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

compact disc, dacs, mp3 players and streaming audio
Gravitar8
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Re: Why can't digital sound as 'warm' as analog?

Post by Gravitar8 » 14 Aug 2019 00:26

I think you might be searching for the "Why can't DJ's sound as 'warm' as live bands?" forum thread ;)
Shadowman82 wrote:
13 Aug 2019 23:29
I totally get why DJs love to use MP3s , certainly way more convenient than lugging at bunch of CDs or records around .

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

Post by Sterling1 » 14 Aug 2019 10:36

Shadowman82 wrote:
12 Aug 2019 23:25
Again on my home stereo I can tell the difference between 320kbps MP3s and CDs but for example on my PC it does become more difficult to tell them apart . Makes sense MP3s were designed to sound fine on equipment with smaller speakers and not on hi-fi equipment . That's why they take some stuff out in the bass frequencies because most people do not listen to MP3s on big stereos that can do that kind of bass .
I enjoy dance music. Much of this is not produced on vinyl or even CD, just MP3 download. It's all got more bass than you can handle. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYyEyiW7rJY

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

Post by XJ99 » 14 Aug 2019 15:23

Shadowman82 wrote:
13 Aug 2019 23:29
I totally get why DJs love to use MP3s , certainly way more convenient than lugging at bunch of CDs or records around .
With out a doubt! =D>

But vinyl nights will start to pay off.. :mrgreen:

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

Post by Shadowman82 » 15 Aug 2019 00:35

I enjoy dance music. Much of this is not produced on vinyl or even CD, just MP3 download. It's all got more bass than you can handle.
yeah it's loud alright , mastered like a big wall of sound . Typical mastering for downloads of lesser quality .

Now this is much better sound quality . Notice all of you Vinyl background noise haters how you can actually only really hear the background noise on the more quiet beginning part of the song and when the song fades out .

https://youtu.be/okCmrVYdIW4

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

Post by joedisco » 15 Aug 2019 23:30

This is a very interesting thread.
As for MP3, generally speaking, I can not tell the difference against CD if those MP3 are the ones I myself ripped from my CD.
Even 128k MP3 I have a hard time to tell the difference against CD. And thats true even for classical music.

There might be several reasons for this:
1)My audio system/headphones are not good enough so they are not revealing
2)My ears are getting old and limited.
3)I soon get too excited about music itself that I get lost inside music without paying much attention to details.
4)All of the above.

That said, most of the MP3 of dubious origin that I have heard (even if they are 256 or so) I can almost certainly tell the difference. And it is easy. The worst ones are the ones some people download and convert from Youtube videos. Those MP3 sound like crap, really.

I have a love/hate relationship with MP3 files.
They are very convenient. Most of the time Im listening to MP3 (and to some lesser extent to 44/16 FLAC files) because my car stereo only plays MP3 and no FLAC and at my job it is very convenient to have a small external HDD full of MP3 and 44/16 FLAC files.
But the very idea that some obscure algorythm in MP3 deletes frequencies, some sounds are losts on purpose, it deliberately deletes part of the music.... it is outrageous.
Just to think about it can get you mad.
In this way MP3 is a direct attack against the very idea of fidelity.
MP3 is antifidelity.
While there are huge efforts from the HIFI industry in order to get every single bit of music, MP3 simply ditches parts of the music. Just like that. Shamelessly.
However, to my ears, generally speaking, it sounds good.

As for vinyl, I love it. It sounds different from CD, I think I can tell the difference.
But I can not say it sounds better or worst than CD.
It just sounds different. Different in a pleasant way.
And I don't mind about cracks and pops as they add to the experience somehow.
For me it is not vinyl vs CD.
For me it is vinyl AND CD.

As for high resolution music, I have tried it but 90% of the time I can not tell the difference. So at this point Im not really very much interested in investing more money on HiRes files. My receiver and speakers are prepared for HiRes but I just can not tell the difference most of the time.
As I get older and older my chances of enjoying HiRes are vanishing.
I think I will never ever enjoy the benefits of HiRes music.

If I were a teenager I guess I might be telling you a different story...

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

Post by Shadowman82 » 15 Aug 2019 23:39

Oh yes I love MP3s for their convenience . And when I listen to music on my PC while doing something else , in my car or while I'm working out MP3s are perfectly fine but for actual sitting down and listening to music they won't do for me .

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

Post by Sterling1 » 16 Aug 2019 12:17

joedisco wrote:
15 Aug 2019 23:30
This is a very interesting thread.
As for MP3, generally speaking, I can not tell the difference against CD if those MP3 are the ones I myself ripped from my CD.
Even 128k MP3 I have a hard time to tell the difference against CD. And thats true even for classical music.

There might be several reasons for this:
1)My audio system/headphones are not good enough so they are not revealing
2)My ears are getting old and limited.
3)I soon get too excited about music itself that I get lost inside music without paying much attention to details.
4)All of the above.

