Explanation of Analogue Vs Digital, Help Needed!

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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Jacqueslacouth
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Explanation of Analogue Vs Digital, Help Needed!

Post by Jacqueslacouth » Wed Apr 06, 2011 5:43 pm

Hmmm, maybe insomnia kicking in but I find myself confused by aspects of this never ending debate.

If I record a high quality aspect signal into my DAW I have converted to a digital facsimile of that waveform. If my AD converters are not of particularly good quality though, this is going to be a fairly poor representation of the original waveform and any further work with that recording will reflect this...I am I ok so far?

If however I purchase a professionally sampled version of the same instrument recorded with the best AD converters on the market, obviously this will be better than my recordings. Now being delivered as a high quality digital rendition, the nature of digital data (as I understand it) means that as long as it remains in the digital domain, the original quality will not degrade. That being said, If I use a rompler or sampler with exceptionally high quality samples of original analogue gear with digital outs, isn't this going to produce a more faithful representation of the original gear in the digital domain than recording the same gear through my cheaper audio interface?

I guess I'm seeing it like taking a photo with the best film camera available then scanning the picture with a 600dpi scanner as opposed to taking a pic with a quality 18MP digital camera. The film camera picture will have all the pleasing aspects of this media but when scanned with the low quality scanner, that is what I will have to use in the digital domain (the poor quality scan) while, when I upload my original digital pic, I can copy it a thousand times without degradation.

So (now this may be where I'm wrong, or maybe I'm way off track altogether), the high end analogue gear is useful to me IF I have the capacity to record it exceptionally well (bearing in mind that once recorded, it is a digital representation of the waveform) or IF I am keeping it in the analogue domain, either recording to tape or simply amplifying the signal live using analogue gear. However, if I am working with limited resources, professionally sampled waveforms which are preserved in the digital domain, will remain preserved at their professional quality sampling no matter how often I copy them once in my DAW.

Therefore, I guess I am asking this, If I AM working with moderate resources (AD/DA converters) doesn't it make more sense to buy, say a high quality set of samples than a high end analogue instrument for many times the cost..of course understanding that the samples are of pre determined sounds and that I don't have the unlimited flexibility in sound sculpting that I have with the original instrument?

3phase
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Re: Explanation of Analogue Vs Digital, Help Needed!

Post by 3phase » Wed Apr 06, 2011 5:48 pm

as soon a analog sound enters the digital domain its lost.. you cant make a filet steak from meatloaf anymore
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Jacqueslacouth
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Re: Explanation of Analogue Vs Digital, Help Needed!

Post by Jacqueslacouth » Wed Apr 06, 2011 5:58 pm

Or a soya bean from Tofu for that matter :lol:

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Re: Explanation of Analogue Vs Digital, Help Needed!

Post by Poster » Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:27 pm

Jacqueslacouth wrote:?
let me ask you this; do you think your current source, signal path and output are of inferior quality when you listen to it?

Tone Deft
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Re: Explanation of Analogue Vs Digital, Help Needed!

Post by Tone Deft » Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:33 pm

OP - make an active effort to read up on audio concepts and do less of these thought experiments.

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Jacqueslacouth
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Re: Explanation of Analogue Vs Digital, Help Needed!

Post by Jacqueslacouth » Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:43 pm

Tone Deft wrote:OP - make an active effort to read up on audio concepts and do less of these thought experiments.

godpseed Poster. ;)

OK, Sorry :(


i was just curious.

3phase
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Re: Explanation of Analogue Vs Digital, Help Needed!

Post by 3phase » Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:54 pm

Jacqueslacouth wrote:
Tone Deft wrote:OP - make an active effort to read up on audio concepts and do less of these thought experiments.

godpseed Poster. ;)

OK, Sorry :(


i was just curious.

most of theese so called high quality samples are crap.. do your own
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Tone Deft
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Re: Explanation of Analogue Vs Digital, Help Needed!

