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More audiophile nonsense

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by DonnyThompson, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    a $10,000 Ethernet cable. Good Gawd. :ROFLMAO:

    From the article:

    " There are a bunch of promises made here, but the one that stands out most to me is the "Directional" aspect. This isn't just mentioned once, but is all over the place. The cable even comes complete with arrows to make certain that the data will flow in the right direction. I guess that we can just ignore the fact that Ethernet cables are bi-directional; the same on both ends. If that wasn't the case, data couldn't be written back to the network device; it could just be read from it.
    Also interesting is the promise of 100 Gbps speeds over 100 meters, a spec that's currently impossible in a retail product. Not that it'd matter anyway - a 5 minute 24-bit / 44Hz track could be loaded at the source in its entirety within half a second on a standard 1 Gbps connection..."

    kmetal likes this.
  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    If one would want a faster transfer speed than a regular cat.6 ethernet cable. It could be done on fiber optic at $109.99 for 100meter ;)
    kmetal likes this.
  3. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Where will this sonic purity go next? Actually seeing a band play? Lol. I read an article on mix or whatever recently that said the engineer or producer kept trying each cable both ways, swearing their was a difference. i dunno. I'm not saying its justified, but if you actually have rooms and gear that's all that level, I would be willing to suspend my disbelief, and say yeah, there probably is a bit of an audible difference. I'm cool w canare for now ☺️
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I'm using mostly Mogami these days ( for audio), and, I'm using the USB cables that came with all my various USB devices... I've never had any problems. Then again, I don't have Ten Large laying around in which to buy one of these "boutique" cables to be able to compare. I'm pretty secure in saying that if I did have 10 G's burning a hole in my pockets, an Ethernet cable would be wayyyy down on my list of priorities. ;)
  5. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    +1 on Mogami. I think subconsciously I think it's better because it's a little more expensive.

    I wonder if you get little a custom cable based on your exact system, or if it's basically pre fab? It's interesting that unless you have duplicate rooms and systems, music isn't really heard the same way anywhere.
  6. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Here's a good read (specially the conclusion) ;)
    Kurt Foster likes this.
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    this i like a lot!

    ..... and this goes for a lot of other myths and incorrect perceptions that many people have. at this point in the game for me the only thing that matters is, "does it sound good enough for the work i need to do?".

    i'm thinking out loud here so forgive me if i start to blather on a bit. there's a lot of very expensive analog stuff out there and a fair selection of converters too. what i have become enamoured with is finding the best low cost solutions that will enable me to make master recordings that stand up. i have an arbitrary limit of $1000 (for multi track) i have set for myself. fortunately, i have a head start with a fair selection of mics and select pieces of outboard still left from the "big room days".

    the more i research the situation, the more i come to the conclusion that really good A to D is paramount, both in multi tracking and on the 2 mix. so far the very best multichannel A to D i can get that doesn't put me in the gutter was an Alesis i/o 26 that uses Cirrus chips. for my 2 mix i keep returning to a stand alone recorder because by the time i add up the expense of converters, computer and software something like the TASCAM AD 3000 ($900) seems a less expensive choice with great conversion and extended sampling rates on the table.
  8. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Alesis i/o 26 : cute unit... it has a phono input ??? o_O
  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member


    the I/O26 offers 26 inputs (eight analog, 16 ADAT and two via S/PDIF) and eight simultaneous outputs (all analog, while the S/PDIF output can be assigned to replicate any of the analog output pairs). Sample rates of up to 192kHz are supported, all at 24-bit. All eight analog inputs feature switchable phantom power, and two headphone outputs and MIDI In and Out are also featured. More uniquely, the I/O26 also includes dedicated turntable inputs and insert points on every analog input

    i really like the "form" of it. yes it has 2 channels that are switchable to phono preamp. you can't get them new but i see them online for $200 all the time.

