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new digital and old digital

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by andshesbuyingastairway, Apr 12, 2007.

  1. hi all i am new to recording...

    anyways i have a question concerning various new model digital stuff in comparison to the older digi equipment that we all know and love. for instance the lexicon pcm 70 against the pcm 91 or the eventide h3000 vs. the eclipse, besides the fact that the newer models harbor more processing capacity (and add various wider range features), i am wondering if it is a sonic superiority that keeps these older pieces forever embedded in the professional studio. my train of though for example with the pcm 70 is that it is not truly digital only the digital modeling involved (so the beauty element that is analog sound outweighs a little perhaps?) , there are no s/pdif/optical/etc. outputs only MIDI. but anyways, is there a difference in sound characteristic and how do the newer models compare?

    aside from the stereo effects, i am also wondering about a unit like the mytek 8X96 vs. the newer 8X192. obviously there's the big ole HD@@@!!!!!@@($$$$$$$) thing going on there. but what about a difference in sound quality (between say the 8X192 set on 96kHz)? is this a reason for some of the smaller stereo units that don't get connected via a 12 or 18 whatever PIN computer connecter being more expensive? any helpful advice and knowledge would be greatly appreciated.

    oh and i almost forgot, another example being the aphex 250 vs. the 204
  2. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    First of all, there is no digital modeling, like convolution type technology in those Lexicons. They do not replicate existing spaces. They have great sounding math though.

    The thing to consider with older outboard DSP, is that it was mucho expensive at the time, because companies like Lexicon and Yamaha had proprietary chips. They cost more to manufacture and develop.

    Some of the old stuff still stands up, probably better than a plug in. Actually, there is no probably about it. I would take a harware version of the Eventide over the plug version. I like the plug version stuff too. I don't know of any Lexicon plugs that sound like the 80 or 90 series. Maybe there is and I haven't heard it.

    Back to the point. In digital, there is no legacy or vintage product that becomes more desirable in time like analog preamps, outboard, mixing consoles and tape machines. Early digital has older, sometimes obsolete converter technology. The S/N may not be the best. Now, in the case of the Eventide, you can get more bang for the buck, as they have weeded out the crap and you pretty much have the best of the best in that new box. I think it is a heck of a deal myself.

    There is a bunch of hype about recording at higher sample rates. The thing you must ask yourself is, can I capture any sound at all above 20kHz with my microphones? Then you must ask yourself, can the average headphone or speaker system reproduce it? The answer is likely no in both cases, so why bother about harmonics that are so far below the human threshold of hearing, and completely masqued by the dominant source?

    There is a difference in recording at 96kHz. Many people perceive it. But science has yet to prove what that difference is, how if ever will it be measurable.
  3. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    When it comes to anlaog or digital, old or new, it's all real simple. If it sounds good and/or meets your specific needs, then use it. If it doesn't, then don't...
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I've never played around much with a convolution reverb. I really don't believe in it. So somebody makes a loud sound in an old church/auditorium and records the decay. And so your convolution reverb should sound like that but it really doesn't. I can usually dial in any kind of "space" or place, I want on my old Digital reverbs (Lexicon PCM 60/70, MPX1's, Yamaha SPX90's). Dammit! I miss my plate!

    The original algorithms that Lexicon used, sounded good but I remember a lot of guys complaining about the rotating background echo as the reverb fades. Big deal! OK, so they liked the sound of the original EMT plate as I did but this was the best Lexicon could come up with back in the mid-seventies, which has carried through to today. My Yamaha reverb sounded like mud in comparison to the Lexicon's but was effective when I wanted some soft smooth reverb, like on a string section. It still wasn't my first choice, generally.

    Lexicon Lover
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  5. hm, thanks for the replies. yeah i understand they might cost more to manufacture and develop, but at the end of the day to the consumer they are actually cheaper than the newer models i believe. which is one of the reasons i bring this up in the first place...

    so yeah things like converters are not quite as up to par.

    with things you are telling me, now i reiterate my initial question more than ever; why then are they kept so prevelant in pro studios?

    i feel that i have no choice but to assume that the reason you will only see h3000 type models in studios or predominantly see units like the pcm70 and spx-90 is because of a better sound (not defined merely by technological expansion obviously)

    i do believe in extended frequency range and its relative depiction but i think what ends up stopping me from using it at the end of the day is the insane file size... what i was asking though wasn't anything about the hype revolving around 192...in fact i asked if you were to set the 8X192 on 96 and compare it to the older 8X96 or even a stereo 96, would they sound the same. if then, why then, are the stereo 96 units so much more expensive per channel breakdown? i have to believe its more than just the frame and steel it costs mytek to produce it...

    and with that sound test i realize it could get pretty hard to detect but i'm just curious

    i don't really want to talk about plug-ins, this equipment is all technically still analog outboard.
  6. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    There is no secret and it's not complicated. Don't stray from the logic that should always guide you. As I said before, If it sounds good and/or meets your specific needs, then use it. If it doesn't, then don't. If you already have invested in tools that give you the sound and performance you want or need from them, there is no need to get rid of them or replace them just because there are newer models available. In many cases, something new is not better than old, even if the newer product is more feature laden, has higher technology or is much cheaper. Better converters and higher sampling rates in many cases have made some digital things like reverbs and delays sound worse. My 20+ year old Sony MUR-201 with it's 16-bit 26kHz sampling rate, still sounds much better than most of the new junk being spit out today, including all the crap currently sold by Lexicon except for maybe their 960L. The 960L is a good example. Many, many users (including me) think that the 480L is a much better sounding and usefull reverb the 960L.
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Audio quality and its general perceptions are different to each individual.

