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Old 7th October 2009 | Show parent
Louder Than Liftoff
I haven't read all the latest responses so I apologize for delaying my response to some of your comments and questions. I don’t think the OP is trying to turn this into an ITB vs. OTB discussion or a debate about the merits of working one way or the other. I think he’s simply drawing attention to the fact that if there is any “B” in the equation at all (that would be A/D conversion) then there is something funky happening to his analog sources. I totally agree with him. This isn’t about tape vs. digital or how tape does or doesn’t have linear response or sounds cool or not cool. It’s a very fundamental issue that is blind to any of that. The issue is that the current crop of PCM-based converters doesn’t reproduce an analog source or mix of analog sources in a way that some of us hear as musically equivalent to the source material. I suggested using a tape deck as a source because a) it’s analog and b) you can rewind and replay the same sound to repeat a listenting test. It can be the most non-linear, distorted, and poorly aligned tape deck out there. It won’t matter because it’s an analog source by definition. And the point is whether or not an A/D converter is faithful to the analog source material (whether or not analog tape is musically faithful to an acoustic event is another debate entirely). I have yet to hear one I can afford that is. I know perfect conversion doesn’t exist. But 44.1k is a joke compared to the actual source. I blindly accepted it for a long time as “good” sounding. I was really surprised when I finally came out of the cave of blissful ignorance and actually took the time to listen with my own ears. Honestly—operating a tape deck and mixing through a console with no recall is not nearly as convenient as working in a DAW for some projects. However, the sound changes in a way I don’t like the instant I convert audio. Why would I want to accept what I personally consider a sonic compromise when there are ways to avoid the problem entirely?

To my ears PCM digital does not give you 1:1 replication.

More later…