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Nebula3 cutting edge? Yes and no!

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Nebula3 cutting edge? Yes and no!

Postby Gstell » Tue Oct 11, 2011 3:47 am

The ability to archive/preserve the sound of aging hardware devices that may not be available in the future is a great idea. The ability to use these preserved characteristics on ones own tracks at the fraction of price, time and effort is equally great?
But in terms of sound quality Nebula3 is behind the times. Sonically the best recordings I have listened to to-date are DSD64 on SACD disks from labels like Linn, L2, etc but I am skipping ahead.

2 years ago I went on a quest to find sonically the best recording. I purchased a Mytek 192X8 Firewire, Sennheiser HD600 and 8 ADAM P11.

I found quickly that different CD's of the same recording are of different quality for example Rolling stones music collections are mostly distorted where the same recordings on AM Gold collection are not. Also there are the problems with master-tape degradation due to age and storage conditions. This poses a problem in comparing nebula's capabilities with these. As a matter effect it takes very little nebula processing to make any of these recordings sound better. So I looked for more of a challenge and purchased some DVDA's but found a mixed set of bags. Many recordings where not much better than their 44,1 counterparts but some where (see below).

I then came across Linn records Linn Records Super Audio Surround Sampler Vol 3. Wow, it blew me away.Even tough Korg Audiogate player is down-sampling the DSD stream to 192 khz PCM in real-time, I have yet to hear better recordings and the difference is not as small as some Nebula programs but quite great so great in fact that I am writing this article to hopefully convince Giancarlo to upgrade at least NAT to include this capability soon.
I personally wish at least NAT to add the ability to do DSD, 352.8 KHz/24 and 384khz 32bit float recording capability. that would then allow us to disseminate our programs in any format we wish,

In light of AMS N**e 8816 summing mixer, Korgs new DSD sequencer announcement and DAD Ax24 converters the future toward these higher resolution formats looks a little better. If commercially successful or not the quality should be a part of Nebula at least as a source/archiving medium regardless of the destination format.
Pink Floyd has also announced further DSD releases of their Catalog after Dark side.... read
TapeOp_March05.pdf

according to DAD " Everybody who has ever compared DSD64fs, DSD128fs, DXD and 384 KHz to analog would probably agree, that all these formats are sounding much more transparent than PCM between 44.1 and 192 KHz. The main advantage of high sampling rate is however not the wider frequency band itself since we can not hear frequencies above 20 KHz.
High sampling rates is mainly about timing due to improved impulse response."



My reference recordings:

16bit 44.1khz

Whitesnake - Day Tripper
"Trouble"
Central Studios London, Denmark Street 1978
digitally remastered Peter Mew at Abby Road Studios, London 2006
most analog sounding CD I've heard.

B&W Audiophile Recordings vol. 2 (2003)
Chris Jones - Long After You're Gone
( I belief its originally from
Moonstruck & No Looking Back
Stockfisch Records – SFR 357.6020.2
CD, Album
CD , Album, Remastered
Country:
Germany)

24/48

Dire Straits: Money for Nothng (DVDA DTS 24/48)
This was tracked at 44.1/16 bit with a 24 track Sony DASH recorder
and then the tracks where run trough a variety of analog N**e
devices into a newer Sony DASH recorder (if that was the 16bit 48khz model?)

24/96
AIX: month of maying
direct into AD converters

America - Homecoming - DVDA (listen to the acoustic guitars)

DVD-A Black Album ( Metallica )
Nothing Else Matters

Eagles - Hotel California - DVDA
Hotel California

Fleetwood Mac - Rumors
You Make Loving Fun
Gold Dust Woman (listen to the vocals, chilling)

Foreigner - 4 - DVDA
(warm and smooth sound)

Queen
The_Game_Audio_DVD
(most powerful bass-drum and Bass-guitar I have heard in a recording)

DSD64 SACD: My personal favorite!
Linn Records Super Audio Surround Sampler Vol 3
Claire Martin - He never mentioned love (for extremely intimate)
George Emmanuel-Lazaridis - grandes etudes de Paganini III
Dunedin Consort - Messiah - And the glory of the lord
Actually the entire SACD needs to be listened to.

