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Classic Recording Techniques for a High Resolution Future
Old 29th November 2018
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Classic Recording Techniques for a High Resolution Future

I found this AES sponsored presentation by D.W Fearn and the Hazelrigg Brothers fascinating. Their usage of the two AEA R88's for 4-track recording was pretty magical on playback. It sounded like a finished record to my ears. Of course, the Fearn Vt24/VT7/VT5 units and Tascam DSD128 linked recorders didn't hurt. But their technique was pretty special.

Old 30th November 2018
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Great! People who can play and also know recording gear tend to think the same; pcm audio is so-so. Nice vid.
Old 30th November 2018 | Show parent
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timesaver800W ➡️
Great! People who can play and also know recording gear tend to think the same; pcm audio is so-so. Nice vid.
For sure! Geoff and Goerge are super awesome. I am going to buy some of their DSD material for general listening pleasure. They use all Fearn equipment to record. And their stellar VLC-1's, which is a "Fearn-Lite" box with a really nice EQ.
Old 30th November 2018
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The vlc combo looks tempting for those of us who were bummed when Doug dropped production of the stellar vt15.
Old 2nd December 2018
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definitely sounds really good. A little too ambient for my tastes
Old 2nd December 2018
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There's a Merging Horus there too I think, on top of the rack stack behind the audience.

Not sure there's a thorough understanding of how digital audio works though. Zero crossings?

In the front of DSD or PCM there is an sampler (Delta Sigma Modulator). It is the same for DSD or PCM, and it determines the signal was this big at this time. Sound quality is defined by how accurate this sampler is, ie clock and voltage reference. This is identical whether DSD or PCM.

DSD or PCM are just encoders of the result of this sampler. PCM stores the values each sample, DSD stores the changes from one sample to the next. But the samples are acquired in the same way.

One wonders how accurate the clock and voltage reference is in a $800 Tascam DSD recorder?

Last edited by David Spearritt; 3rd December 2018 at 12:07 PM..
Old 2nd December 2018
  #7
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Everything is wrong in the above post. Amateur hour.
Old 3rd December 2018
  #8
Thanks for sharing AB!
Old 3rd December 2018 | Show parent
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt ➡️
There's a Merging Horus there too I think, on top of the rack stack behind the audience.

Not sure there's a thorough understanding of how digital audio works though. Zero crossings?

In the front of DSD or PCM there is an sampler (Delta Sigma Modulator). It is the same for DSD or PCM, and it determines the signal was this big at this time. Sound quality is defined by how accurate this sampler is, ie clock and voltage reference. This is identical whether DSD or PCM.

DSD or PCM are just encoders of the result of this sampler. PCM stores the values each sample, DSD stores the changes from one sample to the next. But the samples are acquired in the same way.

One wonders how accurate the clock and voltage reference is in a $800 Tascam DSD recorder?
DSD sounds totally different than PCM. So, I’m not sure what your post is trying to say. Even the $799 Tascam Recorder sounds really good to my ears. While it’s not on the level of the Merging boxes, it sounded really nice on this demo. (I was there and heard the playback myself)
Old 3rd December 2018 | Show parent
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell ➡️
DSD sounds totally different than PCM. So, I’m not sure what your post is trying to say. Even the $799 Tascam Recorder sounds really good to my ears. While it’s not on the level of the Merging boxes, it sounded really nice on this demo. (I was there and heard the playback myself)
i'm glad you wrote 'different' and not 'way better' or anything alike, at least not in your previous post - nevertheless, i'm not sure the technique by itselfs really adds/subtracts anything to/from analog much differently than pcm: maybe i should use my old tascam dsd/pcm recorder, rent another unit and compare them with one recording in dsd and the other one in pcm?



