Tim Gillett wrote:These days, some people look down their noses at 44/16 but I wonder if the same objective fidelity ( noise, distortion, w & f) could be matched by even a "no expenses spared" one off analog recorder.
merlyn wrote:I look at that the other way round -- 16/44 is the digital equivalent of analogue tape with noise reduction. 16 bits gives a theoretical dynamic range of 98dB but it doesn't get that in practice. Analogue tape can have a dynamic range of 77dB and 25 dB of noise reduction with Dolby SR. In practice they're in the same ballpark.
I think 16 bit is theoretically 96db but in practice is 93db. For that it doesn't need NR. To match that, analogue tape does need NR. We should compare apples with apples.
Years ago, sales people used to say that with
Dolby, cassettes matched open reel, but it was open reel without
Dolby. Again, not apples with apples...
But even if with NR analogue tape can match 16 bit in dynamic range without NR, there's the problem of frequency response, especially analogue tape head bump (contour effect) especially with speeds of 15ips and 30 ips, and the general inability to achieve anything like the same flatness.
Then the distortion even before saturation. Then the W & F although in a well designed tape machine it's usually inaudible. In one term, generational losses!
I'm a specialist in analog tape machines and analog audio tape transfers. I know how good analog tape can be when everything is done right, but preferably from the first generation to minimise the well known generational losses.
If analog tape had the fidelity you claim, there wouldn't be anything like the generational losses. If we think these losses aren't evident even in the first generation we are kidding ourselves. OK with digital, there are also losses, but only after many more AD, DA, AD, DA etc conversions. Plus the fact that we don't have to go through those multiple conversions. We can clone files with no losses. That is another benefit we should keep in mind.
My main concern about digital in the long term is the perception that once digital, the recorded information will last "forever". That's a public misconception that needs to be corrected.