why put digital onto vinyl ?

duff beer dragon Dec 11, 2004

  1. duff beer dragon

    duff beer dragon Junior Members

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    Just wondering - I like vinyl and was about to go and get a proper turntable for playing records (until I realised that turntable alone is out of my budget, and the ones I can afford are the same as the ones I have on old stereos, bought before they stopped putting tunetables as standard on them).....are there any actual advantages to the sound quality tho'?

    Saying you went and shelled out and bought the player and the amp(s) and speakers - is there a point to putting digitally made data onto records ; live recordings yes - of instruments that give off harmonics, those can benefit from analogue ......... but then that reminds of this -

    aren't most amps digital for ages now anyway?

    so isn't even putting vinyl or maybe even tape thru a digital amp losing any of it's analogue quality?


    by harmonics I mean if you play a string on an electric guitar for example, it will also give off all kinds of other tones apart from the note or chord played ; pure tones etc do not do that - it's just the one-note or one-chord or whatever signal that is emitted,

    in terms of digital and analogue - analouge is potentially at least (depending on sensitivity) able to pick up infinite increments of data, digital doesn't do that - it's just either 'on' or 'off', one or another.
     
  2. Wandering Kid

    Wandering Kid Junior Members

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    its not as simple as just on or off. if you take a sine wave generated from an analogue source it is continuous yes. a digital reproduction of that would look pretty much exactly the same but if you could zoom in it is like a line of dots (representing binary 1s and 0s). the vertical distance between the dots is the bitrate of the recording i think and the horizontal distance is the frequency. so a 96 khz recording has less than half the space between dots as a 44 khz digital recording so the curve is smoother and more accurate when compared to to an analogue recording of the same source.

    with a 24 bit, 96 khz recording the dots are close enough such that its indistinguishable to the human ear. a 16 bit, 44 kz recording is pretty much indistinguishable from an analogue recording of the same source because the human ear is only really sensitive between 20 and 20,000hz. a 44 khz recording has a theoretical range of 22,000 hz (look up nyquist theorum) whereas a 96khz recording has a theoretical range of 48,000 hz. so in both cases it isnt really worth thinking about it in relation to an analgue recording since both digital reproductions have a frequency response which exceed the limits of human hearing.

    the reason why electronics devices use digital circuitry instead of old analogue circuits is that its cheaper to manufacture and more reliable. if you've ever used an old analogue synth you'll notice how glitchy they can be with regards to their analogue circuits. they warm up for starters and every time you switch them on or leave them running for a long time the sound is never exactly the same. alot of people however really like this quality though and some people pay through their arse to get it (look up ebay prices for a roland tb-303 or a sequential circuits pro one). however, analogue circuits dont last that long. they burn out after a while (although it takes years. decades even). it also makes replacement circuits hard to find and very expensive when you do find them.

    vinyl turntables wont sound as good typically as a cd equivilant but it depends on alot of factors.

    1) dust or lint on the vinyl grooves produces pops and crackles when playing back. some people (like me) quite like this characteristic though.

    2) a record that is badly worn in will sound audibly inferior to a new vinyl or a cd (which never wears in). also, turntable styluses wear down. they wear slowly enough so that you dont notice a degradation in sound quality but if you change your stylus after years of using the same one you will be surprised at the sudden increase in clarity. a cd laser lens never deteriorates.

    3) it depends on how well the record that is being played is produced. a badly produced record will sound muddy/sibilant/just plain rubbish on cd or on vinyl. it doesnt matter which.

    4) it also depends on the amplifier you are running it through and the frequency response of the speakers/monitors/PAs that you are using. a speaker with a poor frequency response wont accurately represent the sound on the record regardless of whether its cd or vinyl. likewise, if the frequency response isnt as flat as possible, it can 'colour' the sound and give an inaccurate representation of the sound.

    putting a vinyl or cassette through a digital amp wont lose any audible quality that you can hear. unless you make a poor recording. people who claim to be able to audibly tell the difference between an analogue source and a digital copy of that source in 16 bit and 44 khz are most likely talking out of their arse. although you cant hear the frequencies that that are inaudible you still are sensitive to them to some degreel you notice they are there at least. i.e. you cant hear a dog whistle but you can sort of feel it. and likewise (particularly with dance tunes) sub bass is very noticeable when its there and its absense can sometimes kill a record. but if you put most sub basses through a spectrum analyser, most of it is above 35hz anyway so again, you will probably never be able to notice the difference. ultra sonic frequencies wont reproduce so well (because most monitor freq responses get a bit wobbly past 20,000hz and eventually tail off.) but thats ok cuz ultra high frequencies would just hurt your ears.
     