[maybe i should add that i went the dsd way for a couple of years (and sunk tons of money)...

i remember being shocked how well the tascam dsd recorder performed compared to the much more expensive meitner converters! - if the newer tascam gear builds and maybe even improves on the old recorders, it may indeed be very good: dsd doesn't need to be very expensive...
i noticed that some folks developed a small but exclusive business for dsd recording/distribution, so why not? i doubt though that dsd will be the leading format for high resolution recording in the future.

i eventually returned to pcm recording and MIXING, mostly at standard sampling frequency...]
Old 3rd December 2018 | Show parent
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
i'm glad you wrote 'different' and not 'way better' or anything alike, at least not in your previous post - nevertheless, i'm not sure the technique by itselfs really adds/subtracts anything to/from analog much differently than pcm: maybe i should use my old tascam dsd/pcm recorder, rent another unit and compare them with one recording in dsd and the other one in pcm?



[maybe i should add that i went the dsd way for a couple of years (and sunk tons of money)...

i remember being shocked how well the tascam dsd recorder performed compared to the much more expensive meitner converters! - if the newer tascam gear builds and maybe even improves on the old recorders, it may indeed be very good: dsd doesn't need to be very expensive...
i noticed though that some folks developed a small but exclusive business for dsd recording/distribution, so why not? i doubt though that dsd will be the leading format for high resolution recording in the future.

i eventually returned to pcm recording and MIXING, mostly at standard sampling frequency...]
You should absolutely compare and contrast! It’s what being a Gearslut is all about, ain’t it?

I will be doing the exact same thing when we get our Demo DA-3000 back in stock.

I plan to continue to use PCM but also DSD. That’s why I’m building a Merging Pyramix 11 system with a HAPI.
Old 3rd December 2018 | Show parent
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell ➡️
DSD sounds totally different than PCM.
Not sure it does, that was the point of my post. They share common very front ends, as the block diagrams of these modern chips show.

As Claude Cellier states, its basically indistinguishable, listen from 21:44.
YouTube

Quote:
Even the $799 Tascam Recorder sounds really good to my ears. While it’s not on the level of the Merging boxes, it sounded really nice on this demo. (I was there and heard the playback myself)
But how do you know that it was DSD responsible and not the ribbon mics and valve amps that you liked?

What a nice sounding Tascam recorder proves, I think, is that these modern chips that do DSD and PCM in the same chip sound better than the older really cheap PCM only chips that inhabited such machines in the past, due perhaps to the mandatory, superior clocks and voltage reference schemes required for DSD.
Old 3rd December 2018 | Show parent
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt ➡️
Not sure it does, that was the point of my post. They share common very front ends, as the block diagrams of these modern chips show.

As Claude Cellier states, its basically indistinguishable, listen from 21:44.
YouTube
I have not had the same experience, to my ears, DSD is very different. I am happy to disagree with you.

Quote:
But how do you know that it was DSD responsible and not the ribbon mics and valve amps that you liked?
Did I specifically say that? I don't think I did. I simply said I think the Tascam recorder sounds nice to my ears, [because I could really hear the nice equipment that Doug and the Hazelrigg brothers selected] If anything is true, I am praising their technique! But, you would have to hear the result first hand to understand my meaning. Or even identify with me.

My tongue in cheek statement that the Fearn equipment "didn't hurt either" was saying just that. But the real truth is that I personally felt that I could hear more of that equipment in this demo.

The DA3000 is certainly not as nice as the higher end converters from Merging Tech. But yea, it is very nice for this price.

Quote:
What a nice sounding Tascam recorder proves, I think, is that these modern chips that do DSD and PCM in the same chip sound better than the older really cheap PCM only chips that inhabited such machines in the past, due perhaps to the mandatory, superior clocks and voltage reference schemes required for DSD.
If you are making the statement that PCM and DSD formats sound identical, I really do not agree and we can quit quoting each other.
Old 3rd December 2018 | Show parent
  #14
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Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell ➡️
If you are making the statement that PCM and DSD formats sound identical, I really do not agree and we can quit quoting each other.
Fair enough. But one last point. Are you comparing high sample rate DSD with high sample rate PCM or high sample rate DSD (which it all is) with FS1 sample rate PCM? In other words, apples with apples?
Old 3rd December 2018 | Show parent
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt ➡️
Fair enough. But one last point. Are you comparing high sample rate DSD with high sample rate PCM or high sample rate DSD (which it all is) with FS1 sample rate PCM? In other words, apples with apples?
For whatever it may be worth,
At some point in the near future;
I will be comparing PCM and DSD formats using two separate Merging Hapi AD/DA interfaces. One connected to Pyramix 11 with the Premium AD and DA cards, and one connected to Another DAW like PT or Reaper or whatever at 192kHz sampling rate, using the Non-Premium Cards.

