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ARSCLIST  April 2015

ARSCLIST April 2015

Subject:

Re: SACD "surprise"

From:

Peter Hirsch <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Sun, 5 Apr 2015 11:42:16 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (264 lines)

Tom,

I'm glad to see this point being made. I'd much rather that someone
stimulate a real discussion than just please the maximum number of
potential audience members (i.e., buyers of product). I'd rather that my
opinions not be just judged as if I were a member of a marketing test
group.

It makes me recall when Christo set up his "Gates" in Central Park several
years back. Some loved them, lots hated them, many were just perplexed, but
very few were able to simply ignore what was happening. It got a lot of
discussion going and views about what art is and aesthetics were being
explored wherever you turned for a few weeks. This has to be a good thing
for society. Tourists and natives suddenly were on an equal footing and
spontaneously interacting as they experienced something, whatever you
decided it was. Not the norm in my experience.

I am probably more in sympathy with Boulez's conducting and compositions
than the median listener, but what I value most is his ability to get
 people thinking about what they are hearing and what it means. I don't
think he literally meant to blow up all the opera houses (maybe not the
worst idea in an era of bloated institutions slowly sinking under their own
weight), but I am glad he had the nerve to say it.

I think this is very much on ARSC topic.

My best,

Peter Hirsch

On Sun, Apr 5, 2015 at 10:40 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

