?

Post by Issuesman666 » 22 Oct 2019 23:57

It is simply not profitable to maintain many traditional stores in the modern era.

Now it's online recommendations or travel far to audition gear.

No sense in lamenting about how it used to be......

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Re: Why can't digital sound as 'warm' as analog?

Post by NOYB » 23 Oct 2019 01:31

Issuesman666 wrote:
22 Oct 2019 23:57
It is simply not profitable to maintain many traditional stores in the modern era.

Now it's online recommendations or travel far to audition gear.

No sense in lamenting about how it used to be......
If you had to choose between the past and the present which would it be? The past seems simpler. But the present seems to have broader exposer and more capabilities through technology.

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Re: Why can't digital sound as 'warm' as analog?

Post by Pure_brew » 23 Oct 2019 07:50

NOYB wrote:
23 Oct 2019 01:31
Issuesman666 wrote:
22 Oct 2019 23:57
It is simply not profitable to maintain many traditional stores in the modern era.

Now it's online recommendations or travel far to audition gear.

No sense in lamenting about how it used to be......
If you had to choose between the past and the present which would it be? The past seems simpler. But the present seems to have broader exposer and more capabilities through technology.
I wonder if people missed going down to the local radio shop to get a charged battery so they could listen to the radio on the weekends - and chewing up those 3 minutes on their Victrola's. I'm sure someone did lol.

But anyway, I worked for 3 a/v companies that no longer exist and watched brands fade away or vanish completely. But it's not just audio- it's all retail that changed.

One place I miss is Radio shack for the mere convenience for parts, but even then it was still pretty limited compared to online stock.

I guess as we progress there's going to be good and bad mixed together always. (Plus nostalgia and the older generation complaining about the new)

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Re: Why can't digital sound as 'warm' as analog?

Post by Vinylfreak86 » 23 Oct 2019 11:42

NOYB wrote:
23 Oct 2019 01:31
Issuesman666 wrote:
22 Oct 2019 23:57
It is simply not profitable to maintain many traditional stores in the modern era.

Now it's online recommendations or travel far to audition gear.

No sense in lamenting about how it used to be......
If you had to choose between the past and the present which would it be? The past seems simpler. But the present seems to have broader exposer and more capabilities through technology.
Today you can order products from different countries, that is a huge plus of a modern era. And you can compare prices on the web, not to pay too much at the end for the same product. But when you want to test a product you are at the black corner, unlike you go to a hifi store for super rich, to test a turntable for 30.000$ or standalone DAC for 700$. :shock:

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Re: Why can't digital sound as 'warm' as analog?

Post by joedisco » 24 Oct 2019 23:07

https://secure.aes.org/forum/pubs/journal/?ID=2

Unfortunately it is not freely available but you can read the abstract and the few comments below are interesting.

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Re: Why can't digital sound as 'warm' as analog?

Post by Erin1 » 25 Oct 2019 03:44

Vinylfreak86 wrote:
21 Oct 2019 22:03
JoeE SP9 wrote:
21 Oct 2019 21:33
The dynamic range of 16 bit digital signals (CD) is 96dB. The absolute maximum possible from the best LP is ~70dB.
Technically correct. I don`t know how to say it in english, but with dynamic range I meant something else. The whole power of sound is much more agressive, because when I listen a vinyl in my room I can feel vibrations on a wooden table or on floor made of wooden boards. When I listen a CD, it is not so detectable. But only a player and a format are different, other things are the same.
Actually, the mastering of vinyl and cd is usually very different. Vinyl sounds the way it does because of the multiband compressors and high frequency limiters (and de-essers) used in line prior to the cutting head. This gives snare drums a thick punchy sound, and makes cymbals sit nicely in the background without overpowering the sound. Mid bass seems louder due to the multiband compressors that cut the ultra low frequencies but boost the mid bass relative to the mids. This gives you the vibrations you feel. CD / digital would sound exactly this way if the signal path to the final product was identical.
So, yes vinyl probably is "warmer" for the aforementioned reasons, but this does not make it superior, just different.

I have often wondered why CDs are not mastered using the same tools as the vinyl. Just tap the audio before the cutting head and viola!

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Re: Why can't digital sound as 'warm' as analog?

Post by Erin1 » 25 Oct 2019 04:06

joedisco wrote:
24 Oct 2019 23:07
https://secure.aes.org/forum/pubs/journal/?ID=2

Unfortunately it is not freely available but you can read the abstract and the few comments below are interesting.
It is interesting. I've quoted that on other fora before. Having done my own tests and digital recordings of vinyl I mostly agree that digital recording will capture perfectly whatever is put into the recorder.
I think there is always a very small audible difference, but any differences are insignificant and unimportant.
Digital audio is a great advancement

To put differences in perspective - the first record off the press sounds different to the 2000th record off the press due to wear of the stamper.

Also DMM (direct metal mastering) sounds far more accurate than acetate cutting. The bass is much tighter and faster sounding with DMM and everything sounds clearer. There is also no pre or post echo with DMM.

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Re: Why can't digital sound as 'warm' as analog?

Post by NOYB » 31 Oct 2019 08:12

Issuesman666 wrote:
10 Oct 2019 23:31
NOYB wrote:
09 Oct 2019 18:25
Sterling1 wrote:
09 Oct 2019 13:00


Also the snapshot take is an over simplification.
A massive oversimplification indeed.