I plan to patch either a stereo source, like a mixdown, or a Stereo Microphone or maybe a single Source, like a Mono Microphone, into the DSD Equipt HAPI, and output the MULT DSUB of the First HAPI into the Second HAPI mic input, which will feed PT at 192kHz.

Is this test Acceptable for you?

It is apples and apples, IMHO
Old 3rd December 2018
  #16
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I will surely also compare the DA3000 to other converters.


Because that is what being a Gearslut is all about.


Old 3rd December 2018 | Show parent
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt ➡️
There's a Merging Horus there too I think, on top of the rack stack behind the audience.

Not sure there's a thorough understanding of how digital audio works though. Zero crossings?

In the front of DSD or PCM there is an sampler (Delta Sigma Modulator). It is the same for DSD or PCM, and it determines the signal was this big at this time. Sound quality is defined by how accurate this sampler is, ie clock and voltage reference. This is identical whether DSD or PCM.

DSD or PCM are just encoders of the result of this sampler. PCM stores the values each sample, DSD stores the changes from one sample to the next. But the samples are acquired in the same way.

One wonders how accurate the clock and voltage reference is in a $800 Tascam DSD recorder?
I'd like to agree strongly with Mr Spearritt here. Additionally, amid a presentation filled with much that is fascinating with regards to recording and mic history, Doug Fearn appears to propound a basic mistake in his understanding of sampling theory.

Seeking to give an example demonstrating the supposed limitations of PCM, Mr Fearn discusses (at around 32:09) a case of a 10khz sound being recorded using a sampling frequency of 20kHz, the latter being as determined by Nyquist, i.e. 10kHz being the maximum frequency that can be represented by recording using a sampling frequency of double that, of 20kHz. However, Mr Fearn goes on to say (and this is where he gets it wrong) that, with a sampling frequency of 20kHz, a 10kHz sine wave (say) will be only two points, so it will not sound like a sine wave at all - reduced to a 'triangle' by the 20kHz sampling frequency, as it were.

In fact, as the Nyquist-Shanning sampling theorem states, so long as all frequencies above half the sampling frequency are purged, it is possible to record a *continuous* sound wave with *complete fidelity* (in that bandwidth-limited space of frequencies up to half the sampling frequency). This idea is initially highly counter intuitive, but is a fundamental mathematical outcome of the removal of all frequencies above half the sampling rate. Anyone who wants to read of this in detail and get into the mathematics could do worse than start with these two sources:

Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem - Wikipedia

http://lavryengineering.com/pdfs/lav...ing-theory.pdf

Returning to Mr Fearn's example, the 10kHz sound with the 20kHz sampling frequency will be reproduced with complete fidelity and as a continuous wave form (not a series of dots between which straight lines or some arbitrary interpolation algorithm make the joins).

In CD audio, the same applies to frequencies up to 44.1/2 kHz, i.e. 22.05kHz.

I'd only add to Mr Spearritt's expert comments: indeed, the accuracy of the sampler is crucial. Also, the performance of the analogue filter (LPF) that is removing the unwanted frequencies above half Nyquist (N/2). No such filter can be 'perfect' in its accomplishing this task - it will introduce artifacts (phase shifts, some attenuation of frequencies a little below N/2, a little 'leakage' of frequencies a little over N/2...). Chez PCM, recording at 96kHz rather than 44.1 or 48kHz makes lots of sense, since these artifacts will occur way above even the range where some assert that - even if not perceivable - frequency content can have psycho-acoustic effects.

24 bit (for more dynamic range than we can ever take in) at 96kHz (such that any 'nasties' from the analogue LPF are kicked way out of the stadium) does the trick nicely. Any limitation in performance will be down to a sub-optimal sampler, but then DSD also relies on that same device...
Old 4th December 2018
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Truly this place is something else, what a scoop.
Old 4th December 2018
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The recording sounded great, albeit a little dark for my taste. (When I use ribbons I like to use a large passive HF eq boost). I really enjoyed the talk.

