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Building a 70s system??

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Building a 70s system??

Postby mikehende » Tue May 26, 2020 3:00 pm

So guys, I have been dancing all around this for a long time now but seems I had not considered the most basic question which is, if I put together all 70's equipment but play music from my pc or fm radio, would I still get analog sound please?
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Re: Building a 70s system??

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue May 26, 2020 3:10 pm

mikehende wrote:So guys, I have been dancing all around this for a long time now but seems I had not considered the most basic question which is, if I put together all 70's equipment but play music from my pc or fm radio, would I still get analog sound please?

Assuming '70s amplification, speakers and (if applicable) desk then these components will affect the sound reproduction of anything you feed into the inputs to some extent. As to whether that's a good thing is up for debate, but it'll depend on the kit in question.

Now, if you play something from your PC through it, it too will be affected by the analogue circuitry of the desk and/or amplifier but the source will obviously be a digitally replayed thing of some kind.

If it's an mp3 then it'll sound exactly as it would have done if you had an mp3 player back in the '70s.
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Re: Building a 70s system??

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue May 26, 2020 3:12 pm

All sound is analogue. We have analogue ears. The air is an analogue medium. Loudspeakers are analogue transducers.

However, your sources -- PC and FM radio -- both involve digital processing, both are inherently band-limited, with all the time-domain filter ringing associated with those constraints.

If you want genuinely all-analogue, you'll need all-analogue sources, which means tape, cassette or vinyl and manufactured before the late 1970s.

I suspect what you really mean is, 'Would I like the sound from such a system, and will it remind me of the fun times I had in the 70s?'

...but none of us can answer that! ;-)
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Re: Building a 70s system??

Postby mikehende » Tue May 26, 2020 3:15 pm

I would like to get the same "tone" of music from the equipment used back then but of course that was playing music from records and tape.

Now I play mp3's from my music software. I am thinking of getting a 70s receiver, eq and speakers.
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Re: Building a 70s system??

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue May 26, 2020 3:21 pm

mikehende wrote:I would like to get the same "tone" of music from the equipment used back then but of course that was playing music from records and tape.

Now I play mp3's from my music software. I am thinking of getting a 70s receiver, eq and speakers.

Sure, so you'll have the sound of a modern mp3 being played through '70s equipment. As there were no mp3 players back then it'll probably sound different than anything from the '70s did, but will be genuine in that it is what it would have sounded like if you did have a PC back then :tongue:

It probably won't sound much like the original tapes or records though; for that you'd need the original tapes or records and a '70s record player or cassette machine to play them.
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Re: Building a 70s system??

Postby mikehende » Tue May 26, 2020 3:23 pm

That makes sense so would defeat the purpose if I won't get that same sound due to the source of the music.
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Re: Building a 70s system??

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue May 26, 2020 3:26 pm

mikehende wrote:I would like to get the same "tone" of music from the equipment used back then....

You mean music made back before the increasingly heavy-handed 'loudness wars' kicked in?

You mean the original music, rather than the re-issued, re-mastered and made-louder-and brighter-just-because-we-can trash that manifests as archive classics today?

No chance!

If you want 70s (and older) music, you'll need to buy original 70s (and older) music! Which, in practical terms, means original vinyl discs.
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Re: Building a 70s system??

Postby mikehende » Tue May 26, 2020 3:36 pm

Yeah, I have no desire, patience or energy to play records one at a time anymore and had sold my collection years ago.

I guess what I was looking into is some sort of possible "simulator" option which might give me that sound in the same way that in my other thread on Space Echo that a modern foot pedal could gave the same sound of the Tape Space Echo unit.
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Re: Building a 70s system??

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue May 26, 2020 3:43 pm

Nothing you can really do to simulate the greater dynamics of pre-80s music. But you could roll off some of the HF and dial in some gentle distortion to approximate the general tonality.

But fundamentally, the reason 70s music sound so recognisable is because it was made differently back then!
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Re: Building a 70s system??

Postby mikehende » Tue May 26, 2020 3:46 pm

Got it, well I had to try before actually purchasing anything so I appreciate the info and help guys, thanks, be safe.
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Re: Building a 70s system??

Postby MOF » Tue May 26, 2020 3:57 pm

And of course all radio, even FM, comes through a digital system now, digitised records on their servers a digital mixer and even their Optimod or equivalent at the transmitter will be digital.
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Re: Building a 70s system??

Postby mikehende » Tue May 26, 2020 4:03 pm

Yeah I know, thx.
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Re: Building a 70s system??

Postby Mike Stranks » Tue May 26, 2020 6:29 pm

I stand to be corrected. but I recall reading an article in HiFi News in 1969 about early experiments with transferring audio digitally from Broadcasting House to FM transmitters... so 'digital' is probably older than we think... :)

Date may be wrong, but it would have been early 70s at the latest...
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Re: Building a 70s system??

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue May 26, 2020 9:05 pm

There were some developmental experiments in the Beeb's transmission network in the late 60s, but the first full multichannel 13-bit linear PCM studio to transmitter link officially entered service in 1972. At about the same time, a lossy codec system (Sound-in-Syncs) was used to carry mono sound within the TV picture signal between studio and transmitters in 1971.

As always, the impetus was to reduce the costs of hiring high quality audio circuits from the GPO (now BT). The added benefits of better reliability and quality were welcome side effects, but not the spur.

But digital technology was expensive and relatively crude in the late 60s /early 70s. As the technology started to take off, costs fell and quality slowly improved, but it wasn't until the launch of the CD in the early 80s that it really started to leap forward in quality and cost.

Amusingly, or frighteningly, depending on your point of view, when digital delay lines became 'good enough' they started to be used on vinyl cutting lathes to delay the sound going to the cutter head, giving the vari-groove system time to optimise the groove pitch. The technique befor the advent of high quality DDLs was to fit extra guides to create a tape loop with an extra pre-read head on the master tape player. So some vinyl pressing are actually digital too.... :lol:
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Re: Building a 70s system??

Postby James Perrett » Tue May 26, 2020 9:33 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:There were some developmental experiments in the Beeb's transmission network in the late 60s, but the first full multichannel 13-bit linear PCM studio to transmitter link officially entered service in 1972.

And at the time I was living in an area where I could easily receive both Wrotham (digital) and Rowridge (analogue). There was a noticeable difference in audio quality between them.
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