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Old 11th January 2009 | Show parent
Lives for gear
24-96 Mastering's Avatar
Thanks bob. I'm not sure if you misunderstood my question though. Let me rephrase:

Assuming that I will use an analog loop in a session and I want to use all analog gear in M/S, is there a significant advantage of using an analog M/S matrix within the analog loop, instead of using a digital M/S encoder pre and a M/S decoder post the analog loop?

I.e. is there any quality concern to this question (I have seen this written in ads for the Dangerous M/S, I think, but with no explanation given) or would it be purely down to personal work flow preferences? I can think of only one concern with the digital option (usually greater level difference between M and S, thus potentially "wasting" converter resolution), and I'm wondering whether this is what was hinted at in the argument pro analog M/S matrixing.

Originally Posted by bob katz ➡️
I don't believe this to be true. I use my analog chain for coloration, my digital chain for precision. And there is nothing more precise than addition and subtraction in the digital domain done transparently :-). I won't add another analog device in just for M/S conversion unless I deem its losses to be "insignificant" or its coloration to be "desirable."

I built an M/S converter with a pair of very high headroom (heavy-duty) Lundahl's a long time ago. I think a pair of Lundahl transformers used for M/S conversion also adds a very subtle sweetening to a chain and this can be very desirable. But what if it's not in the particular instance? In that case I'd rather do the M/S conversion in the digital domain.

The THAT chips as balanced line drivers/receivers are extremely transparent. I builit an analog buffer for my analog chain using a pair of THAT 1606 line drivers. Using some clever matrixing with resistors it might be possible to get a "free M/S" conversion without adding an additional stage using these as existing line drivers.

The Dangerous Music boxes are among the most transparent and colorless analog circuitry so you can't go very wrong with them :-). Yet, remember that if you are not using your analog chain for the particular job you are doing there is no reason to add an additional D/A/D conversion to your processing, which is the first lossy step to begin with, when you can do M/S conversion totally transparently in the digital domain. What I mean by "totally transparently" is that no one can hear it at all. At least if you use a good plug or console to do this. For example, Algorithmix has a pair of symmetrical M/S conversion plugins which to my ears are inaudible when used back to back. Who can complain about "inaudible"? :-)