I have to say, those engineers at Tascam did a pretty good job with the DA-3000. I've used it heavily for mix down, and actually in a recent comparison with my Mytek Brooklyn ADC connected via SDIF3, the Tascam converters sounded a bit more cohesive and like the analogue at 5.6mhz, while the Mytek was better with the high frequencies. I was surprised to prefer the Tascam converters for most things, especially as the Brooklyn is so excellent with PCM. I do think Horus I heard at Puget Sound Studios is better, though.

When people argue about DSD it's usually about numbers, theory etc. Here's an easy way of thinking about it: With DSD you can simplify the AD and DA conversion by removing the Decimation and Reconstruction filter stages which are hard to get right in a cheap converter chip, and which pose some tradeoffs even in expensive designs. Fewer things in the signal path, less processing: different sound. On the same converters and same chipset it sounds markedly different from PCM at any sample rate. This is pretty easy to test on the DA-3000 with a mix or tape transfer. Even 24/352 (DXD), which Merging and DAD hyped a few years back, still doesn't sound like DSD using the same converters.
Old 4th December 2018 | Show parent
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanBSC ➡️
The recording sounded great, albeit a little dark for my taste. (When I use ribbons I like to use a large passive HF eq boost). I really enjoyed the talk.
I know what you mean, but it didn't sound dark to me in the control room. In fact, I found it had a lot of nice air to it. But yea, it was extremely smooth sounding. The Live Room there is amazing. I felt the room itself was a brighter sound. As someone pointed out, it's very ambient. The Performance was great! I was in the front row.

Quote:
I have to say, those engineers at Tascam did a pretty good job with the DA-3000. I've used it heavily for mix down, and actually in a recent comparison with my Mytek Brooklyn ADC connected via SDIF3, the Tascam converters sounded a bit more cohesive and like the analogue at 5.6mhz, while the Mytek was better with the high frequencies. I was surprised to prefer the Tascam converters for most things, especially as the Brooklyn is so excellent with PCM. I do think Horus I heard at Puget Sound Studios is better, though.
They really did. It has got Doug and the Hazelrigg bro's hooked! They love these things over many other options. I can see why as it seems pretty great with their technique -- To link multiple units together. No DAW, no futzing around with stuff. Just plug in and record. Playback and Capture the mix. And, this also speaks to its quality in that they have a lot of options at Doug's place. Radar and Other AD/DA converters.


Quote:
When people argue about DSD it's usually about numbers, theory etc. Here's an easy way of thinking about it: With DSD you can simplify the AD and DA conversion by removing the Decimation and Reconstruction filter stages which are hard to get right in a cheap converter chip, and which pose some tradeoffs even in expensive designs. Fewer things in the signal path, less processing: different sound. On the same converters and same chipset it sounds markedly different from PCM at any sample rate. This is pretty easy to test on the DA-3000 with a mix or tape transfer. Even 24/352 (DXD), which Merging and DAD hyped a few years back, still doesn't sound like DSD using the same converters.
I'm not going to get into arguments with naysayers over formats, but to those who are listening, I can respect their opinions. I will just choose not to engage with the argument types on the forum. Anyway, I totally agree with your last bit there. DXD [352.8k] does not get close to DSD sound.

Which is pretty mind blowing when using the premium Merging AD/DA converters.

But, what I do find pretty cool, is the ability to mix DSD files down with Pryamix 11 using a DXD editing session. I have extensively tested this method, against using just DSD alone -- and while its really nice, there is definitely some awesomeness lost in the process. Its a lot better than capturing DXD alone, however. Capturing DSD on the front end of any recording process seemes to make a nice difference.

I still think it is a good solution for mixing DSD files with PCM mixing/processing/editing capability inside the box. It's a viable option, [as it all depends on what you need and the sound quality you prefer] but the sound quality of the straight DSD256 capture and analog mixdown is simply stunning. DXD is certainly not as awesome as that. IMHO.

