There is an argument to be made that analog media playback can't possibly offer that many data
points to be collected. To wit ...
1. when you play a tape, you are fighting the laws of physics. For one thing, no transport provides
a perfect ride across the heads. Resolution is damaged by wow and flutter (time-smear), plus
imperfect tape-to-head contact cause by anything from uneven head wear to imperfections in the tape
surface to simple dust and other particles in the air. There's also static electricity and other
results of friction. Then there's the fact that some tapes are slit perfectly enough to ride through
the transport with relatively even track-tracking (i.e. relatively perfect azimuth throughout the
tape). Tape electronics, especially old ones, are prone to what are now considered high levels of
distortion and noise, and unless they have been thoroughly overhauled, aging components compound
2. a commercial disk release has mechanically-lowered resolution from the get-go. There are some
issues with lacquer "memory" (where the groove shrinks back a little bit when it cools after
cutting -- this is a controversial topic among cutting engineers, but direct-metal mastering was
invented as a solution to this alleged problem). Then there is resolution-loss in the plating
process, because the laws of materials science and physics say it's impossible to make a perfect
imprint (there is some granularity to all materials, plating cannot be perfectly uniform, etc). And,
the pressing machines can't be perfectly clean on every press, the vinyl biscuit can't be perfectly
pure, etc. In fact, if you think about disk-manufacturing, it's quite miraculous that the whole
system got to where it can sound as good as some records do. With shellac records, it's even more so
because the technologies hadn't evolved as much and shellac itself is a very imperfect carrier
material. So, before a stylus even hits the groove, you have stages of materials imperfections baked
in (literally), which results in at least surface noise if not ticks, pops and groove distortion.
And then there's the matter that no stylus tracks a groove perfectly, there is an inherent noise
floor in all mechanical playback (dragging a diamond through a groove), and that only the very best
preamps offer super-low noise floors (this is even more of an issue with low-output moving-coil
One argument made by the anti-digital crowd of yore (I don't hear this argument made about
higher-resolution digital, except by ideologue zealots) is, "no matter how much you sample a sound
wave, you're still breaking it into chunks and it's not a steady-state wave." But, see above. The
output from the analog playback system itself is not really a steady-state wave. Physics and
materials science prevent that from being so. So the question is, which system is actually capturing
more "resolution"? Let the debate begin!
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Corey Bailey" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, November 23, 2015 3:14 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Hi-Rez symphony recordings
> Data points per bit should have read: data points per dB of dynamic range (I changed the math, but
> not the description).
> So, the comparison should read:
> Lets take a look at the available data points for each dB of dynamic range for CD quality digital
> audio: 65,536 (data points) divided by 96 (dB of dynamic range) = 682.6 data points for each dB of
> dynamic range of a given sample.
> Compare that to 24 Bit/ 96K digital audio: 4,294,967,296 (data points) divided by 144 (dB of
> dynamic range) = 29,826,161 data points for each dB of dynamic range of a given sample. And, there
> are more than twice a many samples taken! Now, we are talking about some decent resolution.
> Also, my hand typed chart got wacked by the forum formatting. Hopefully, you get the idea.
> Corey Bailey Audio Engineering
> On 11/22/2015 7:47 PM, Corey Bailey wrote:
>> Mr. Kevil:
>> Let's take a look at Bit Depth as applied to digital audio: "Bit Depth divides a given sample by
>> its value."
>> BIT DEPTH DATA POINTS DYNAMIC RANGE
>> 8 256 48dB
>> 16 65,536 96dB
>> 24 4,294,967,296 144dB
>> Now, lets take a look at the available data points per bit for CD quality digital audio: 65,536
>> (data points) divided by 96 (dB of dynamic range) = 682.6 data points for each bit of a given
>> Compare that to 24 Bit/ 96K digital audio: 4,294,967,296 (data points) divided by 144 (dB of
>> dynamic range) = 29,826,161 data points for each bit of a given sample. And, there are more than
>> twice a many samples taken! Now, we are talking about some decent resolution.
>> So, even though you have only 70 dB of dynamic range available for those old tape recordings
>> (before the introduction of Noise Reduction), you will obviously capture much more of that
>> available dynamic range using the archival standard 24Bit/96K (Hi Rez) sample rate and bit depth.
>> The same logic applies to any of the old audio carriers.
>> Plus, when restoration takes place, the results are less artifact prone when using higher bit
>> depths and sample rates.
>> Corey Bailey Audio Engineering
>> On 11/22/2015 3:03 PM, L. Hunter Kevil wrote:
>>> A transfer of a 1960s tape marketed in a 24/96 wrapper is what? Doesn't the resolution of the
>>> tape correspond to the equivalent of an 8- or 12-bit word? If so, what does the wrapper do?