Gunfight at the mono/stereo corral - diyAudio
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Old 19th July 2006, 11:33 PM   #1
Nam402 is offline Nam402  United Kingdom
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Default Gunfight at the mono/stereo corral

Hi folks,

So, this is the shoot out, with a few pairs of independant ears for judgment.

With a middle range Naim system we put the following music through these sources.

1. Chet Baker recorded on Sony DAT from a stereo CD by digital link from an Arcam CD player.

2. Ruby Branff recorded on an Akai reel to reel from a mono LP on a Thorens/SME set up.

The result? In a small group of listeners (5) the vote was for recording (2) based on the immediacy of Branff. We thought that the sound stage of the CD was good, with the instruments nicely laid out, but oddly this didn't seem to matter as the view was that Branff was here with us in the listening room in a way that Baker wasn't.

So, it was a win for mono and analogue.

What a surprise!!

Cheers, Nam

PS - For the purposes of the test, I am assuming that Baker and Branff are reasonably well matched musically, although that is a matter of opinion of course.
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Old 20th July 2006, 12:28 AM   #2
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Er, I only vaguely remember statistics, but I am pretty sure you need to either (a) control more variables (b) get more data points (c) make a fortune in the infomercial business
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Old 20th July 2006, 02:34 AM   #3
maxro is offline maxro  Canada
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Why bother with the tape decks; what's wrong with going direct from disk?
And, as leadbelly said, not exactly a slam-dunk on the scientific method there.

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Old 20th July 2006, 11:18 AM   #4
Nam402 is offline Nam402  United Kingdom
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Hi,

Sorry folks, should have mentioned that I was originally interested in comparing home taping techniques and the mono/stereo thing came as a byproduct. I was a bit blurry last night - single malt.

I wasn't intoxicated when we did the test, only when I submitted the post.

Another very strange phenomena. In each case we thought that the recorded tracks sounded better than the original. The DAT sounded better than the CD and the reel to reel sounded better than the LP.

Now, this goes against anything I have ever heard or read about hi fi. How on earth can the recording sound better than the original?

Hi Fi sure is a black art and no mistake.

I used to know a hi fi nut who was always talking about 'the magic'. For him, it didn't matter how much a component cost, or what the spec was, if it didn't have the magic he wasn't interested. The thing is that I could hear what he was talking about, or was I just being suggestible?

This happens with vinyl to a crazy extent. There is no way that I can tell when I bring home an LP whether it has the magic or not. A few seconds on the turntable and I know sure as eggs is eggs - every single time. It's about presence IMHO.

As one guy used to say (bless him) "It's almost like Barry Manilow is in the room!"

Weird.

Cheers, Nam

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Old 20th July 2006, 12:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Nam402
[snip]Weird.

Cheers, Nam


No necessarily. Really depends on what you were listening for. The effect you describe probably has much more to do with the way the music was recorded than the way it was reproduced. Assuming for the discussion that the replay equipment was reasonably good. the differences heard would be from the recording. It is well known that (mono) direct recordings without a lot of manipulation and with good mike techniques can sound surprisingly "present', whatever the replay chain details. Could this have been the case here as well?

Also, "sound better" often means "is preferred". What you prefer is not necessarily what is best in objective terms, whatever that is. That is why most serious audiophiles do some kind of (double) blind testing if they are interested in minute differences in components rather than in establishing preference.

How about recording your LP on the DAT and comparing the two DAT versions, o comparing the DAT version of the LP to the reel version?

Jan Didden
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Old 20th July 2006, 01:00 PM   #6
Nam402 is offline Nam402  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally posted by janneman
It is well known that (mono) direct recordings without a lot of manipulation and with good mike techniques can sound surprisingly "present', whatever the replay chain details. Could this have been the case here as well?
Hi Jan,

Yes, that was my hunch.

Re the testing. I don't know how to record to DAT off the vinyl - out of my depth there!

I have two reel to reel machines, both Akai's. Testing them against each other with the Thorens, the cheaper one sounds better to me, on exactly the same recordings with clean heads etc.

The bottom line is that we just go with what we like. So, I listen mostly to vinyl and record and play back on my cheap Akai. Lovely.

There is a thing called 'synergy' - when components just work beautifully and no one really knows why. I'm part of the synergy chain. LOL

Cheers, Nam (sobering up)




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Old 20th July 2006, 02:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Nam402


Hi Jan,

Yes, that was my hunch.

Re the testing. I don't know how to record to DAT off the vinyl - out of my depth there!

I have two reel to reel machines, both Akai's. Testing them against each other with the Thorens, the cheaper one sounds better to me, on exactly the same recordings with clean heads etc.

The bottom line is that we just go with what we like. So, I listen mostly to vinyl and record and play back on my cheap Akai. Lovely.

There is a thing called 'synergy' - when components just work beautifully and no one really knows why. I'm part of the synergy chain. LOL

Cheers, Nam (sobering up)
Hi Nam,

Presumably you could plug yout LP replay preamp output into the DAT line input. Should work.


Quote:
Originally posted by Nam402

[snip]Cheers, Nam (sobering up)
Have one on me

Jan Didden
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