I am not sure how much I am interested in doing any straight to 352.8/DXD work, other than mixing down DSD files in a DXD session. Mostly because I think it is more similar to 192k, but a little broader and wider, also higher up in the image -- vertically speaking. It is like 192K is Steroid Flexing. I suppose that is why people use 384k. Double the fun! haha

I think its cool, but damn, the Merging Converters sound so good at 192k [and any rate for that matter] I am happy with that for acoustic music. And...I am happy with 44.1 with it too! I mainly use either 44.1 or 192K, for most client work.

But honestly, when I switch those boxes into DSD256, it sounds like a pure match made in heaven.
Old 4th December 2018 | Show parent
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mappee ➡️
Well yes someone should put money behind DSD multi-track recorder. I've experimented with the Korg 1000 and had mixed feedback. Speaking with a tech who claims to understand and says he can produce DSD his question was the same, where's the money?

As far as 50.00 audio files that is a hard sell.
Well, one example - with Pyramix Native Pro software you can record up to 16 channels of DSD256. And, it seems like linking multiple Tascam DA3000 machines is a pretty easy and cool way to work.

Secondly, DSD albums are being supplied by niche based services for people who enjoy listening to music with quality audio equipment. Maybe even a portable player and a nicer pair of headphones. I think there are a lot of these types of people in the world. The fact is, DSD enables the Hazelrigg brothers to sell their records, and actually make a profit. And to put the icing on the cake, they are actually delivering their full intent to you, the listener.
Old 4th December 2018
  #22
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I thought the recording sounded excellent. Not too dark for me or too ambient either. Had the perfect vibe I would expect for this style music.

The tone on each of the instruments is what really grabbed me. The depth and space was insane too! How many mics did they use all together? Curious.

I’d love to get a few more AEA mics and a Fearn as well! One day. I really liked what they were saying about using figure 8 in larger rooms.

I recently started using fig. 8 when I’m tracking vocals in my large room and it’s way more intimate and tighter than using cardioid to my surprise.
Old 4th December 2018 | Show parent
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Funny Cat ➡️
I thought the recording sounded excellent. Not too dark for me or too ambient either. Had the perfect vibe I would expect for this style music.

The tone on each of the instruments is what really grabbed me. The depth and space was insane too! How many mics did they use all together? Curious.

I’d love to get a few more AEA mics and a Fearn as well! One day. I really liked what they were saying about using figure 8 in larger rooms.

I recently started using fig. 8 when I’m tracking vocals in my large room and it’s way more intimate and tighter than using cardioid to my surprise.
@ Funny Cat , I am not sure how the performance recording for the video was done, or if they appended the DSD128 file to it. But I know they had a Soundfiield Microphone and a Brauner VM1 up to capture Doug speaking. I have a feeling these mics were captured to PCM in the control room. I can find out from John at Futura. Doug said he would provide the DSD example files for anyone interested in checking that out, it might be worthwhile to email them to get the files.

For the DSD128 recording - The two R88 ribbon mics they had were placed very interestingly!! They had one hovering over the piano, and the second one facing the upright, very close, while the rear picked up the drums. When they were both panned in the stereo mixdown - It seemed so natural to me, painting a vivid picture of the space with the musicians in it. The fact that the drums were in stereo, locking in with the piano, while the bass sat like a giant in the mono middle -- was truly awesome. I think this was my favorite part of the demo, to be honest. Hearing the gear was awesome, sure, but hearing their intent was downright magical. made me jealous!!
Old 4th December 2018
  #24
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@ Doc Mixwell

Yes! Exactly! The (ostensibly) odd mic positions had me very intrigued. I could only see two ribbon mics visible in the video but it really sounded like more. When you hear the sound it seems so “right”, to my ears at least and totally corresponds to what you’re seeing. I have to say, The piano capture was simply fantastic IMO. Thanks for sharing!
Old 4th December 2018 | Show parent
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell ➡️
Well, one example - with Pyramix Native Pro software you can record up to 16 channels of DSD256. And, it seems like linking multiple Tascam DA3000 machines is a pretty easy and cool way to work.

