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The Digital Conspiracy
11-24-2007, 05:52 PM,
#1
The Digital Conspiracy
Since the late 70s, media in general started to migrate everything to the digital realm. The first sign of this was the introduction of the CD, that went on to render the analog vinyl records and tapes obsolete. Similar events took place in the video business where analog tape was phased out and replaced with digital video, which turned into DVD eventually. The same thing is happening to photography, where today nearly everything is digital. It is safe to say that digital media today is the standard.

There is no denying that digital media has many advantages, such as cataloging and storing vast number of files in a structured manner, allowing for indexing and complex searching and so on. Availability is also a big plus, and the Internet has made this very easy indeed.

But, what of the experience?

As many have already discovered, analog sound just sounds more real. Those old LPs from the 50s and 60s contain so much more music than today's state of the art digital recordings. True, they might not necessarily sound better, but they sure sound more realistic and pleasing. Not only that, but listening to analog sound is more relaxing, and you get immersed in the music much easier. The same applies to photography and video. A photograph shot with a high quality analog camera is vastly superior to anything digital you can come up with. The same is true with video.

So why is this?

In the digital realm, all signals are approximations of the real signal, be it soundwaves, static or moving pictures. A sample of the signal is taken a specified number of times per second, and they are then reproduced by playing them back at the same frequency (or a set number of pixels for pictures). Theory holds that those frequencies are so high that the brain is tricked into seeing or hearing a solid image or sound. Granted, the illusion is good, it is very hard if not impossible to notice the switching that occurs, at least consciously. But is it, unconsciously?

I propose that even though the playback frequencies are very high indeed (44100 samples per second on CDs for instance), our brain is perfectly capable of noticing that it isn't a coherent signal. I believe this is causing stress to the brain, and this explains why you never get the same relaxed and nourishing feeling when listening to music off a CD as you would off an old analog LP, despite the latters imperfections.

Could this be part of the war on our minds, another means to fuel the attention deficit disorders of our society? We are fed sound and images every waking hour of the day, and none of it is real but rather crude approximations of the real thing. Our brain is working hard around the clock to compensate, and stress is a result of that.

I know this sounds far-fetched, but you can try this at home. Go back to listen to only LPs for a couple of days and then put on a couple of CDs. Then tell me I'm wrong!

Note, this has nothing to do with the quality of playback systems. I am an audiophile since many years and I have a very competent hifi setup for both digital and analog. The above observations do not require an expensive setup however, it's perfectly noticeable on cheap second hand gear.

Anybody else noticed this?
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11-24-2007, 09:03 PM,
#2
The Digital Conspiracy
Digital audio has no spirit - a dehumanising exercise...:(
reality is a manufactured illusion

Self delusion is all well and good until it catches up with you . . .
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11-24-2007, 09:43 PM,
#3
The Digital Conspiracy
Ya, it loses a warm feel, replaced by cold, re-creation rather then replication, like you say. I was thinkin when reading, i wonder the new capacity for embed audio, video capabilities, subliminal etc. The holographic nature of digital seems to grant the capacity for a non linear approach, that is analog is like 2d, and digital is like 3d+, who knows the specific nature of holographic. Theres lots known were not being told. I wonder how prevalent subliminals are, and there true level of inducement. I think maybe very much for a large segment of the population, i think its demonstrated, in one way when ppl have the opinion they know about something, when never really having looked, or no desire to look into it.? Who knows.
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11-24-2007, 11:42 PM,
#4
The Digital Conspiracy
Nice article. Yes I have lots of friends who prefer analogue. I am too young to really remmeber drum machines, synthesiers etc sounding so different.
yes on the odd occasion that i play a record these days , it does sound friendlier.
The main reason of digital is to make money primarliy, upgrading is always a good moneyspinner.
Also the reproduction of reality into digital loses the sensitive quality.
We are becoming sponges of images, thousands a day, we then lose the capacity for long term reflection and lose the ability to notice when something is wrong, as we have seen it all on tv before.
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11-25-2007, 11:24 AM,
#5
The Digital Conspiracy
Quote:Ya, it loses a warm feel, replaced by cold, re-creation rather then replication, like you say. I was thinkin when reading, i wonder the new capacity for embed audio, video capabilities, subliminal etc. The holographic nature of digital seems to grant the capacity for a non linear approach, that is analog is like 2d, and digital is like 3d+, who knows the specific nature of holographic. Theres lots known were not being told. I wonder how prevalent subliminals are, and there true level of inducement. I think maybe very much for a large segment of the population, i think its demonstrated, in one way when ppl have the opinion they know about something, when never really having looked, or no desire to look into it.? Who knows.