    Attached Files:

    pcrecord likes this.
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Indeed, I think the key thing to remember with the cheaper gear is to simply keep the levels down and things should sound pretty decent.
    Rule of thumb for me is always experiment with input levels! Just because it has a green and red light doesn't mean you trust them.
    Recordings will sound better when you are on the modest side of the green, way before it ever comes close to RED, especially with the lower end gear.
  11. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    i still have good pres and front end ... just using the converters on the 1/o 26 by coming in on the insert returns.
    pcrecord likes this.
  12. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    When I first started w a 4trk I thought the idea of gain staging was to get it nicely in the red, but you finalized it by ear. Lol I had no idea for a while. A dude told be one time he records kicks digitally @ -40 or something to capture the full dynamic range of the kick wich I think he said was around 50-60db (memory foggy but that was the idea). I was surprised to read that someone like al shmidt, or allen sides lets things go to the red to use evry bit they can. Not sure if it was tracking specifically. Pensado says he doesn't worry about clip lights too much mixing.

    I've been wondering if maybe the playback bamplifeirs have something to do with it? If the volume knob is on 2 w heavily mastered loud song, where the sweet spot for other stuff, is 4, does it mess up where the amps most efficient response range is? I dunno.

    I will say that I audiophiles may be crazy w some things, but I like they general acceptance of tube power amps. Specifically with higher power stuff, it's a sound that's not yet topped. I've never heard a solid state guitar amp roar like a tube based one. It's something in the power sections. Hybrids some have the same effect.
  13. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    there's a lot of apples and oranges in that. digital vs. analog, narrow format vs. wide tape, hi vs. low speeds, and itb vs. mixing on a LF console ... where do we start?
  14. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    As Kurt mentioned, you're comparing apples and oranges. Tape is a different beast than digital. There are " sweet spots" on analog tape, where you could push things a bit hot ( sometimes even a lot, depending on the tape type, width, speed and bias of the machine) - and actually you'd do it intentionally - to get "that" sound... the sound where the harmonics sounded great, and tape saturation was a big part of that sound. Also, tape had a definable signal to noise ratio. It was important that you tracked with healthy signal levels in order to mask the sound of the tape itself.

    Digital is a different animal. You can record at much lower levels and still maintain fidelity. You don't need to worry about covering up the faults of the medium. In the last few years, since 24 and 32 bit float architecture has become available, you don't have to rely on amplitude levels in order to get full resolution anymore, like you did in the early days.

    Now, there is still gear out there that can provide those "sweet spots". Higher end preamps absolutely do have certain gain levels that can also add pleasing character, like harmonic edge, although these units are usually of a higher caliber, and are known for the sound that they offer. Neve, SSL, etc., can give you character choices, depending on how soft or hard you push them. There are other high end pre's that don't offer color, but instead, are well known for their transparency - which is also attractive to those who prefer to add character afterwards, through either OB hybrid gear, or through the use of plug processors. Grace would be a preamp that is known for their ultra transparency.

    Chris has mentioned this before, and I agree with him, and that is that - by and large - higher caliber gear can handle those occasional "overs" more than cheap gear can.
    Generally speaking - and I say "generally" because there are exceptions - lower end gear, such as preamps, can present decent sonics, as long as you don't push them.
    Higher end gear tends to take higher gain more smoothly, and can be far more forgiving, and, have certain levels of gain that are sonically pleasing, that you won't get out of a $99 mic pre/i-o.

    These days, I'm recording mainly in the green. I want to be able to allow room for those instruments with broader dynamic ranges to have the "room" they need - like kick, snare, etc. But truthfully, I do this with all the tracks - vocals, guitars, keys, bass...
    I like having the available headroom, so that if I decide to add an 1176 or LA2, etc., that I can gain it up without worrying about crowding towards zero.

    I also don't master my own mixes. I use pro M.E.'s , and the M.E.'s I use will prefer mixes that are RMS'd at around -16 to -10, with peaks at no hotter than -6.

