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

compact disc, dacs, mp3 players and streaming audio
Sterling1
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Re: Why can't digital sound as 'warm' as analog?

Post by Sterling1 » 07 Oct 2019 23:11

Counterpoint: I discovered an LP in my basement which I had not enjoyed for over 50 years, Barbara Streisand's People album. For grins and giggles I played the LP on my new Technics SL-1210GR fitted with a Shure V15V-MR/Jico SAS. Somewhat surprised, I thought this really sounds good, and, liking the music, I decided to digitize it and place it in my iTunes Library. All went well, except for one song, How Does the Wine Taste, which had a few annoying pops. I thought a remedy would be to download that particular song from iTunes and fit it into the album. Doing just that I realized the 256k download sounded much better than the LP in all manner that better could be discerned, with bass and detail standing out. This revelation now has me re-thinking the point, if any, to listening to LPs rather than just downloading the music from Apple Music. :wink:

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

Post by NOYB » 08 Oct 2019 00:45

The pops could probably be digitized out. I usually attack them individually rather than running the whole album through a de-clicker. But if the download is preferred then not much point. If the bit rate is sufficient then the lack of noise may be preferable to digitized vinyl. I have a few I'd prefer to have a CD to rip or high quality download of. But they don't exist.

I was lossless digitizing an album the other day and did a spot check against old 128 kpbs MP3 from early days of MP3. Noticed on a drum roll song intro that the MP3 seemed crisper sounding. I thought it must be due to the equipment/software used way back then. So made a WAV and 128 kbps MP3 from the new capture. Same result though. I'm not saying the MP3 is more accurate. Clearly it isn't and I'm not going to use it. It was just kind of interesting though.

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

Post by Sterling1 » 08 Oct 2019 16:22

NOYB wrote:
08 Oct 2019 00:45
The pops could probably be digitized out. I usually attack them individually rather than running the whole album through a de-clicker. But if the download is preferred then not much point. If the bit rate is sufficient then the lack of noise may be preferable to digitized vinyl. I have a few I'd prefer to have a CD to rip or high quality download of. But they don't exist.

I was lossless digitizing an album the other day and did a spot check against old 128 kpbs MP3 from early days of MP3. Noticed on a drum roll song intro that the MP3 seemed crisper sounding. I thought it must be due to the equipment/software used way back then. So made a WAV and 128 kbps MP3 from the new capture. Same result though. I'm not saying the MP3 is more accurate. Clearly it isn't and I'm not going to use it. It was just kind of interesting though.
Yes, I can isolate pops to filter them out without application of the pop filter to the entire album. I mentioned the event as what made me see more acutely that AAC downloads from iTunes are pretty awesome, making the time and expense of ripping LPs a questionable effort.

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

Post by BirdsOf-Fire » 09 Oct 2019 03:13

Digital recordings are smoothed out "snap shots" of music. An ordinary CD has 22,100 snap shots per second of music. Mr. Nakamichi said that their were audible artifacts before and after each snap shot. He designed a system that muted the output of the Digital to Analog converters 44,200 times a second. Those Nakamichi CD players have not lost a single penny of their value. Even ones that are "broken for parts or repair" sell for $50 or more. Another famous DA converter from the first wave of Digital music was the Proceed PDP. It sold for the astronomical price of $1500 in 1983. It used Burr-Brown 16bit DA converters that had the least significant bit hand adjusted at the factory. The output section was an NEC car stereo power amplifier chip (one for each channel) cranked down to line level voltage. Cranking down the NEC chips to line level enabled Proceed to "take the cream off the top" of the car stereo power amplifier chips, and leave the distortion behind.

Analog recordings work differently. They are an electrical or physical representation of the shape of the pressure differences striking your eardrums. Since those differences are a never ending flow of pressure differences, analog tape is an magnetic model of that flow. Phonograph records are a physical representation of that flow. Turn off the air conditioner, fans, and let the dog out. Set the phonograph needle into the groove. Put your ear close to the record. The sound is there. You are listening to the unamplified physical model of the original sound. Since that phonograph record has a physical model of the original sound in the groove, all your phonograph needle, cartridge, preamp, power amp, and speakers are doing is making that physical model louder. Since there are no "snap shots" every moment of the music is contained in that groove. No matter how many snap shots per second a digital recording takes, it will not be the smooth unbroken flow that the original music contained. DVD audio? 48,000 snap shots per second; it is better, but it still isn't an unbroken flow. HDCD audio? 96,000 snap shots per second! That's a lot of snap shots, but it still isn't an unbroken flow.

And that is the bottom line. No digital recording will ever sound as smooth and mellow as a phonograph record, ever. A snap shot is a snap shot. No matter how many you take, they are just a pile of snap shots. A phonograph record is an unbroken representation of the flow of the music. It is just that simple.

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

Post by Sunwire » 09 Oct 2019 03:45

If all of that is true, why can't I hear any difference between a record and a digital recording I make of that record?

Look at the waveform coming out of a CD player or other high resolution digital source. It is just as smooth and unbroken as the waveform coming out of a phono preamp.

Do you hear "snapshots" when you listen to digitally encoded music?
I don't.

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

Post by Vinylfreak86 » 09 Oct 2019 09:47

If we look at technical specifications of a process, then yes listening a vinyl means listening continuous record of a music played at a natural speed. Listening a CD means listening many different independent digital points in a second. But development of a technology made that possible, and human ear cannot hear that process. That is the reason why technology of a "grammophone record" was invented much earlier than a technology of a compact disc and other digital processing of a music. But with the lack of resources in the future and more eco-friendly production, vinyl and turntable have its advantage over CD and complex digital machines with a lot of heavy metals inside.