    Many of us old-timers have heavily invested in many of those classic pieces of equipment. In that way, the items we use feels like a big old comfortable chair in your living room. Many of us don't necessarily want newer because it's not necessarily better. Many uninformed green folks look at specifications and believe that because those specifications might appeared to be superior to an older product, it must be better? Not necessarily. It might actually be cheaper! That's right, cheaper to manufacture, since cheaper production capabilities have become so prevalent, surfacemount components and such.

    You are inquiring about the perceptual quality of 192kHz sampling. I can most assuredly tell you that regardless of sample rate, I CAN hear the difference between any format of PCM, regardless of of sample rate or bit depth, from a DSD (Direct Stream Digital) recording. NO COMPARISON! So I don't bother with anything more than 44.1kHz at 16-bit. OK, sometimes to make a client happy, I'll record at 24-bit (32-bit float), at 44.1kHz. Yup, 88.2kHz and 96kHz sounds better.......until you dummy down to CD or MP3, etc. And then it's all the same slop.

    So can your car go 150 mph? Wonderful! Just how often do you drive that fast? Right, there's no need. And certainly impossible on the Washington DC, Beltway. Donworryboutit.

    So I really don't have any plans to upgrade my 34-year-old Neve console along with my 35-year-old Neumann microphones into my 14-year-old digital TASCAM recorders and my 24-year-old Lexicon Digital reverb processors, because it still sounds better than anything new, to me and that's all that matters.

    Living in the past quite nicely
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  8. yeah the downsampling to cd thing is definently one of the key arguments for conversion. i'm assuming that you then would also think 192kHz also sounds superior? (until of course you go to cd that is)

    what i am referring to is not actually just the bit sample rate. i am questioning the hardware interface, like i said the 192 interfaces use digi computer pin inputs as opposed to having the XLR analog inputs directly in the interface (as you probably already know). maybe you consider that a moot point, but like i said i'm just curious if that could be a factor in affecting the sound. and if you do, let me know.

    all comfort level aside, consider the perspective of an individual who has the option between the newer gear and older gear. and the only point of reference and desire is sonic excellence. would you still go with pcm70, h3000, aphex 250?

    i'm taking a wild guess that you would.

    the reason i am lumping the mytek 8X96 vs. 8X192 in this whole thing is because i see a similarity between it and the pcm70- 91 thing, etc.
  9. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Other than their aural exciter, I've never liked any of the other Aphex products. Well, let clairify that by saying I kind of liked the eq and compressor that they used to make for the API lunchbox.

    The PCM70 is great unit, but a little noisy for the digital world. The H3000 is also a great unit, but I never like the reverbs in them and parts for repair are likely to soon be an issue. Both are live/FOH standards. For studio work, I'd much prefer any newer Eventide DSP4000 and above, and if your set on Lexicon, then skip the PCM70 for a newer PCM unit or better yet, a M300/300L, 224/224XL, 480L, 960L.

    I saw the market dropping for these items a few years ago so I sold my H3000, PCM42 and PCM70 for top dollar. Not to worry, I still have 2 other newer Eventides and still own many other high end outboard effects units. And I can always buy them again if I really need them, which will be at a much cheaper price.
  10. well, that's quite some opinion you've got there. i'm sorry that guys like steve albini and eddie van halen (to name a very small few) don't feel the same way.

    appreciate it nonetheless.

    -just a good old boy trying to find something in the digital world that isn't disposable

    look out cause i'm using technology ain't got no time to make no apology
    i am the world's forgotten boy the one who's searchin to destroy
  11. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Well, I call them as I see them. Steve Albini is one guy with one opinion. His likes and dislikes don't mean squat to me if we agree on gear or not. And decrypted old man Eddie may know his way around a guitar and a Peavey amp, but he is hardly someone that has much credibility when it comes to speaking about professional audio production gear.

    Anybody can like or dislike anything they want. No sweat to me.
  12. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    By digi computer pins, are you talking about Digidesign pin configurations? Those aren't proprietary and used soley by them. That DB25 idea came from TASCAM long ago.

    If you are talking about generic computer connectors, there are many interfaces that use miniature and sub miniature multipin connectors, and include a break out "fan" of XLRs, RCAs, etc. When it comes down to it, no there should be no sonic degradation, until the connection becomes weak physically, dirty, etc. No different than anything else.

    If you were to pop open any box, you will find subminature connectors throughout. Don't worry about it.

    My theory and practice has been: better to buy yesterdays top dog pro version (analog or digital) than today's budget version. There have been some times that I was shocked by the performance of a new budget piece, but not often.

    One unit that may or may not have been mentioned is the Sony R-7. It is a good sounding verb. You won't see them on sale used for long.

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