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ARSCLIST  August 2008

ARSCLIST August 2008

Subject:

Re: ELP Turntable (Re(2): [ARSCLIST] RIAA EQ software)

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 28 Aug 2008 06:25:23 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Hi Ken:

I'm not about to argue with the substance of your postings. Listening is a very subjective thing and 
trying to pry an "analog guy" away from his tapes and records is like, well, choose your analogy --  
bottom line is it's impssible and not worth trying.

However, in the ARCHIVAL world, the goal isn't shivering timbers, it's preservation. In today's 
world, that generally means transferring aging analog material to digital, and hopefully making an 
accurate and high-resolution enough transfer that it needn't be done again and the analog media can 
rot away without being lost to time. I would say the art keeps advancing so we're not in this ideal 
place yet, but there are good practices and a grade of equipment that can do a good job.

All of this is very different from the audiophile world, where pleasure-listening and shivering 
timbers are the goals (and WORTHY goals -- let me be clear about that -- this giant pool of recorded 
media, especially the "great art" part of it, SHOULD shiver timbers). It's a whole different 
aesthetic and definitely different requirements from the hardware and software. It's somewhat 
related to content-collecting but I've known some guys (it's always guys) with very expensive and 
good-sounding rigs and maybe 100 different music sources -- so their goal is to listen to their 
equipment, not music, per se.

The simple fact about analog media is, no matter how euphonic the end results, it is quite a bit 
farther from output = input to the best digital media. Therefore, it is inherently distorted and 
non-faithful to its source. There are cases where this is much less so than others, but the limits 
of the media just don't compare to proper implementation of digital, especially given a couple of 
decades of improvement to digital now (remember how lousy transistors sounded when they were new in 
audio gear? same can be said about digital -- new stuff needs some time to evolve, the design 
engineers need to figure out what works best).

Now, a bad side-effect of ever-cheaper and good-to-excellent digital has been the de-evolution of 
the music business to where anyone with a Mac is a "recording engineer" and so the ART of proper 
recording, at least as far as music is concerned, is dying. This art and craft was a combination of 
knowledge, technical skill, taste and aesthetics that developed among the best in the trade into a 
clear-eyed understanding of what worked and what didn't with different types of music, recording 
spaces, equipment and audiences. I would say part of the problem today is that too much recorded 
music is made in a "bubble" without on-site feedback and handling, so people develop inward-looking 
aesthetics and never learn the "general rules" of the craft. But I digress...

My point is, audiophillic listening and audiophile equipment is a whole different thing from a 
professional archival-transfer setup. The audiophile mags themselves (at least Stereophile and TAS, 
the two I occasionally read) call the high-end thing a "hobby." Professional transfer work is just 
that, a profession, and thus one tries to stay away from the subjectivity inherent in 
pleasure-listening.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Ken Fritz" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, August 27, 2008 11:24 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] ELP Turntable (Re(2): [ARSCLIST] RIAA EQ software)


Hi David,

   If you have a Monks cleaning machine, we need to give you a pass
on the cars.

   Tonight I played more tapes on my ATR.  Sue has no idea as to the
cost of the ATR  as I' dragged about 30  pro RTR machines home over
the last year. They all look the same and she's gotten used to it.
The ATR is different as it looks new. Sue has overlooked the
acoutrements of the machines so they all look the same to her, that's
good for me!! She knows that tape machines are old and cheap<*>

   The sound of great analog can be appreciated on a system  set up
in an appropriate room  with good gear. Neither the room nor gear
need to be expansive or expensive, but it helps.

   Those of you that have the ability to record live music in a real
space can appreciate the talent you've refined over the years. Being
an audiophile, I have the option of listening to the music recorded
by the best; whatever the medium will be.

   Ken
On Aug 27, 2008, at 10:45 PM, David Lennick wrote:

> I can't remember the last time my timbers were shivered. But my  faithful Monks Record Cleaning 
> Machine cost more than my first two  cars combined.
>
> dl
>
> Ken Fritz wrote:
>> Gentleman,
>>   If you play LP's on a Silvertone changer, handed down from your  dad, listen on a system from 
>> Best Buy, You'll concur with this  posting.
>>   With all due respect to those that posted to this topic, Vinyl  cleaned properly, played on a 
>> top of the line TT - arm -  cartridge  set up will sound good enough to shiver your timbers.  In 
>> some cases, the cost of a vinyl playback system to shiver  your  timbers  may cost as much as a a 
>> fine German sports car.
>>   Until you hear vinyl on a GREAT system, you won't realize how  good the medium of the past 
>> really is.
>>   Being  an  analog  guy myself;  CD's, digital and pro tools take  second place to the sound my 
>> Ampex ATR , Koetsu, Dynavector and  My Sonic Labs cartridges deliver.   Being 66 years of age,  I 
>> may  be wrong but my ears are happy.
>>   Relax, and enjoy the music. Ken
>> On Aug 27, 2008, at 9:14 PM, Charles Lawson wrote:
>>> Tom Fine writes:
>>>> The LP has just too many limitations -- fuzzy midrange on peaks,  ticks
>>>> and pops, rumble
>>>> and surface noise, poor channel separation at certain  frequencies. It's
>>>> always amazing to me when
>>>> the things sound great -- I tip my hat to the mastering folks and
>>>> pressing folks who make that
>>>> happen. I'm old enough to remember the era before CD's. NO THANKS!
>>>
>>> Iím right there with you, Tom.  Iíd never go back.
>>>
>>> I hope it was clear from my postings that I am not *advocating*  using disc
>>> restorations as the preferred method of transferring older  recordings to
>>> the digital realm.  I am only noting that, in some cases when the  master
>>> tapes have deteriorated far enough, disc restorations can yield a  more
>>> listenable product than the bad masters.  OF COURSE digital re- issues
>>> should be made from original source materials if those materials are
>>> well-cared-for and in good shape.  However, I have heard (and own  a few)
>>> major label CD re-issues that suffer from all sorts of problems  that the
>>> same material originally issued on LP does not exhibitóand itís  not just
>>> poor quality-control at the digital remastering stage.
>>>
>>> The LP as a medium has all kinds of problems that bug me (as LPs  always
>>> have!), but some of my old LPs when thoroughly cleaned and played  through
>>> the LT with DSP EQ, etc. yield a more listenable product than  some of the
>>> CD re-issues that supposedly use original masters.  Properly  manufactured
>>> vinyl will generally hold up better than audio tape.  Itís just  physics.
>>>
>>> I am booked up pretty solidly for the next little while, but if I  can put
>>> together a few A-Bs, Iíll be happy to share íem.
>>>
>>> Chas.
>>>
>>> -- 
>>> Charles Lawson <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Professional Audio for CD, DVD, Broadcast & Internet

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