    I like to allow them the room they need to do what they do. ;)


  15. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    another variable is levels in a DAW ..... if you are mixing itb it is the general consensus that keeping all tracks well below -10 will yield a more open sounding 2 mix .... if you are mixing on a LF console you can get away with slamming the levels on the tracks. so the tracking recordist needs to know what going to happen at mix for best results.
  16. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    All I was talking about was gain levels and how they effect the sound. I just brought up the porta studio cuz it's what I started on, and used to set the gain by ear. I learned about the red from noisey recordings. Those things need to be slammed to get some presence on playback. Then I thought digital was the same thing, so I used to try to get as close to clipping as possible. The portastudio is obviosly practically a toy, (one I still love), and nothing compared the the real deal full size decks you guys workers with. !!!

    There people who don't mind red in digital mixing there's some who'd are fine recording at -24, so it really is whatever works. those guys were all talking about digital, and pensadsao specifically ITB. It's jnteresting because it's contrary to popular belief. The kick comment was talking about digital too, that I'm sure was thru an LF and or some other boutique peices.

    The mic/pre/instrument doesn't always sound best right at (insert nominal db). I think the final playback medium shouldn't let audio peak out at .1dbfs, either. As soon as the midrange starts to get sharp, that's it the mix is gone. They should make something like -10 or -8 the starndard, so things can maintain the roundness and fullness. As soon as you get up near that -8 -6 it's over, the meat disappears. it seems that no matter what stage tracking mix or mastering, when stuff gets up to those dbfs levels, it craps out.
  17. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    Everyone nowadays is wrapped up in specifications, and technical data - which often supplants the data from their ears. The old 'us amongst us treat the read as a warning sign not the instruction to delete a track! I've had little message come up telling me 0 was exceeded, and in the editor, sure enough there is that peak with a nasty, distortion causing flat top, yet when I play it, I cannot hear it! Too short to hear. I've then drawn a nice round top instead with the mouse. Result is the software doesn't moan at me any longer, and I cannot hear it. I take a couple of clips that when joined in the edit have a little vertical edge, and do the same - does it matter? Equally, I may have a piece of music that DOESN'T reach the 0dB, but just sounds rougher than it should because the mix bus is having difficulty with lots of busy tracks, so I drop them all. The test is my ears. We have a desire to see nice big waveforms, it keeps us comfy. I stopped worrying about this ages ago, and just expand them in the software so they look bigger, even though they are really well down.

    In the old days we had a decision to make - did we want hiss or distortion, and we spent time trying to prevent either, when often they came interlinked. Lower the level because the peaks were distorting, and bring up the hiss, or vice versa. Now it's crazy that we don't have to have either, but go on endlessly about criteria we can't even hear. My pet hate is the endless discussion on pre-amps, all being able to add something, the ones built into the interface or record device cannot. If these are so essential to beginners, then what is the point of having a mic preamp with a mic socket if it's so terrible?

    It's like somebody buying a sports car as their first car, when all they really need to do is go to the shops or take a few friends out. They jump straight into the sports car and wreck it at the first bend!

    Technology and access to amazingly good equipment is now available for very little outlay. People are getting so finicky about absolutely tiny differences, and still produce rubbish recordings.

    Listen to the stuff from the 60's - really basic technology used very well, and it hold up today - despite limited dynamic range, poorer s/n ratios and the ability to edit waveforms. Edits done with razor blades and sticky tapes. I just get cross when somebody extols the superb sonic differences of the preamps, the processors, the plug-ins when they can't stick a mic in the right place to provide these enhancers with something worth enhancing.

    People buy expensive mics without ever having even tried a cheaper one first. People love the sound of a particular mic, and instantly want advice on a more expensive one, as long as it sounds the same, but is better?