That said, most of the MP3 of dubious origin that I have heard (even if they are 256 or so) I can almost certainly tell the difference. And it is easy. The worst ones are the ones some people download and convert from Youtube videos. Those MP3 sound like crap, really.

I have a love/hate relationship with MP3 files.
They are very convenient. Most of the time Im listening to MP3 (and to some lesser extent to 44/16 FLAC files) because my car stereo only plays MP3 and no FLAC and at my job it is very convenient to have a small external HDD full of MP3 and 44/16 FLAC files.
But the very idea that some obscure algorythm in MP3 deletes frequencies, some sounds are losts on purpose, it deliberately deletes part of the music.... it is outrageous.
Just to think about it can get you mad.
In this way MP3 is a direct attack against the very idea of fidelity.
MP3 is antifidelity.
While there are huge efforts from the HIFI industry in order to get every single bit of music, MP3 simply ditches parts of the music. Just like that. Shamelessly.
However, to my ears, generally speaking, it sounds good.

As for vinyl, I love it. It sounds different from CD, I think I can tell the difference.
But I can not say it sounds better or worst than CD.
It just sounds different. Different in a pleasant way.
And I don't mind about cracks and pops as they add to the experience somehow.
For me it is not vinyl vs CD.
For me it is vinyl AND CD.

As for high resolution music, I have tried it but 90% of the time I can not tell the difference. So at this point Im not really very much interested in investing more money on HiRes files. My receiver and speakers are prepared for HiRes but I just can not tell the difference most of the time.
As I get older and older my chances of enjoying HiRes are vanishing.
I think I will never ever enjoy the benefits of HiRes music.

If I were a teenager I guess I might be telling you a different story...
I like your post. It made me think about an incident I had with 24/192 at a time when I had the impression that if anyone today could discern 24/192 from the same music presented on something like an AAC file from a Mastered for iTunes music offering they could also hear a dog whistle. But, interestingly enough, while listening to iTunes AAC files via usb connection from laptop to my OPPO-205's DAC, which is set to up sample to 24/192, it appears I do hear more details. I first noticed this while listening to an early 60's DOO WOP song, Denise from Randy and the Rainbows as I recall. At any rate, while listening to that tune, I perceived I could distinguish tape splice edit points. This revelation has caused me to re-think 24/192.

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

Post by Gravitar8 » 16 Aug 2019 17:48

Except- i wonder if the audio engineers and producers and artists really want the casual listener to hear a tape splice...perhaps for archival listening or procedural listening. Can an argument be made that by being able to hear production process that were meant to be hidden, one can also hear 'deeper' into the music for things that were not meant to be hidden...
This to me is one of the conundrums of the digital file 'nuclear race'. It also keeps me firmly interested in focusing on LP playback.
I like your post. It made me think about an incident I had with 24/192 at a time when I had the impression that if anyone today could discern 24/192 from the same music presented on something like an AAC file from a Mastered for iTunes music offering they could also hear a dog whistle. But, interestingly enough, while listening to iTunes AAC files via usb connection from laptop to my OPPO-205's DAC, which is set to up sample to 24/192, it appears I do hear more details. I first noticed this while listening to an early 60's DOO WOP song, Denise from Randy and the Rainbows as I recall. At any rate, while listening to that tune, I perceived I could distinguish tape splice edit points. This revelation has caused me to re-think 24/192.

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

Post by NOYB » 16 Aug 2019 23:18

Sterling1 wrote:
16 Aug 2019 12:17
I like your post. It made me think about an incident I had with 24/192 at a time when I had the impression that if anyone today could discern 24/192 from the same music presented on something like an AAC file from a Mastered for iTunes music offering they could also hear a dog whistle. But, interestingly enough, while listening to iTunes AAC files via usb connection from laptop to my OPPO-205's DAC, which is set to up sample to 24/192, it appears I do hear more details. I first noticed this while listening to an early 60's DOO WOP song, Denise from Randy and the Rainbows as I recall. At any rate, while listening to that tune, I perceived I could distinguish tape splice edit points. This revelation has caused me to re-think 24/192.
What was the AAC encoding level?
Could it be an artifact of some sort? Maybe due to something having to do with resampling? I'd be more inclined to something in that direction.

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

Post by Roberto C2H3 » 17 Aug 2019 02:05

All sound is analog.

(Shamelessly re posting another member's wise post in another thread, in a galaxy, far, far, away, a long time ago... or something like that...)

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

Post by Sunwire » 17 Aug 2019 05:13

Roberto C2H3 wrote:
17 Aug 2019 02:05
All sound is analog.

(Shamelessly re posting another member's wise post in another thread, in a galaxy, far, far, away, a long time ago... or something like that...)
This is a common misunderstanding of the meaning of "analog" (or "analogue")
I think what you really mean is that sound is made of continuous waves.

Sound is sound.

It is not analogue.