Post by Tone Deft » Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:19 pm

Jacqueslacouth wrote:
Tone Deft wrote:OP - make an active effort to read up on audio concepts and do less of these thought experiments.

godpseed Poster. ;)

OK, Sorry :(


i was just curious.
don't get me wrong, it's GREAT to ask these questions. IMO it's like this... you start out playing with audio and it's all fun, then you learn some aspects of it and learn that it's not perfect, especially digital. then you get to where you are and you see potential problems everywhere and people tend to overthink things. then as you progress you realize that there are problems in one area but those over masked by problems in another area. you learn these tradeoffs and build an understanding of how to use audio tools.

check out Tarekith's web site, it's a pretty standard reference around here for audio stuff. it will give you a great overview of audio and it's Live oriented.

loosely speaking...
it's the year 2011 and people have been using machines to record audio for decades. all the main problems are solved, the tools we have are really good and they can support the level of production that most of us have. in other words, don't worry about the tools, work on good production techniques, always trust your ears and please do keep asking questions.

in regards to your question, I believe that good songs start with good recordings. using other peoples' work as a starting point isn't a bad idea if you feel that they'd do better. nothing wrong with that, there's always someone better.

hth.

/ramble
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JuanSOLO
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Re: Explanation of Analogue Vs Digital, Help Needed!

Post by JuanSOLO » Wed Apr 06, 2011 10:12 pm

It's easy to let the mind wonder in the black hole of what "could be" in terms of quality, gear, etc. I totally agree with Tone on this one, and would like to add it's more important what I do with the tools I have, not the tools I desire. Besides, much of the uber creative artist do their best work with limitations. Let's take Star Wars for example. In the 70's they had all these limitations and made a legendary movie, decades later when they had every tool available, they made a bunch of bullshit.

In regards to samples, purchased or DIY, I do both. There are tons of samples for free and for sale, I tend to buy lots of them when inspired too. I use them a lot based on the philosophy that many will sound better than I could reproduce, and I can have a WHOLE BUNCH of them with one purchase, and quickly get into making tunes. However over the past few years, I have made a lot of my own, and I find I enjoy using them more because they are personal. Even though the quality might seem shit to others, they usually sound like magic to me.

Some of the best samples I've heard are from a band mate recording onto his Casio SK1, running that into a bunch of FX pedals, and then porting them to his Korg Sampler keyboard. They just have their own style, and that makes them special to listen too, unique. Sometimes I think that changes they way they are judged on quality.

mr.ergonomics
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Re: Explanation of Analogue Vs Digital, Help Needed!

Post by mr.ergonomics » Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:25 pm

Jacqueslacouth, my best advise... really don't care too much about that. even the worst converter today will not turn your sound intro crap if the source is good. I wish someone had given me that advise when I started. imho I took a wrong direction because of that whole gear stuff. so only care about that of you have a technical background or are really interested in, but not when you goal is music.

and sound quality is not equal to "it sounds good". two different things. the one has the goal of a unaffected sound the other is just subjective. that's why valve gear sounds good (sometimes). the sound quality is not that good but the colouring is subjective nice. the same with old samplers.

Jacqueslacouth
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Re: Explanation of Analogue Vs Digital, Help Needed!

Post by Jacqueslacouth » Fri Apr 08, 2011 1:32 pm

Well, I''m sure I didn't want to put anyone to any bother that they didn't want to. but thanks to everyone who answered. As stated earlier, I guess this was a thought experiment....but hey, I'm a physicist by training, so shoot me. I am going through a bizarre disengagement from GAS at the moment and it is all starting to get a bit strange. I guess the point I was seeking assurance of was that, more than anything, romplers are still a viable tool and to be honest, I guess I could have answered that for myself with a resounding YES. Yes they can sound utterly professional and to myself...they are totally usable for pop production.

Moody
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Re: Explanation of Analogue Vs Digital, Help Needed!

Post by Moody » Sat Apr 09, 2011 8:43 pm

Some bad samples are good and some good samples are bad.

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