    Pandering to people who ignore Star Trek's Scotty's advice on the laws of physics is just PT Barnum stuff.
  18. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    This is what I think ;
    Obviously, you can't pass 0db in digital because the recording would be ruined. But some DAWs show peaks well before that 0db happens and for the most of them you can peak the master bus at playback all you want. Thing is, some DAW will apply compression as a safety measure at playback and some will even add saturation when it happens. (I know Sonar does it).
    For me the idea recording with peaks around -16db (depending on how many tracks are planned) is not a arbitrary decision. It's one of my ways to reduce processing when mixing. If all my tracks are too hot, the first thing I'll do is reach for the track gains. This is one step I'm trying to avoid. Is it changing anything in the sound ? Probably not but I'm a strong believer that less processing is better. (it makes exports faster too)
  19. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Well, we all have our criteria for what sounds good to us. Maybe you can't hear the difference between a budget, entry level preamp and a higher quality model, or maybe you can hear the difference but don't mind - that's fine, if you are getting sonics you like, then you're good to go. Use what you use. If it works for you, that's all that matters. I can hear the difference, and that's all that matters to me.

    I have a lot of respect for you, Paul. I read your posts, with sincere interest, on many occasions.

    But, I have to say, that for you to slam those of us who do hear a difference between an $80 Behringer pre and a $700 Grace pre, is a bit unfair. To have a "pet hate" against those of us who choose to use higher end gear is a lot unfair.

    I don't work for any audio manufacturer, I'm not selling equipment, I don't make any commissions anytime I recommend certain gear to someone based on my own experiences with it.

    When I recommend that someone who is newer to this craft should consider improving certain aspects of their rig, I'm not telling them that they have to. I merely suggest that this is something they should consider, and, what to expect, either from the upgrade, or, if they choose to not upgrade. I'm not cramming it down anyone's throat - I simply let them in on my own experiences with what I've used, and they can decide for themselves what to do with that information.

    Yes, it's true that a lot of that classic rock you are referring to still sounds pretty good. I would ague that it was more about the songs being great songs to begin with - but, that if someone was to release some of those mixes in this day and age, that they wouldn't all hold up sonically, in comparison to the increased dynamic range and signal quality that we now have within our reach. Just because a song is old, and from the "classic age" of rock, doesn't mean that it automatically sounds good, Paul.

    I love a lot of music from the 60's and 70's - after all, I came of age during that time, and some of that music provided the soundtrack to my life. But - it certainly wouldn't bother me one bit to never have to hear - or record and mix - the 70's "cardboard box" drum sound ever again.

    We dealt with the shortcomings of the medium because we had to. We adapted, and we did a pretty good job of it, too. But we don't have to anymore. We don't need to worry about masking tape noise, we don't have to worry about where we physically put certain tracks on a master tape, we don't have to worry biasing and alignment, or encode / decode NR anymore. Technology has grown, and presented us with some very groovy and powerful production tools. I have no desire to go back to those days, and overcoming the inherent limitations. That being said, I don't have any problems at all with melding some of the old with some of the new. I'm happy to use an 1176 or LA2 emulation on a vocal track. But, I'm using it within a platform that is technically advanced, and, is much easier to get a good sound out of - faster, too - than some of those old desks and tape machines.

    If you choose to adhere to an older form of technology, then that's what you should do. If you like the way it sounds, and it's giving you what you need to work with, then that's really all that matters. But that doesn't mean that you should "hate" those of us who choose to use higher caliber equipment in a modern production platform and voice our opinions on it here. Your way isn't the wromg wy, anymore than my way is the wrong way. For me, it's about quality and convenience.
    But you can always get to where you wanna go if you work hard enough at it.