In order to be "an analogue" it would need to be a representation of something else. But it's not, unless you count the sound imagined in someone's mind before they made the sound using physical means.

Sound is simply itself.

From Dictionary.com:
"analogue.
adjective
of or relating to a mechanism that represents data by measurement of a continuous physical variable, as voltage or pressure."

From Merriam Webster:
"1a : of, relating to, or being a mechanism or device in which information is represented by continuously variable physical quantities
Your speakers are analog technology in all its nearly century-old glory … . As the speakers get their signals from the cables, the drivers vibrate in a continual state of flux as the changing analog signals are fed to them. The drivers are presenting an analogy of what came from the original source, even if the source started off digital, such as a CD.
— Ron Goldberg"

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

Post by Roberto C2H3 » 17 Aug 2019 10:18

Sunwire wrote:
17 Aug 2019 05:13
Roberto C2H3 wrote:
17 Aug 2019 02:05
All sound is analog.

(Shamelessly re posting another member's wise post in another thread, in a galaxy, far, far, away, a long time ago... or something like that...)
I think what you really mean is that sound is made of continuous waves.
That is exactly what I mean. :)

Its interesting to note that our brain processes these continuous waves as samples, ignoring certain ones and interpreting others into, for example, music. That is the reason we do not constantly hear our pulse in the region of our inner ear, although it is there at all times whilst we are alive.

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

Post by Sterling1 » 17 Aug 2019 19:33

NOYB wrote:
16 Aug 2019 23:18
Sterling1 wrote:
16 Aug 2019 12:17
I like your post. It made me think about an incident I had with 24/192 at a time when I had the impression that if anyone today could discern 24/192 from the same music presented on something like an AAC file from a Mastered for iTunes music offering they could also hear a dog whistle. But, interestingly enough, while listening to iTunes AAC files via usb connection from laptop to my OPPO-205's DAC, which is set to up sample to 24/192, it appears I do hear more details. I first noticed this while listening to an early 60's DOO WOP song, Denise from Randy and the Rainbows as I recall. At any rate, while listening to that tune, I perceived I could distinguish tape splice edit points. This revelation has caused me to re-think 24/192.
What was the AAC encoding level?
Could it be an artifact of some sort? Maybe due to something having to do with resampling? I'd be more inclined to something in that direction.
The referenced iTunes purchase is a 256kbps AAC recording. The detail certainly does have something to do with up sampling to 24/192 since I do not hear that detail when playing these sorts of songs via Airplay at 16/44.1, or via Creative Sound Blaster X-FI HD up sampled to 24/96, and decoded by my Sony TA-E9000es prepro. I think if I had an original 45 I would not hear the detail there either. At any rate, I have a few MP3's on DAT at 16/48 and CD somewhere in my attic of radio commercials mastered on tape back in the mid 1980's. I remember the engineer splicing a lot of tape to put these particular commercials together. I cannot hear the edits on either CD or DAT. So, when I can find time I'm going to rip the DATs and CDs to iTunes and then playback filtering through the OPPO up sampling to 24/192 to see if that might reveal some of the edits.

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

Post by Shadowman82 » 17 Aug 2019 21:03

If we are talking about true analog music it would be a live concert with no amplifiers. processing or speakers with just analog instruments . But there is nothing wrong with digital as long as it is mastered well and at a high enough resolution .

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

Post by terry-a » 18 Aug 2019 14:36

Sunwire wrote:
17 Aug 2019 05:13
Roberto C2H3 wrote:
17 Aug 2019 02:05
All sound is analog.

(Shamelessly re posting another member's wise post in another thread, in a galaxy, far, far, away, a long time ago... or something like that...)
This is a common misunderstanding of the meaning of "analog" (or "analogue")
I think what you really mean is that sound is made of continuous waves.

Sound is sound.

It is not analogue.

In order to be "an analogue" it would need to be a representation of something else. But it's not, unless you count the sound imagined in someone's mind before they made the sound using physical means.

Sound is simply itself.

From Dictionary.com:
"analogue.
adjective
of or relating to a mechanism that represents data by measurement of a continuous physical variable, as voltage or pressure."

From Merriam Webster:
"1a : of, relating to, or being a mechanism or device in which information is represented by continuously variable physical quantities
Your speakers are analog technology in all its nearly century-old glory … . As the speakers get their signals from the cables, the drivers vibrate in a continual state of flux as the changing analog signals are fed to them. The drivers are presenting an analogy of what came from the original source, even if the source started off digital, such as a CD.
— Ron Goldberg"
This definition might suggest that everything is analog, accept for whatever the beginning/cause of everything is. The sound of screeching tires is a result of the vibration of rubber on pavement. The sound of my voice is the result of my vocal chords vibrating and my mouth making certain shapes. The sound of two branches rubbing together in the wind is the result of two branches rubbing together in the wind. The wind is caused by something. Whatever causes the wind is caused by something. Where does analog begin?

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