  3. duff beer dragon

    duff beer dragon Junior Members

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    What about if you're tripping or on something - since you brought up the 'inaudible to human hearing' factor -

    you can hear a lot more that you don't normally hear if you are tripping, I don't even like the music that I like sober, drinking or smoking, if I am tripping - it sounds shit. ( obviously I'll try testing that again, I don't think it means the music ain't good, it means that I'm already like that when I'm tripping so it conflicts with the trip )

    As in club/dance music to me is only good if I am not tripping - that might have something to do with it.......The Beatles Sgt. Pepper album is one that has sounds on the end of it that are only audible if you are tripping.

    In any case, just because you can't percieve something never means that it's not affecting you.


    On that CDs don't wear thing - I don't think that's true! They scratch, and a lot of CD players die because they start skipping. The lens is probably fine but the scanning won't be. I don't mean if you are one of those people that puts fingerprints on your CDs because you don't handle them properly, or if you dropped your stereo - I mean if you look after your stuff. Playing a CD scratches it, and many players wind up doing that skipping bits of data thing - I've even heard that happen on the radio, I don't just mean people I know and other stuff like that.


    What about the harmonics and overtones? I think that's why people go for analogue, or acoustic if they really get pissed off having their ears burned.
     
  4. Wandering Kid

    Wandering Kid Junior Members

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    tripping doesnt make your ears increase their ability to pick up sound. that always stays the same. your ear was built that way. tripping just changes the way your brain deal with stimulus so you notice things about the sound which you dont conventionally.

    i did say that although you cant hear certain inaudible frequencies, you do notice that they are there. if you were to keep blowing a dog whistle close to me for several minutes, my ears would start to ache. if i was tripping whilst you were blowing a dog whistle next to me i still wouldnt be able to hear the dog whistle because my ear is physiologically the same as it was before, although it would probably wig me out and i could probably be more easily convinced that im hearing something and i would think it makes more sense. or it might be hilarious. i have no idea. ive never tripped with someone blowing a dog whistle into my ear.

    but at the end of the day, i cant hear it. i do notice something is there. its hurting my ears. you are hardly gonna shell out money for a pair of speakers that can reproduce dangerously high frequencies. you are hardly gonna buy records that have been equalised so they have so much top end that your ears start splitting after listening for 10 seconds.

    if a cd has finger prints all over it, it wont degrade the quality of the music on the cd. if there are smudges and/or scratches that damage some of the pits on the surface of the disc, the cd will skip because you have fucked some of the binary code on the disc that equates to the digital waveform of the music on it. it just wont play.

    whereas on a record player, a badly worn down stylus has a poorer frequency response than a new one. you dont notice the degradation when you are mixing over like a year but when you change a worn down stylus for a new one its surprising how much crisper hihats sound in comparison.

    a cd lens doesnt degrade in this way. a scratched lens wont have an impaired ability to pick up frequencies above 15,000hz, it just wont be able to read a cd properly because it cant focus the laser light onto the disc without refracting/dispersing. you can fuck it up by scratching it sure. but it'll just skip a cd or not play at all. the stuff that it does play will be perfectly accurate, it'll just play it fucked up.

    harmonies are made with audible frequencies. so far, nobody has tried to make harmonies with a pitch so high or so low that you cant audibly make it out. thats just silly. an electric guitar through an amp with digital components has no less of an ability to play harmonies on it than an acoustic guitar. you may even notice more detail in the sound of the electric because you can preamp it to something totally insane on a huge PA. you notice more of the texture of the sound when its played louder (to a point. obviously when it gets unbearable you've gone too far.)
     
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