"Symphonic Dances" AAA vs. ADA Update

The cover artist is working on the design, I have all of the prices for lacquer cutting, plating and pressing 1000 copies as well as for jacket fabrication.

So, very shortly the Kickstarter project will go "live" and we'll get this show on the road!

jdaniel1371's picture

No offense, but as much as I appreciate the recording quality, the Dallas performances are just boring as heck, both their Rachmaninoff and their Copland. I've listened to them off and on for years trying to convince myself that they were good. Pull the plug.

Now, if you want to light a torch for the Aubort/Nickrenz Vox team, make their Ravel box set available at 45 RPM. Or the Moravec Chopin Nocturnes.

mraudioguru's picture
planarhead's picture

My prediction on this is it's going to be pretty damn close to 50/50 which one people think is the AAA or digital side. AKA a blind guess. 24/96 to vinyl sounds pretty damn transparent. I even have some 16/44 or 16/48 recordings from the 80s/90s on vinyl that sound boss as hell.

azmoon's picture

..may well sound better if they were AAA. My prediction is AAA will be clear to hear as the better of the 2.

doak's picture

A higher sampling rate IMO would greatly close any gap between AAA & ADA.

PeterPani's picture

To me the difference in listening between 24/96 and 24/192 is minor. Therefore higher resolution avoids the later discussion "yes, AAA sounds better, but 24/192 would have done the job". I am sure at first listening the ADA will sound more dynamic and more transparent. But after repeated listening the listening nerves will fatigue and the AAA will win over long term listening. But, please, provide the digital file with the LP!!! We also want to compare with the digital file via our DAC.

audiof001's picture

Not really the point of this exercise... so much is issued now from 24/96 files that it's imperative we learn the attributes and deficiencies of 24/96 - and be able to play the samples for others to help educate them as well. If we could get vinyl mastered from 24/192 files much of our concern would be for naught.

fstanke's picture

Hats off to our most respected empiricist. Personally, I am obsessed with at least one of the questions upon which this excellent experiment will shed some light: does even SOTA digitization and conversion back to analog kill some of the fidelity that can get captured in analog. I've been waiting to respond to another applied physicist who has challenged me asking how 24/192 could "theoretically" be an audible issue. This empirical approach sides steps some serious issues with a theoretical approach, which runs into messy physiological and possibly even psychological issues. Count me in. What are current estimates of the cost and ETA?

I hope Mikey will have the opportunity to reject a poor job of cutting after hearing test pressings?

As mentioned previously level matching between the two sides needs to be "bang on". This strikes me as a possible issue as, mathematically, if two signals are not identical, the metric for comparing their "level" is ambiguous. E.g., matching peaks is likely not to give the same answer as matching RMS values. Maybe someone has already thoroughly thought this through.

Auric G's picture

"does even SOTA digitization and conversion back to analog kill some of the fidelity that can get captured in analog?"
Simply repeat the conversion process(analog to digtial to analog to digital to....etc) 5, 10, 100 times. If there is no loss, the first and the 100th should sound the same.

Archimago's picture

Also significant is the question of which is least "transparent":
1. Digitization of the original master tape to 24/96 (ADC).
2. Conversion of the 24/96 digital signal back to an analogue signal (DAC).
3. Conversion of the signal to the vinyl disk. (With the usual process of adding RIAA EQ and possibly making sure the bass isn't too loud to mistrack.)

Assuming the equipment used for steps 1 & 2 are decent and no digital manipulation is happening, I think the answer is rather clear - step 3. Since this step is happening for both analogue-sourced or digital-sourced vinyl, likelihood is low that steps 1 & 2 would be an issue (obvious for anyone who has done their own recording or evaluated the transparency of digital these days).

Good experiment nonetheless and results would be interesting.

I do have one concern - the proposed 1967 recording is quite noisy at least from what I see in the Classic Records 24/96 DAD incarnation. Although frequency is extended beyond 22/24kHz, noise floor and dynamic range doesn't even challenge the CD 16-bit standard (compared to a clean modern recording). Here's hoping Analogue Productions have done a significantly better job (and that the original tapes had more to offer).

Michael Fremer's picture
Mastering engineer Kevin Gray will perform all of this work. His equipment and his judgement are at or near the top of the heap in my opinion. As for challenging the dynamic range and noise floor, I think most of us listen beyond those considerations. Analogue Productions isn't really doing any of the work. Kevin Gray is and QRP will be pressing. While you are convinced of the transparency of current state of the art digital gear, this exercise is designed to test just that...
bongo-hifi's picture

A great idea, and will be fun to see what conclusions people reach. But really I think that's all it will ultimately be, a bit of a fun wheeze. Whatever the conclusions, if for example the digital pressing comes out on top, then the analogue heads will find some reason to cry foul and likewise the digital heads if the results favour analogue. The controversy and debate will continue unabated

carl478's picture

I'm looking forward to the fun of it too; trying to figure out which is digital and which is analog. In the end, I really don't care which one sounds better. I'm going to be listening to some really great music. Isn't that really what's important?