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The insecurity of small waveforms on your DAW

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Re: The insecurity of small waveforms on your DAW

Postby blinddrew » Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:29 am

If I recall correctly, the main ferry that operates across lake Titicaca is coal/steam powered. It started that way, was converted to diesel, and was then converted back because it was more efficient / cost effective.
Probably just tells you more about the relative price of diesel in the Andes than anything else though... ;)
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Re: The insecurity of small waveforms on your DAW

Postby CS70 » Sun Jan 19, 2020 12:47 pm

There's a an acquaintance of mine in Italy who makes a more than decent living building clavicembali. :D

Quite a niche market perhaps but very profitable.
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Re: The insecurity of small waveforms on your DAW

Postby ef37a » Sun Jan 19, 2020 1:01 pm

I guess the only guys* left that drive steam locomotives are mad keen 'racks and would tell you there is no better means of transport.

For the real drivers of yesteryear though I bet it is a different tale Had to in the sheds two hours before the first train leaves to get the bloody thing steamed up. The job was alternately baking hot and freezing. Got bloody filthy all the time and probably got a skin disease and lung cancer. Forever oiling the wheels...

ICEs ARE much more efficient because the cylinder temperature is far higher than even super heated steam.

*Was going to put 'gals' as well but upon reflection I think women have more bloody sense!

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Re: The insecurity of small waveforms on your DAW

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sun Jan 19, 2020 1:06 pm

A steam train journey is great fun for the driver, fireman AND the passengers. Although they could probably have reached their destination more comfortably and quickly.

Analogue recording is only really fun for the recordist. The consumer just gets a slightly inferior product.

Of course, if you have an enthusiast at BOTH ends of the supply chain... Are my Akai 4000DS and Fostex A8 'vintage' yet? I could do without this mortgage!
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Re: The insecurity of small waveforms on your DAW

Postby jimjazzdad » Sun Jan 19, 2020 2:26 pm

^^^ This!
In some cases the experience is more enjoyable than the end product :shock:
Exalted Wombat wrote:...Are my Akai 4000DS and Fostex A8 'vintage' yet? I could do without this mortgage!
Don't sell 'em - if you do, you will forever live in regret!
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Re: The insecurity of small waveforms on your DAW

Postby zenguitar » Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:03 pm

Exalted Wombat wrote:Although they could probably have reached their destination more comfortably and quickly.
A couple of years ago I read that a Great Western Castle class loco could pull the current Cornish Riviera Express (including both locomotive cars) and to the current timetable. The King class was even more powerful.

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Re: The insecurity of small waveforms on your DAW

Postby ef37a » Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:45 pm

jimjazzdad wrote:^^^ This!
In some cases the experience is more enjoyable than the end product :shock:
Exalted Wombat wrote:...Are my Akai 4000DS and Fostex A8 'vintage' yet? I could do without this mortgage!
Don't sell 'em - if you do, you will forever live in regret!

No, don't sell them but do look around for spares. Belts are the first things to go, especially if they haven't moved for years (great fun scraping off the sticky goo!)

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Re: The insecurity of small waveforms on your DAW

Postby MOF » Sun Jan 19, 2020 7:13 pm

Was going to put 'gals' as well but upon reflection I think women have more bloody sense!

No, I saw a channel 5 (?) documentary recently about heritage steam railways and there was a young woman being trained to do the job.
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Re: The insecurity of small waveforms on your DAW

Postby Folderol » Sun Jan 19, 2020 7:28 pm

MOF wrote:
Was going to put 'gals' as well but upon reflection I think women have more bloody sense!

No, I saw a channel 5 (?) documentary recently about heritage steam railways and there was a young woman being trained to do the job.
Now it's socially acceptable there are a surprising number of women involved in this sort of thing - also on the engineering side.
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Re: The insecurity of small waveforms on your DAW

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Jan 19, 2020 7:29 pm

Many years ago, when I was a driving instructor I taught two sisters, one worked for Railtrack and the other maintaining rolling stock. Both were electrical engineers by trade and both very much hands on.
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Re: The insecurity of small waveforms on your DAW

Postby merlyn » Sun Jan 19, 2020 7:51 pm

It's not steam that's out of date -- it's coal. :D

A nuclear power station is a giant kettle and instead of a heating element it has a fission reaction.

Electric trains are still steam powered but the steam has been moved from onboard the train to the power station.
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Re: The insecurity of small waveforms on your DAW

Postby blinddrew » Sun Jan 19, 2020 8:25 pm

Indeed, a multi-stage steam turbine can run at a remarkably high efficiency.

Interestingly* at christmas I was clearing out some stuff and found my old steam tables from college. No idea why I kept them, I certainly haven't used them since.

* For a given definition of 'interesting'.
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Re: The insecurity of small waveforms on your DAW

Postby Trevor Johnson » Sun Jan 19, 2020 8:56 pm

There are loads of steam-pulled trains today, and most are good commercial successes,

My nephew, Stuart, with a History Masters, manages the business, and drives heritage steam trains for a living. It certainly makes money.

And nearer to home home, the Wensleydale Railway, steam and diesel, does well too.

My late father-in-law, a former BR chief surveyor, who modernised Kings Cross, in the 70s', volunteered, with his wife, at the North York Moors Railway, too.
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Re: The insecurity of small waveforms on your DAW

Postby ceejay » Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:01 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:... I was astonished that none were what I considered to be broadcast-able to normal BBC standards! Not even close!
A similar experience in television some years ago when I had to re-edit (on 1" tape) several stories that had been edited on Betacam by a new junior editor because the vision levels were all over the place. It turned out that nobody had ever taught her how to use a waveform monitor and she had simply been turning the brightness control on her monitor up and down when the source levels changed!!!
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Re: The insecurity of small waveforms on your DAW

Postby ef37a » Mon Jan 20, 2020 9:01 am

ceejay wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:... I was astonished that none were what I considered to be broadcast-able to normal BBC standards! Not even close!
A similar experience in television some years ago when I had to re-edit (on 1" tape) several stories that had been edited on Betacam by a new junior editor because the vision levels were all over the place. It turned out that nobody had ever taught her how to use a waveform monitor and she had simply been turning the brightness control on her monitor up and down when the source levels changed!!!