    If I rub two sticks together hard, fast and long enough, I can create fire. But I'd much rather flick my Bic. :D

    I choose to use higher quality mics and preamps, because it gives me the sound I am after, and, it gives it to me much quicker than budget gear does, and having to "cover up" the shortcomings of the cheaper gear.
    Personally - this is just my opinion, of course - I'd much rather mix than "fix". ;)
  20. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    I can't escape the fact that these devices do change and I can even agree on the 'improve' opinion when added. I think what just concerns me is that the difference is in most cases, not one of those 'wow' moments, it's a gentle and sometimes subjective choice. Of course, I don't treat them like the audiophile devices, and can appreciate what they're doing, but the real beef for me, is when they're suggested in front of sorting out the poor room, trying a different mic on the same preamp, or experimenting with the mic positioning - or even real basics like eq. I get the impression that those that already have good gear can talk about preamps as extra enhancement, or devices that can eke out little nuances that some mics have but are masked by lesser preamps.

    Kind of like spending a fortune on tuning your car, when the real issue was the fuel was dodgy, or the carburettor was worn.

    I really do think that for beginners, there is no way that they need to spend the money, until they learn how to get the best sound with what they have, in the physical and tweaking areas. I've been thinking about all the gear I have that can have microphones plugged into them. I certainly have a couple that are not really very nice to listen to, but I also have some cheap ones that actually sound perfectly fine, and I'd be happy using them. In my studio, the actual mixer is really used to get mics and instruments up to line level, and to get audio to the speakers. The actual one that sits there frequently changes. From a digital X32, to a Soundcraft LX7, to a Soundcraft ancient Ghost, to a Peavy 32. The Ghost, being old, has a warmer sound on microphones - the X32 and LX7 I cannot hear a difference. The Soundcraft is a bit more hissy with the gain up full, but it does have LOTS of gain, which in use is never an issue. I've got Tascam and Lexicon Omega interfaces - and again, I'd swap these with no qualms - treating them as interchangeable. While there are sonic differences, I really have to look for them, and looking back at projects completed over the years, I have no idea which ones I used. I'm finding more and more that the microphones are the key feature - not the preamps. Swapping a mic to a more sympathetic or appropriate one make far more improvement. A couple of year ago, Sound on Sound did an objective report on preamps and their conclusions sat firmly with my own - that the mics and acoustic environment made far more difference. Obviously everyone should go in the direction their ears point them, and for me, the real solution to getting better sound is to select the right mic, stick it in the right place and make sure the room is good.

    I just can't agree that better preamps should be the area to put the effort first. Newcomers just won't hear it for what it is. I'm not even certain that price actually has much to do with it - there are some excellent real budget end products, and there are some mega expensive items that just don't offer value for money.

    I think somebody asked Alan Parsons once, why he was happy to endorse AT instead of other brands when they clearly weren't so good, and he disagreed strongly, and said something like right tool for the right job, or something similar. Surely, we all use the best tools we have, in an appropriate way.

    I'm anti posh preamps - just my own personal bete-noir. However, for those that love them, I have no major beef - as long as they are people who really can hear what they do, and that is the real hangup for me, I don't think newcomers and beginners have the experience to tell what the differences are. The other day somebody was talking about Octava 319s - I've had a pair of these for years, and they ONLY get used when I need to record something that is bright and piercing, they tame this very well, and they have a role for thin girlie voices too. They're warm - probably too warm for most uses. Equally, I have a rather misused 414 from around 98 or so? And this is the opposite, it's bright and clean - cutting sometimes. I sold my STC ribbons, got quite a bit for them on ebay from a collector, but I really hated their sound (just me - everyone else loved them). These differences are chalk and cheese, and all my students could hear this stuff sounding different. Pre-amp differences (to my technical head) should simply be about noise and distortion, but I have to accept the fact that for years now, preamps have been selected for their sound, it's just that even describing this is difficult in words.

    I also have to agree that for every excellently recorded classic, there are dozens and dozens of dreadful ones - so I don't mind being told I'm wrong. In fact, I guess this is why many people are very successful producers and engineers, they do know what they like.

    I'm perhaps just a fossil, having a grump - but I really can't see me ever investing in special preamps, I'll stick with buying more mics which work better for my toolbox!

    Not sure if you have to subscribe to read this - but I found the results of the SOS reviews.

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