The question is ''Does it matter to the human ear or can we discern the differences by listening?''.
Nyquist-Shannon; The Backbone of Digital Sound
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWjdWCePgvA

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Re: Why can't digital sound as 'warm' as analog?

Post by Erin1 » 01 Nov 2019 11:07

NOYB wrote:
31 Oct 2019 08:12
Issuesman666 wrote:
10 Oct 2019 23:31
NOYB wrote:
09 Oct 2019 18:25


Also the snapshot take is an over simplification.
A massive oversimplification indeed.

The question is ''Does it matter to the human ear or can we discern the differences by listening?''.
Nyquist-Shannon; The Backbone of Digital Sound
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWjdWCePgvA
What exactly are you getting at?
The snapshot is "good enough" and by that I mean extremely good even to the point that many people can't telling the difference between straight analogue and an AD to DA signal path. Even if a difference is detected, it may not mean that digital is worse - just slightly different.

Analogue recording is itself not perfect and has many losses.
Perfection does not exist in this world, not anywhere. Nothing, absolutely nothing is perfect. There is no perfect car, nor aeroplane, nor boat. No perfect medical treatment. No perfect job. No perfect husband/wife. No perfect day.

So hopefully, point made, coming back to digital audio, it has a lot less disadvantages than analogue audio, and many more advantages, which should be widely known.

Vinyl records have one good advantage as an archival format, but that's about it.
But even so, this doesn't make it perfect, it's just a useful back-up.

Of course anyone is free to enjoy doing whatever they like, but to assume their way is correct and someone else's way is wrong and need to try convincing others is missing the point - possibly of life itself.

If the point of saying some analogue waveform is not 100% faithfully captured buy an AD converter is to criticise digital audio, may as just come out and say "I don't like it" and to that I say OK. Don't like it then. Don't listen to it. Nobody is forcing you.
My personal opinion is that digital audio is awesome, and I prefer it to vinyl.

Back in the time before digital audio the deficiencies of vinyl annoyed me. I used to wonder why nobody had invented a disc that didn't wear out, and why there wasn't a way of preventing clicks and pops. I couldn't stand having to buy a new stylus because the old one had worn out.
I only played records to hear the music, they serve no other purpose. Yes, they have larger covers. But I didn't buy the record FOR the cover art.

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Re: Why can't digital sound as 'warm' as analog?

Post by Sterling1 » 01 Nov 2019 11:44

Erin1 wrote:
01 Nov 2019 11:07
NOYB wrote:
31 Oct 2019 08:12
Issuesman666 wrote:
10 Oct 2019 23:31


A massive oversimplification indeed.

The question is ''Does it matter to the human ear or can we discern the differences by listening?''.
Nyquist-Shannon; The Backbone of Digital Sound
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWjdWCePgvA
What exactly are you getting at?
The snapshot is "good enough" and by that I mean extremely good even to the point that many people can't telling the difference between straight analogue and an AD to DA signal path. Even if a difference is detected, it may not mean that digital is worse - just slightly different.

Analogue recording is itself not perfect and has many losses.
Perfection does not exist in this world, not anywhere. Nothing, absolutely nothing is perfect. There is no perfect car, nor aeroplane, nor boat. No perfect medical treatment. No perfect job. No perfect husband/wife. No perfect day.

So hopefully, point made, coming back to digital audio, it has a lot less disadvantages than analogue audio, and many more advantages, which should be widely known.

Vinyl records have one good advantage as an archival format, but that's about it.
But even so, this doesn't make it perfect, it's just a useful back-up.

Of course anyone is free to enjoy doing whatever they like, but to assume their way is correct and someone else's way is wrong and need to try convincing others is missing the point - possibly of life itself.

If the point of saying some analogue waveform is not 100% faithfully captured buy an AD converter is to criticise digital audio, may as just come out and say "I don't like it" and to that I say OK. Don't like it then. Don't listen to it. Nobody is forcing you.
My personal opinion is that digital audio is awesome, and I prefer it to vinyl.

Back in the time before digital audio the deficiencies of vinyl annoyed me. I used to wonder why nobody had invented a disc that didn't wear out, and why there wasn't a way of preventing clicks and pops. I couldn't stand having to buy a new stylus because the old one had worn out.
I only played records to hear the music, they serve no other purpose. Yes, they have larger covers. But I didn't buy the record FOR the cover art.
DITTO!

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Re: Why can't digital sound as 'warm' as analog?

Post by Vinylfreak86 » 01 Nov 2019 11:48

Erin1 wrote:
01 Nov 2019 11:07

Back in the time before digital audio the deficiencies of vinyl annoyed me. I used to wonder why nobody had invented a disc that didn't wear out, and why there wasn't a way of preventing clicks and pops. I couldn't stand having to buy a new stylus because the old one had worn out.
First it is not possible, because of the mechanical process. Second, not wearing out doesn`t go together with a capitalistic ideology, where things have to spoil to buy new ones.
But is interesting, CD doesn`t wear out and they are selling new and new reissues. Do people think that new reissue sounds better and they throw the old one away or sell it? :wink: Because otherwise there would be no market for so many reissues on a CD.

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