This is the matrix...
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11-25-2007, 04:46 PM,
#6
The Digital Conspiracy
For photography I prefer my 35mm Ricoh KR5 SLR... It's old and it works. I also prefer the challenge that lighting, filters etc give you when you're trying to get the perfect picture. Auto-light, anti-red-eye etc is bogus imho.

For audio, while I like the clarity and fidelity of digital, I can understand the sampling rate arguement. I'm not sure if my brain detects it, but it's plausible.

True hi-end audiophiles would go one step further than just prefering analog music, in addition they'd want non solid-state amplification. That is to say vacuum tube amps are the best.

I'd hazard to guess that most guitarists would agree tube amps beat transistors hands down. I don't own a guitar and amp anymore, but if I were to buy one, it would be Marshall, and it would have vacuum tubes.
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11-26-2007, 03:36 AM,
#7
The Digital Conspiracy
dahh its just old men on new machines. they just dont like these new fangled gadgets. Its almost like some sort of music-fanboy code. I get it from some mates. Its funny as a recent argument coming from someone (name escapes sorry) in the field at the time of analogue design.

He stated that the type of sound audiophiles are always gabbing on about was what they had striven to remove all those years ago. If having a crystal scratching along a plastic ridge is the best we can do for sound, we are in bad shape. Its retro. thats all it is.
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11-26-2007, 04:44 AM,
#8
The Digital Conspiracy
Its called clipping. When analog clips it sounds good, when digital clips it sounds horrible

Analog has soft knee compression that sounds good when it distorts over 100% saturation, whereas when digital clips it sounds like shit.
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11-26-2007, 08:41 AM, (This post was last modified: 11-26-2007, 08:41 AM by subgenius.)
#9
The Digital Conspiracy
Damned straight tube amps are better sounding. Having an audiophile uncle had taught me that. I have had a couple in the past and even thought they don't have huge wattage the sound is incredible. Currently own an old Heathkit one from late 50's early 60's and it is awesome. All original tubes. I am crossing my fingers some old fart is going to put out a MacIntosh in their next garage sale ..... no way I am going to fork out a couple thousand for one of those....
&Spirituality is not a child play. My words will tear apart anyone who listens to them....&
&The search for reality is the most dangerous of all undertakings for it destroys the world in which you live.&

- Nisargadatta Maharaj
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11-28-2007, 11:52 AM,
#10
The Digital Conspiracy
that warm fuzzy sound you love so much is called LACK OF DETAIL.

Sure both audio and photography need a few more years till they are up to standards on certain aspects. Its 100years old tech up against 20year old tech. Just takes time. Plus if you guys didnt know. If you dont want clipping, turn the sound down or use a digital compressor. case closed.
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11-28-2007, 12:39 PM,
#11
The Digital Conspiracy
Quote:that warm fuzzy sound you love so much is called LACK OF DETAIL.

Not true. I use both state of the art digital and analog, and yet I find the LP playback to be more detailed and more realistic. As I said in the post, it's not about the quality of the gear -- this is noticed from cheap to ultra expensive gear.
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11-28-2007, 12:41 PM,
#12
The Digital Conspiracy
Quote:Its called clipping. When analog clips it sounds good, when digital clips it sounds horrible

Analog has soft knee compression that sounds good when it distorts over 100% saturation, whereas when digital clips it sounds like shit.

This could well be true in some circumstances. Not where I'm at though - I have no clipping in either the analog or the digital domain.
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11-29-2007, 01:13 PM,
#13
The Digital Conspiracy
Its true about the digital clippin being worse than the analogue one.
Nice documentary about the Athenian Audiophiles.
Bravo!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xs1aUws0Lrs
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