Be right at home now. Much of what I see is so dark I cannot make it out. Even the Beeb's new Dr Who had scenes where I could only just make out the faces.

Do they not realize we do NOT sit in total darkness with adapted eyes? (nor in a 20phon environment with a £20,000 sound system)

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Re: The insecurity of small waveforms on your DAW

Postby CS70 » Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:53 am

merlyn wrote:It's not steam that's out of date -- it's coal. :D

A nuclear power station is a giant kettle and instead of a heating element it has a fission reaction.

Electric trains are still steam powered but the steam has been moved from onboard the train to the power station.

I made the comparison with steam engines - locomotives which carry their own kettles (and coal). They are out of date, big time, no matter how many cousins and uncles one may involved who are keen weekend stokers. So is tape.

Steam - sure isn't, but nobody (at least, not I) told it was. Coal - alas - even less, as it's still the cheapest way to produce said steam and make turbines run.

But steam engines - yes. Otherwise it's like saying that candles as a general purpose illumination because we're still using oil and wax elsewhere (and now, of course, I can't wait for all the posts claiming that candles are perfectly viable and used to illuminate cities and to hear about all the uncles and cousins who live in places exclusively illuminated by candles. Bring my greetings :D)

The point that I make is that the OP's insecurity stems by this quasi-mythical status of tape recording (even SOS is, occasionally and indirectly, not entirely innocent...- I remember an article about a Daft Punk production which was entirely made on tape at incredible cost... and wondering why there was no box saying "yeah you can do that, but it's kinda silly").

It's that status that makes people wonder if they're doing the right thing (like the OP), and even (as we often see in this and other forums) go to great lengths and cost to realize what is ultimately an inferior setup - buying mixers, tape recorders etc - and thinking they're doing something technically better. All good and fun (and of course, unlike train engines, there is no objective "best" so anything goes, really), but only imho when it's done with open eyes.

As I said, it is one of my pet peeves :D
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Re: The insecurity of small waveforms on your DAW

Postby The Elf » Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:03 am

CS70 wrote:The point that I make is that the OP's insecurity stems by this quasi-mythical status of tape recording (even SOS is, occasionally and indirectly, not entirely innocent...- I remember an article about a Daft Punk production which was entirely made on tape at incredible cost... and wondering why there was no box saying "yeah you can do that, but it's kinda silly").

It's that status that makes people wonder if they're doing the right thing (like the OP), and even (as we often see in this and other forums) go to great lengths and cost to realize what is ultimately an inferior setup - buying mixers, tape recorders etc - and thinking they're doing something technically better. All good and fun (and of course, unlike train engines, there is no objective "best" so anything goes, really), but only imho when it's done with open eyes.
:clap: :clap: :clap:

Could not agree more!

Late last year I was in a local studio and was told that <insert famous producer/musician name here> said that vinyl sounded better than digital, so it *must* be definitively 'better'.

People BELIEVE this stuff, especially when a 'name', however misguided, mis-quoted, or misunderstood comes with it. If it goes unchallenged we are in danger of losing science to magic!
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Re: The insecurity of small waveforms on your DAW

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:21 am

Very true... but we do have to be careful only to challenge the science errors.

If someone chooses to record to tape because they think it provides better signal-to-noise ratio, for example say, that can -- and should -- be challenged.

But if they choose to do it because it they prefer working with it (maybe the rewind time helps them to formulate their musical ideas, for example), that's a perfectly valid thing that shouldn't be scorned at.

Informed choice is what we're after...
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Re: The insecurity of small waveforms on your DAW

Postby ef37a » Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:22 am

I agree CS70.
My interest in electronics began in my early teens and before I was 20 had moved to audio and high fidelity reproduction. This means some 50 years ago.

My reading moved from Radio Constructor to Hi Fi News (and Wireless World but much of that was ever beyong me!) . Tape recorder and later Studio Sound. In all these publications the idea was to capture the PERFORMANCE as realistically as possible, the while battling those twin evils, noise and distortion.

Recording bods (proper 'engineers then) strove to make the best recordings they could within the limits of the equipment. Not a coincidence then that the first takers for digital recording was the 'classical' music sector?

Today, staying faithful to the original sound has largely been forgotten. Those engineers of old did NOT see the shortcomings of tape as adding 'musicality'! No, it was an evil they had to battle with every take. Then! They had to take what was a quite reasonable recording on 1/4" tape at 15ips and mangle it further so it could be tracked by the grottiest phono system in the land!

Even in SOS reviews of monitors we never get a live/recorded comparison such as were common in Sound on Sound days.

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Re: The insecurity of small waveforms on your DAW

Postby MOF » Mon Jan 20, 2020 12:14 pm

If someone chooses to record to tape because they think it provides better signal-to-noise ratio, for example say, that can -- and should -- be challenged.

I think most of those producers have a hybrid approach these days, recording drums, for example, to tape for its saturation and transient squashing properties and then continuing with digital for the remainder of the session.
They probably don’t know what signal to noise ratio is, hopefully that’s where they’ll take advice from the engineer as to what gear to use and not just record with analogue tape because another successful record has just been done that way.
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