Secondly, DSD albums are being supplied by niche based services for people who enjoy listening to music with quality audio equipment. Maybe even a portable player and a nicer pair of headphones. I think there are a lot of these types of people in the world. The fact is, DSD enables the Hazelrigg brothers to sell their records, and actually make a profit. And to put the icing on the cake, they are actually delivering their full intent to you, the listener.
Do you know if they convert to PCM to edit/master and then convert back to DSD to distribute? Or do they work in Pyramid and stay DSD throughout? Thanks for sharing this, watched the whole thing!
Old 4th December 2018 | Show parent
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Issadore ➡️
Do you know if they convert to PCM to edit/master and then convert back to DSD to distribute? Or do they work in Pyramid and stay DSD throughout? Thanks for sharing this, watched the whole thing!
Hi @ Issadore ,

Goerge told me he uses Reaper to convert the stereo mixdown DSD file to PCM file. They don't use Pyramix. But they do distribute their music as DSD files, so I am not sure if they do any editing or processing in the digital domain.
Old 4th December 2018
  #27
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I do not inhabit these threads on DSD to argue theory. I contribute to counter the poor multi-variant experimental construction and resulting dubious conclusions and sweeping statements about night and day sound differences between DSD and PCM.

I am simply a practitioner seeking the truth. I have a Hapi and Horus and have made careful recordings to listen to DSD and DXD and am not convinced by any significant difference. In fact the post production restrictions for DSD are a joke, not compatible with a commercial recording operation and real world results.

Claude Cellier has stated heroically that essentially nobody could really tell the difference (DXD vx DSD) in their extensive tests. Morton Lindberg (2L), the same conclusion, in fact, he states
Quote:
I personally prefer extremely high resolution PCM over the DSD and I would claim that DSD is not transparent.
I am inclined to believe these guys over Gearslutz facts or guesses in a YouTube video about what's going on with digital sampling. Combine that with a lack of consensus from published rigorous engineering analysis and you have to be sceptical, particularly of the night and day statements.

Last edited by David Spearritt; 4th December 2018 at 09:00 PM..
Old 4th December 2018
  #28
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^Ok cool. I respect your opinion, if you did not find any meaningful difference, that is more than a plausible outcome. I myself, hear a very interesting difference. I don’t disbelieve you don’t hear a difference, but I’m puzzled by your disbelief that I do.

Secondly, you did not at all address my test or any of my parameters. Did you see my post above?
Old 4th December 2018 | Show parent
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell ➡️
^Ok cool. I respect your opinion, if you did not find any meaningful difference, that is more than a plausible outcome. I myself, hear a very interesting difference. I don’t disbelieve you don’t hear a difference, but I’m puzzled by your disbelief that I do.

Secondly, you did not at all address my test or any of my parameters. Did you see my post above?
Doc I am not disputing you might hear a difference. I have never disrespected people for hearing differences. I disrespect the conclusions usually.

I think your test methodology is excellent, and will be very keen to hear your impressions. Constructing a single variable test that will isolate the effect of interest is extremely difficult and requires more rigour than most want to give to it.
Old 5th December 2018 | Show parent
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell ➡️
I am not sure how much I am interested in doing any straight to 352.8/DXD work, other than mixing down DSD files in a DXD session. Mostly because I think it is more similar to 192k, but a little broader and wider, also higher up in the image -- vertically speaking. It is like 192K is Steroid Flexing. I suppose that is why people use 384k. Double the fun! haha

I think its cool, but damn, the Merging Converters sound so good at 192k [and any rate for that matter] I am happy with that for acoustic music. And...I am happy with 44.1 with it too! I mainly use either 44.1 or 192K, for most client work.

But honestly, when I switch those boxes into DSD256, it sounds like a pure match made in heaven.
I've recorded DXD with the Mytek converters and heard other people's recordings with Horus and AX24, and the way you describe it is pretty much exactly what I hear. To me it's like 192k, but wider bandwidth, more air, taller, and maybe a little more percussive. While I think DXD is ultimately more transparent to the source, it actually leaves me feeling pretty satisfied with 192k on really good converters. In some cases that extra bandwidth might be a little much, and in those cases 192k feels more like the sweet spot for PCM. (to my taste)

And then there's DSD...
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