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

Post by Sterling1 » 09 Oct 2019 12:56

Sunwire wrote:
09 Oct 2019 03:45
If all of that is true, why can't I hear any difference between a record and a digital recording I make of that record?

Look at the waveform coming out of a CD player or other high resolution digital source. It is just as smooth and unbroken as the waveform coming out of a phono preamp.

Do you hear "snapshots" when you listen to digitally encoded music?
I don't.
Sunwire, please forgive my platitudes but I like your attitude, common sense, and critical thinking. My experience with it all is that of yours and my experience goes back to my days producing radio commercials on reel to reel over 40 years ago just at the dawn of digital. Digital was a godsend, leading to spliceless editing, and material distribution by email. All good then and really great today, quality and convenience at your finger tips to instantly enjoy anything that has ever been recorded. :D

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

Post by Sterling1 » 09 Oct 2019 13:00

Vinylfreak86 wrote:
09 Oct 2019 09:47
If we look at technical specifications of a process, then yes listening a vinyl means listening continuous record of a music played at a natural speed. Listening a CD means listening many different independent digital points in a second. But development of a technology made that possible, and human ear cannot hear that process. That is the reason why technology of a "grammophone record" was invented much earlier than a technology of a compact disc and other digital processing of a music. But with the lack of resources in the future and more eco-friendly production, vinyl and turntable have its advantage over CD and complex digital machines with a lot of heavy metals inside.
There is only one advantage. When the electricity goes out, you can play 78's on a wind-up record player. :lol:

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

Post by NOYB » 09 Oct 2019 18:25

Sterling1 wrote:
09 Oct 2019 13:00
There is only one advantage. When the electricity goes out, you can play 78's on a wind-up record player. :lol:
[/quote]
My notebook has a battery that lasts all day.
My smartphone also has a long lasting battery.
Then there is also the motor vehicles.

Also the snapshot take is an over simplification.

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

Post by Issuesman666 » 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?''.

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

Post by TubularBell » 13 Oct 2019 15:10

https://books.google.fi/books?hl=fi&lr= ... &q&f=false

Chapters 2 and 3. You are not listening snapshots put back to back with digital.
These digital vs analog discussions would be much more meaningful, if people had any idea digital actually works...

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

Post by Sterling1 » 13 Oct 2019 17:07

NOYB wrote:
09 Oct 2019 18:25
Sterling1 wrote:
09 Oct 2019 13:00
There is only one advantage. When the electricity goes out, you can play 78's on a wind-up record player. :lol:
My notebook has a battery that lasts all day.
My smartphone also has a long lasting battery.
Then there is also the motor vehicles.

Also the snapshot take is an over simplification.
[/quote] My comment was regarding the only advantage of vinyl over digital.

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

Post by Shadowman82 » 14 Oct 2019 21:19

Geez this thread has kind of become like a merry go around .

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

Post by Gravitar8 » 14 Oct 2019 21:21

Agree this is a good analogy (although not really an analogy since this is indeed the difference...physical creation of captured sound that is amplified versus something else...math). I think those who 'don't get' the LP argument should spend some time researching the history of recorded sound and in particular, pay attention to Thomas Edison and Graham Alexander Bell's notions and motivations behind capturing sound. Though I am sure that both would if still alive, own digital systems I think they would stand by their analog manifestos. I know I would.

BirdsOf-Fire wrote:
09 Oct 2019 03:13
Digital recordings are smoothed out "snap shots" of music. An ordinary CD has 22,100 snap shots per second of music. Mr. Nakamichi said that their were audible artifacts before and after each snap shot. He designed a system that muted the output of the Digital to Analog converters 44,200 times a second. Those Nakamichi CD players have not lost a single penny of their value. Even ones that are "broken for parts or repair" sell for $50 or more. Another famous DA converter from the first wave of Digital music was the Proceed PDP. It sold for the astronomical price of $1500 in 1983. It used Burr-Brown 16bit DA converters that had the least significant bit hand adjusted at the factory. The output section was an NEC car stereo power amplifier chip (one for each channel) cranked down to line level voltage. Cranking down the NEC chips to line level enabled Proceed to "take the cream off the top" of the car stereo power amplifier chips, and leave the distortion behind.

Analog recordings work differently. They are an electrical or physical representation of the shape of the pressure differences striking your eardrums. Since those differences are a never ending flow of pressure differences, analog tape is an magnetic model of that flow. Phonograph records are a physical representation of that flow. Turn off the air conditioner, fans, and let the dog out. Set the phonograph needle into the groove. Put your ear close to the record. The sound is there. You are listening to the unamplified physical model of the original sound. Since that phonograph record has a physical model of the original sound in the groove, all your phonograph needle, cartridge, preamp, power amp, and speakers are doing is making that physical model louder. Since there are no "snap shots" every moment of the music is contained in that groove. No matter how many snap shots per second a digital recording takes, it will not be the smooth unbroken flow that the original music contained. DVD audio? 48,000 snap shots per second; it is better, but it still isn't an unbroken flow. HDCD audio? 96,000 snap shots per second! That's a lot of snap shots, but it still isn't an unbroken flow.

And that is the bottom line. No digital recording will ever sound as smooth and mellow as a phonograph record, ever. A snap shot is a snap shot. No matter how many you take, they are just a pile of snap shots. A phonograph record is an unbroken representation of the flow of the music. It is just that simple.

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

Post by BirdsOf-Fire » 15 Oct 2019 03:50

Of course I "hear" the snapshots. Everyone does. That's how digital music works. You only hear what is contained in the snapshots. That isn't the point. The point is that everyone DOESN'T hear the missing music between the snapshots. You don't, I don't, nobody does. That music is MISSING.

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