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Is That New Vinyl Release Truly Analog?

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  • Is That New Vinyl Release Truly Analog?

    Even if it says mastered from the the original master tapes? And kept in the analog domain?

    Sadly not necessarily!

    Another complicating factor that I was reminded of by a conversation with Chad on Monday.

    Is the mastering engineer using a digital delay line to space the grooves? Then the LP isn't analog. (See Ultratape thread for a picture of Chad's specially built Ampex ATR-102 machine.)

    We know Chad's reissues are the real deal. I assume Bernie Grundman's cuts are pure analog. MOFI? But how many others are?

    I attached an article from Mikey outlining the issue too!


    This interview was conducted by New York Musician Magazine's Bill Taylor, and originally run there. We reprint it thanks to the kindness or Mr. Taylor and his publication. Thanks also to Don Grossinger for gettting it for Musicangle.com. BT: What was your participation on the project? DG: I did all of the vinyl mastering and some of the QC work to make sure the test pressings were up to par.
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
    -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

  • #2
    Thanks for that, it does explain a lot.

    david
    Manufacturer: American Sound Turntables and The Nothing Rack
    Distribution: NEODIO

    Special Sales: van den Hul
    Industry Representation: Lamm, Kharma OLS Speakers, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformer, Venta Airwasher

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    • #3

      The cutting of the lacquer is still done with the signal fed from the repro head of the Mastering tape deck, right? (i.e. an analog process).

      Please explain to me how the insertion of a digital process to control the spacing of the grooves compromises the sound quality?

      Other than no longer being able to call it an "all-Analog process", I can't fathom how this would change the quality of the signal that you extract from vinyl playback. Please educate me....
      Speakers: Rockport Avior
      Amp: Ypsilon Aelius Mk II (Silver Edition)
      Preamp: Pass Labs XS
      Phono preamp: EMIA LR Phono Corrector, Slagle Silver SUTs
      Phono: Continuum Criterion, Kuzma 4-Point, Lyra Etna SL Lambda
      Digital: dCS Network Bridge, dCS Scarlatti DAC
      Tape: Studer A80 RC, Doshi V3.0

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      • #4
        OK I'll assume everybody knows about why grooves need to be spaced apart eg. low frequencies require wider grooves.

        In the old days--or say in the case of D2D recordings--the mastering engineer stood by the lathe with sheet music and adjusted the spacing of the grooves manually. Today, the grooves are automatically spaced using a computer attached to the cutting lathe. To do this, a preview signal is sent "ahead" of the main signal so the computer can analyze the music and adjust the groove spacing for the upcoming musical passage.

        Scenario 1: The signal is first converted to digital, split in two with one part going to the workstation and computer and the other, digitally delayed, to the cutting lathe. This of course involves a A-->D and D--A conversion step before cutting the lacquer.

        Scenario 2: A special tape machine with two sets of output heads and electronics is used. The tape passes over the first set of heads and that signal is fed to the computer to adjust groove spacing. Then using the right spacing between head blocks and appropriate delay, the tape then passes over a second set of heads whose signal is fed to the cutting lathe.

        Hope that helps.

        PS. IIRC also anything cut DMM using a digital signal. So now one wonders whether the "brightness" of DMM pressing is the actual process or because of the A-->D and D-->A conversion.
        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
        ________________________________________

        -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
        -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
        -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
        -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
        -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
        -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
        -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
        -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
        -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
        -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

        Comment


        • #5
          If i'm reading this correctly, Myles, you are saying that the digital preview process, which controls the lathe settings, affects the sonics. How do we know that in this arrangement, the signal being fed to the cutter for inscription into the grooves was subject to digital conversion? Can't a feed for the preview process be digitized for that purpose, but the signal for inscription still come from the tape, i.e., remain in the analog domain? If that is so, then why would setting the lathe parameters digitally affect the sonics in a dramatic way if the signal to the cutting head itself remains in the analog domain and is never converted to "D"? Or am I tripping here? You seem to be suggesting that to digitally preview the signal fed to the cutter must be converted to 'D' for both purposes- preview for setting and for cutting the grooves.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
            Scenario 2: A special tape machine with two sets of output heads and electronics is used. The tape passes over the first set of heads and that signal is fed to the computer to adjust groove spacing. Then using the right spacing between head blocks and appropriate delay, the tape then passes over a second set of heads whose signal is fed to the cutting lathe.
            Yes, of course Scenario 1 is not ideal.

            Who cares whether the groove spacing process in Scenario 2 is done digitally or in the analog domain?