Links:
http://www.craigmandigital.com/educatio ... s_DSD.aspx

http://www.acousence.de/index.php?optio ... 60&lang=en


http://www.recordingmag.com/blogs/post/118.html
http://www.davidgilmour.com/press/2005/ ... arch05.pdf


http://www.digitalaudio.dk/
http://www.signalyst.com/consumer.html
http://members.home.nl/w.speek/wavegain.htm
Last edited by Gstell on Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:53 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Nebula3 cutting edge? Yes and no!

Postby giancarlo » Tue Oct 11, 2011 6:04 am

buying some popcorn, I'll think this will be a long topic
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Please delete this Giancarlo, thanks

Postby Gstell » Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:25 pm

zx
Last edited by Gstell on Sun Oct 16, 2011 3:28 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Nebula3 cutting edge? Yes and no!

Postby Gstell » Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:27 pm

yes Giancarlo lots of popcorn and please listen to the audio files especially the DSD files I included Audiogate as a direct download that will play the files on your PC.
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Re: Nebula3 cutting edge? Yes and no!

Postby ngarjuna » Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:48 pm

What hosts will support greater than 192KHz processing? Along those lines, who is making converters that will record 32bit fp?
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Re: Nebula3 cutting edge? Yes and no!

Postby Gstell » Wed Oct 12, 2011 1:30 am

1- I record in DSD and convert to whatever sample-rate is needed. DSD recording is currently available and affordable. 384khz PCM seems to be the next standard but currently still expensive.

Format conversion: Weiss Saracon, Audiogate (free), Minnetonka Discwelder Chrome II, Philips ProTECH Audio Format Converter, Philips ProTECH DST Encoder

Recording: Korg has anounced a DSD Daw that may be affordable http://www.recordingmag.com/blogs/post/118.html
Merging Technologies Pyramix native 7X DSD64 http://www.merging.com/pyramix/native, 384khz, Version 8 DSD128/256.
Plans for playing/editing 384khz files via 96khz hardware.
SAW 4.9 plays 483khz with 192khz converter (do not know about editing).
Wavelab 384khz 32bit
http://www.steinberg.net/en/products/wavelab.html
Test it with downloads from: http://www.2l.no/hires/index.html

Converters: Mytek 192/DSD128 http://www.mytekdigital.com/products/8x192adda.htm, Korg Mr 2000 http://www.korg.com/Product.aspx?pd=417 http://www.korg.com/Product.aspx?pd=289
DAD Digital Audio Denmark 384khz/DSD
http://www.digitalaudio.dk/page1213.aspx,
Merging Horus up to 384khz, DSD256

hardware.
Technology:
VIA chip announcement http://www.hartware.de/press_14273.html
http://www.ardatech.com/pdf/AT1201%20DS.pdf
http://www.esstech.com/PDF/ES9102A%20PF%20110706.pdf
There are a few consumer 384khz D/A converters on the market already.



The important thing to remember is that the characteristics of DSD and higher PCM sample-rates translate well to lower sample-rates. remember one benefits from improved filters and their transparency at the recording process. As many of you I read Dan Lavry's as well as Sony's Philips, DAD's and many other papers until I decided to listen and let my ears decide.
Last edited by Gstell on Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nebula3 cutting edge? Yes and no!

Postby ngarjuna » Wed Oct 12, 2011 1:44 am

gstell wrote:1- I record in DSD and convert to whatever sample-rate is needed. DSD recording is currently available and affordable. 384khz PCM seems to be the next standard but currently still expensive.
...
Converters: Mytek 192/DSD http://www.mytekdigital.com/products/8x192adda.htm, Korg Mr 2000 http://www.korg.com/Product.aspx?pd=417 http://www.korg.com/Product.aspx?pd=289
DAD Digital Audio Denmark 384khz/DSD http://www.digitalaudio.dk/page1213.aspx,

Interesting, thanks for the links.

The signal is stored as delta-sigma modulated digital audio, a sequence of single bit values at a sampling rate of 64 times the CD Audio sampling rates of 44.1 kHz, for a rate of 2.8224 MHz (1 bit times 64 times 44.1 kHz). Noise shaping occurs by use of the 64× oversampled signal to reduce noise/distortion caused by the inaccuracy of quantization of the audio signal to a single bit.