> I'll say this about Boulez -- I love that he's so polarizing! Good for
> him! A big part of my disinterest in most orchestras and conductors today
> is that they either try to be everything to everyone, or they pander to try
> and "get the kids interested," or they are stuck in the mud of
> over-caution. None of that is interesting. Boulez is different and
> controversial. I like some of his recordings, do not like others. I even
> like that he's played the Legend card in France to amass a big pile of
> state funding for classical music (who has the power to do that here?). The
> very things that David Lewis mentioned -- the "ice cold" interpretations,
> the super-precision to certain scores, are liable to totally turn off
> American fans who, for instance, loved the Bernstein approach to music.
> There's nothing wrong with that! Alternative and even opposite approaches
> to music are great, and so is debate about it. What's not great is
> un-original thinking, over-caution and working so hard to be "inclusive"
> that one never plants their foot on decisive lines. Be bold or be bored!
>
> -- Tom Fine
>
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Carl Pultz" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Sunday, April 05, 2015 10:21 AM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] SACD "surprise"
>
>
>  BTW, the DAC2 is a substantial improvement on the DAC1, various versions
>> of which I've owned since it came out over ten years ago. Even the analog
>> path is better. Still, I hear a difference with it between Toslink and coax
>> from the same Redbook source. Always have. I know, I know.... The async USB
>> is also audibly better than with the standard driver, whatever the data
>> rate. It was such an impressive upgrade that I splurged on their new amp.
>> It replaces a Bryston, which is no toy. The combo is highly revealing, yet
>> not annoyingly so, as there often is a tradeoff between transparency and
>> musicality. I find it correct for whichever hat I'm wearing, mixer or
>> music-lover.
>>
>> Another aside, regarding Boulez. I don't dismiss the work of such a
>> sophisticated and accomplished musician, who has gained the respect of some
>> of the most demanding orchestras out there. It can be instructive to hear
>> his way with music. His old Debussy series was praised for its objectivity
>> and scrupulous attention to detail, and is still valuable for it. Similarly
>> his Mahler, yet it needn't displace Barbirolli, et al. Just as with audio
>> arts, there is no one correct way, and we don't always see the value in
>> something until time gives us perspective.
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:
>> [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
>> Sent: Sunday, April 05, 2015 8:49 AM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] SACD "surprise"
>>
>> Hi John:
>>
>> I think what you're hearing with 96k is the 24-bit word length. I am not
>> convinced that the super-high sampling rates capture anything audible above
>> what 44.1 or 48k capture, but I do think that the Nyquist filtering and
>> other factors make the audible top end sound better. However, many DACs
>> up-sample 44.1k before filtering and converting anyway. For instance, the
>> Benchmark design, of which there are many variants, up-samples everything
>> to three hundred and something kiloHertz, re-clocking so as to strip out
>> jitter, then converts to analog.
>>
>> Here's a "white paper" about Benchmark's DAC1 approach:
>> http://benchmarkmedia.com/blogs/white-papers/13127453-
>> asynchronous-upsampling-to-110-khz
>>
>> For the DAC2 series, the describe the "improved" system this way:
>> -------------------------------------------
>> UltraLock2™ Jitter Attenuation System
>>
>> UltraLock2™ is an improved version of the UltraLock™ system used in the
>> DAC1 and ADC1 product families. DSP processing is 32-bits, DSP headroom is
>> 3.5 dB, sample rate is 211 kHz, and jitter-induced distortion and noise is
>> at least 140 dB below the level of the music - well below the threshold of
>> hearing. Benchmark's UltraLock2™ system eliminates all audible jitter
>> artifacts.
>> ---------------------------------------------
>>
>> Up-sampling and over-sampling DAC designs have been around for a long
>> time, but I do think modern designs are more sophisticated in how they
>> strip out jitter from the source. The consumer high-end designers first got
>> the jitter-rejection religion, especially when they started recognizing
>> consumer demand for USB interfaces (USB is notorious for jitter due to
>> inconsistent clocking built into typical computer CPUs). Companies like
>> Benchmark and Mytek and Lynx, which have feet in both consumer and pro
>> audio, have put out well-reviewed and good-sounding, to my ears,
>> jitter-rejecting products in recent times. The other focus where I think
>> some strides have been made recently is the analog stage after conversion,
>> there are some super-quiet and near-transparent designs out there now. A
>> modern digital system should operate so quietly that it essentially has no
>> audible noise floor in even a quiet real-world room.
>>
>> A simple test would be to convert some well-known analog material at
>> 96/16 and 48/16 and see if you hear a difference. Then 96/24 and 48/24, and
>> then compare the 24-bits to the 16-bits. I think that's where you'll hear
>> the differences.
>>
>> To my ears, 24-bit makes a difference, especially with "air and space" in
>> something like an orchestral recording. Just transferring in 24-bit makes a
>> difference, if you've got a good dither-down conversion system to get to a
>> CD master.
>>
>> -- Tom Fine
>>
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "John Haley" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Sunday, April 05, 2015 2:44 AM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] SACD "surprise"
>>
>>
>>  CORRECTION.  When I said "catching a whole octave above 48 kHz in
>>> frequency," I meant "catching a whole octave in frequency above what is
>>> captured by a 48 kHz sampling rate."  Sorry about that.
>>>
>>> Best,
>>> John
>>>
>>>
>>> On Sun, Apr 5, 2015 at 2:38 AM, John Haley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>
>>>  Thanks for posting the NY Times Boulez article, Tom, which could have
>>>> been
>>>> entitled "A bunch of famous musicians sitting around kissing up to
>>>> Pierre
>>>> Boulez."  They remark how "influential" (i.e, famous) he is.  That he
>>>> is.
>>>> Does that make him a great conductor? Nope.  I loved the Gunther
>>>> Schiller
>>>> quote.  Obviously, Boulez has occasionally succeeded with a piece of
>>>> music.  Like they say, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.  And
>>>> many
>>>> great orchestras could occasionally deliver a great performance even
>>>> while
>>>> ignoring a monkey on the podium.
>>>>
>>>> If DGG digital recordings had max resolution of 48 kHz, as you know that
>>>> is not an appreciable difference from 44.1 kHz.  The difference in
>>>> frequencies (pitches) those sampling rates will capture is the
>>>> difference
>>>> between 22,500 and 24,000 Hz.  Way up there, that is a difference of
>>>> only a
>>>> note or two (think extended piano keyboard).  I have never been able to
>>>> hear the slightest difference between a recording at 44.1 kHz and one
>>>> at 48
>>>> kHz.  Recording at 96 kHz is a whole 'nother thing, catching a whole
>>>> octave
>>>> above 48 kHz in frequency, but also seemingly able to capture more
>>>> detail
>>>> based on double the number of samples.  Or maybe I should say capture
>>>> the
>>>> detail with greater accuracy.
>>>>
>>>> Since we routinely make hi-def dubs (at least 96/24) from analog master
>>>> tapes these days that can sound really great, I have to wonder if, all
>>>> else
>>>> being equal, those results will outshine an original digital recording
>>>> made
>>>> at only 48 kHz.
>>>>
>>>> I am another one who has never felt that your average DGG orchestral
>>>> recording captured a lot of the sheer excitement of the sound of a great
>>>> symphony orchestra.
>>>>
>>>> Best,
>>>> John
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> On Sat, Apr 4, 2015 at 8:21 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>  Hi Mark:
>>>>>
>>>>> So from what you're saying, I gather that the maximum resolution of
>>>>> that
>>>>> Boulez/CSO master would be 48/24?
>>>>>
>>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>>>
>>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Mark Donahue" <
>>>>> [log in to unmask]
>>>>> >
>>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>> Sent: Saturday, April 04, 2015 6:13 PM
>>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] SACD "surprise"
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>  On Sat, Apr 4, 2015 at 10:31 AM, Tom Fine <
>>>>> [log in to unmask]>
>>>>>
>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>
>>>>>>  I can't recall if it was Yamaha or Studer digital consoles, but I
>>>>>> think
>>>>>>
>>>>>>> you are correct in your descriptions of "4D". being a true DDD
>>>>>>> system in
>>>>>>> that the last time anything was analog was when the mic plugged into
>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>> console and the mic preamp went to a ADC.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Tom,
>>>>>> The DG 4D system was comprised of a stagebox containing custom remote
>>>>>> mic
>>>>>> preamps and Yamaha converters that connected digitally at 24
>>>>>> bits/44.1/48k
>>>>>> to an RTW bit splitter that allowed them to record 24 bit 16 track on
>>>>>> a
>>>>>> Sony3324. The signal was also distributed to the input of a pair of
>>>>>> Yamaha
>>>>>> DMC-1000 digital consoles.  The normal orchestral kit that I would see
>>>>>> here
>>>>>> in the states was a pair or three stage boxes with a pair of machines
>>>>>> for
>>>>>> 32 track recording. It was basically modular and could be scaled for
>>>>>> the
>>>>>> job.
>>>>>> All the best,
>>>>>> -mark
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>>>
>>
>>

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