            Speakers: Rockport Avior
            Amp: Ypsilon Aelius Mk II (Silver Edition)
            Preamp: Pass Labs XS
            Phono preamp: EMIA LR Phono Corrector, Slagle Silver SUTs
            Phono: Continuum Criterion, Kuzma 4-Point, Lyra Etna SL Lambda
            Digital: dCS Network Bridge, dCS Scarlatti DAC
            Tape: Studer A80 RC, Doshi V3.0

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            • #7
              Bill's question is exactly as mine but stated in a different way.
              Speakers: Rockport Avior
              Amp: Ypsilon Aelius Mk II (Silver Edition)
              Preamp: Pass Labs XS
              Phono preamp: EMIA LR Phono Corrector, Slagle Silver SUTs
              Phono: Continuum Criterion, Kuzma 4-Point, Lyra Etna SL Lambda
              Digital: dCS Network Bridge, dCS Scarlatti DAC
              Tape: Studer A80 RC, Doshi V3.0

              Comment


              • #8
                From what I understand (not quite sure), in this case the digitized signal is what get's converted to analog by the cutting head and not the original analog master.

                david
                Manufacturer: American Sound Turntables and The Nothing Rack
                Distribution: NEODIO

                Special Sales: van den Hul
                Industry Representation: Lamm, Kharma OLS Speakers, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformer, Venta Airwasher

                Unique Items: Vintage Horn Speakers
                http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...stening-room-1
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                Comment


                • MylesBAstor
                  MylesBAstor
                  Administrator
                  MylesBAstor commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Or the digitized signal is reconverted to the analog domain and that signal is then fed to the lathe.

              • #9
                Originally posted by Bill Hart View Post
                If i'm reading this correctly, Myles, you are saying that the digital preview process, which controls the lathe settings, affects the sonics. How do we know that in this arrangement, the signal being fed to the cutter for inscription into the grooves was subject to digital conversion? Can't a feed for the preview process be digitized for that purpose, but the signal for inscription still come from the tape, i.e., remain in the analog domain? If that is so, then why would setting the lathe parameters digitally affect the sonics in a dramatic way if the signal to the cutting head itself remains in the analog domain and is never converted to "D"? Or am I tripping here? You seem to be suggesting that to digitally preview the signal fed to the cutter must be converted to 'D' for both purposes- preview for setting and for cutting the grooves.
                Yes, because there's only one set of heads and the signal must be delayed (around 0.9 sec) to allow the computer to adjust for the coming musical passage. Hence they use a digital delay line. I guess it's kinda like that 5 sec delay they use on radio.

                Maybe there is another way but these are the only two ways I know of that are currently being used.

                Hope that answers the question.
                Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                ________________________________________

                -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
                -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
                -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

                Comment


                • #10
                  Originally posted by squasher View Post

                  Yes, of course Scenario 1 is not ideal.

                  Who cares whether the groove spacing process in Scenario 2 is done digitally or in the analog domain?
                  Theoretically maybe but in reality it isn't done that way because the mastering engineer needs to delay the signal sent to the cutting lathe.
                  Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                  Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                  ________________________________________

                  -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                  -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
                  -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                  -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
                  -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                  -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                  -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                  -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                  -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                  -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by david k View Post
                    From what I understand (not quite sure), in this case the digitized signal is what get's converted to analog by the cutting head and not the original analog master.

                    david
                    Yes and delayed in time to allow the computer to do its thing.
                    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                    ________________________________________

                    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                    -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
                    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                    -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
                    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Also look at the attached piece about Masterdisk.
                      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                      ________________________________________

                      -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                      -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
                      -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                      -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
                      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                      -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        I would never question the method or the belief of it, but it sounds to me like a case of splitting hairs. How this somehow would be audible is beyond my comprehension.
                        Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Originally posted by Johnny Vinyl View Post
                          I would never question the method or the belief of it, but it sounds to me like a case of splitting hairs. How this somehow would be audible is beyond my comprehension.
                          Something is always lost in translation!

                          david
                          Manufacturer: American Sound Turntables and The Nothing Rack
                          Distribution: NEODIO

                          Special Sales: van den Hul
                          Industry Representation: Lamm, Kharma OLS Speakers, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformer, Venta Airwasher

                          Unique Items: Vintage Horn Speakers
                          http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...stening-room-1
                          http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...earfield-setup

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            This discussion is fascinating but has become confusing because we all are
                            1) reading different things from the original article,
                            2) making assumptions about where the A/D, D/A processes are occurring
                            3) don't know enough about the Mastering process.

                            I'm guilty of all of the above.

                            Scenario 1: If this is truly the way most Mastering is accomplished, I see the whole point of Myles's original post and understand why we should care about this. I do wonder, however, in this case where the A/D and D/A processing occurs. Is it in a box that sits between the Mastering deck and the Cutting lathe or is it all in the Cutting lathe? What are the inputs to the cutting lathe?

                            Scenario 2: This was where I am confused. I had assumed the "purists" were arguing the subtleties between using an all-analog process to determine the groove spacing versus calculating the spacing digitally. There are such things as analog computers after all..... The cutting of the lacquer is still done with the analog signal from the repro head. If this is the argument (digital vs analog spacing calculation), I don't know why it matters other than to say it's "all-analog" and satisfy the Mikey Fremer's of the world.
                            Speakers: Rockport Avior
                            Amp: Ypsilon Aelius Mk II (Silver Edition)
                            Preamp: Pass Labs XS
                            Phono preamp: EMIA LR Phono Corrector, Slagle Silver SUTs
                            Phono: Continuum Criterion, Kuzma 4-Point, Lyra Etna SL Lambda
                            Digital: dCS Network Bridge, dCS Scarlatti DAC
                            Tape: Studer A80 RC, Doshi V3.0

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