So it's basically delta-sigma without the decimation? Wiki also says this (not sure if it's true or not):

Because of the nature of sigma-delta converters, one cannot make a direct comparison between DSD and PCM. An approximation is possible, though, and would place DSD in some aspects comparable to a PCM format that has a bit depth of 20 bits and a sampling frequency of 96 kHz.[3] PCM sampled at 24 bits provides a (theoretical) additional 24 dB of dynamic range.
Leslie Shapiro, July 2, 2001. Surround Sound: The High-End: SACD and DVD-Audio. "Bottom line, SACD recordings can achieve a high-frequency response of 50kHz and a dynamic audio range of 120dB" Retrieved on June 10, 2009.

and later there are contradictory listening test results. Just makes me wonder if physical/electronic differences, differences in design, etc. play into that comparison as much as (or maybe more than) the format difference. Then again, it could be that some material will reflect the pluses and minuses more dramatically than others if there are measurable differences, so I wouldn't necessarily draw any particular conclusion from the mixed results, just interesting. I'll have to have a listen.
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Re: Nebula3 cutting edge? Yes and no!

Postby darren » Thu Oct 13, 2011 11:02 am

The Adam PIIs will certainly not give you an accurate representation of the recorded material. What you will find is that your conclusions will be based on which recordings you prefer given the characteristics of your Adam speakers which are FAR from reference quality.
And lets not get into the HD600's .. they are, at best, meant for consumer 'hi-fi' listening and are, again, far from reference quality.

I just wanted to point this out because, in essence, you are setting out to make qualitative decisions but unfortunately the equipment you are using will not give you a clear enough picture of what is really going on in the audio. You do not make any mention of room treatment either and this will contribute further to a lack of focus.

I do agree in general with the sentiment that we should store precious material at high samplerates and bit depths.

There are also interesting arguments (by the likes of Dan Lavry) about running A2D processes at too high a rate causing internal problems with the hardware that will compromise the integrity of the captured audio. He argues that there are sweet spots for the capture of audio.

I think this constant push for higher sample rates is largely made to a) sell more hardware and b) give audiophools something to froth about.

We need to be careful here and do our research properly. Are we really getting a purer capture by running X a2d at X rate or are we generating problems?


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Re: Nebula3 cutting edge? Yes and no!

Postby ngarjuna » Thu Oct 13, 2011 4:51 pm

darren wrote:I do agree in general with the sentiment that we should store precious material at high samplerates and bit depths.

There are also interesting arguments (by the likes of Dan Lavry) about running A2D processes at too high a rate causing internal problems with the hardware that will compromise the integrity of the captured audio. He argues that there are sweet spots for the capture of audio.

I think this constant push for higher sample rates is largely made to a) sell more hardware and b) give audiophools something to froth about.

We need to be careful here and do our research properly. Are we really getting a purer capture by running X a2d at X rate or are we generating problems?


Darren.

I agree as well that it would seem like a good idea to capture as high as possible (even if there's not much practical advantage today, it would be crazy to think there never will be). Of course this is mitigated by the ceiling of what we can capture without introducing more distortion.

To the point about pushing real world components beyond their operating spec (which can cause higher sampling to introduce distortion), this should not be much of an issue here because the technology in question, if I'm understanding the specs, is not significantly different from how standard delta-sigma converters (which is most of what's on the market today, isn't it?) capture; the big difference is that, instead of converting that data into higher bit-rate / lower sample rate PCM it just encodes it at low-bit rate / high sample rate. But the actual capture itself should be more or less similar.

However, that raises a different question for me: if this is not actually processing (on the capture side of things) any additional information as compared to any regular delta-sigma converter, then it also isn't really generating any real benefit in terms of accuracy. There might be some question about the bit decimator and that conversion process (in a standard delta-sigma->PCM) introducing distortion or errors but that should be the only place in the chain/process that diverges from the converters that we're using now. In short, this technology doesn't seem to offer much promise in terms of higher fidelity (although it also doesn't seem to offer any less, so if it catches on it wouldn't necessarily be a bad addition to NAT). Although perhaps I have missed something.
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Re: Nebula3 cutting edge? Yes and no!

Postby burnsound » Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:54 pm

I heard my first SACD back in 2003.
I've been waiting and hoping for DSD recording to become commonplace since then.
The sound really is special.

I own a couple SACDs that have material that was recorded directly to DSD (as opposed to most SACD releases that are transferred from older material) and even while listening to the CD layer you can hear the difference. (SACDs will play in regular CD players and a have a CD and SACD layer)

DVDA was also nice sounding, but I felt that SACD was better still.
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