First of all, I agree with Corey. Second, I have yet to hear two RIAA preamps that sound exactly the
same when plugged into the same cartridge with the same turntable. Every circuit sounds different,
and the good ones haven't been "modelled" correctly in the digital domain as far as I've heard.
Regarding lower-fidelity older records, there's probably more leeway to have a harsh-sounding
digital EQ or for that matter a non-perfect analog circuit, the reason being that you likely
wouldn't hear it because the frequency response and s/n of the source material is so limited.
However, there are very good sounding pre-LP disks out there (mostly lacquers and some radio
transcriptions -- the problem with commercially-sold 78s tends to be the noisy shellac and the fact
that most have been played with record-wrecking needles long before any of us came to own them). I
understand how some people go all-in for digital everything, and the software continues to improve
all the time. But, that's just not me. I like to go digital as the last step in disk playback, and
do as little software "cleanup" as possible, ideally none.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Corey Bailey" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, March 29, 2015 3:26 AM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Hardware or software transfer EQ, WAS/Phono pre-amps for 78 rpm and
> Hi Paul,
> I would like to respectfully disagree (Agree to disagree?).
> First of all, I have, and use, the software you mentioned. I've tried the comparisons, not only
> with Audition 3 and DC-8, but Sound Forge 9, Pro Tools and Sonic Solutions (haven't tried
> after-the-fact phono EQ with Cedar or Pyramix) and I agree with those who are on the side of
> hardware EQ in the analog domain. Audiophiles have been arguing for years about the virtues of one
> phono preamp over another. The differences that they are really hearing can be defined as the
> "time constants" of a given design. The differences in time constants are simply the result of the
> type of parts used in a particular design and how they are arranged, regardless of weather we are
> discussing solid state or vacuum tube circuitry. And, as you know, the debate between "toobs" and
> solid state circuit designs rages on. EQ in the digital domain does not make allowances for part
> tolerances or varying circuit designs. I find that when digital EQ is applied to a flat record
> transfer, the result is somewhat lifeless sounding although much more precise, I'm sure. I have to
> agree with Gary Galo that making a "flat" transfer does not allow for the headroom needed for the
> turnover frequencies unless you are willing to make your reference level around -25DBFS. Not
> adding the roll-off can make sense if a considerable amount of digital processing is needed to
> reduce noise or remove scratches, etc. This is where accessing an external analog EQ is useful for
> post processing (I use a GML8200 for this) although it has to be done in real time. If digital
> processing is going to be required, using a higher sample rate and bit depth is also beneficial.
> As one who works on both the outside and inside of analog mixing consoles (have for years) and,
> although it wasn't your main point, I can tell you that the electronic design world has moved on
> from the NE5532. The disclaimer here is that I have never been a fan of multiple op-amps in one
> package and the NE5532 is the one I would use to make my argument.
> Corey Bailey Audio Engineering
>> I read Gary's comments on software implementation of the curves, and I'm sorry to say that, for
>> at least some current software, he's wrong. His basic contention is that software-implemented
>> curves are "linear phase", and so have different phase characteristics from hardware-implemented
>> curves (which are "minimum phase". I did some experiments, and verified that at least the
>> software-implemented curves in Adobe Audition and DC EIGHT are in fact minimum phase, and so have
>> the same phase characteristics as standard hardware-implemented curves. I published these
>> findings in a letter to audioXpress several years ago. Gary's criticisms of software-implemented
>> curves may have been correct some years ago, but (at least for the software I tried) are no
>> There are still potential advantages to hardware compensation, so that's what I use when I'm
>> confident a disc is RIAA. If I'm not confident of that, I transfer flat and do the compensation
>> in software.
>> Incidentally, you cam make a preamp for flat phono transfers from a couple of NE5532 opamp chips,
>> some resistors, some batteries and RCA jacks, and a box to put it all in.
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