as we all know we will face distortions in every situation we are dealing with. It starts in the recording studio with the quality of the microphones and the sound environment of the room, the reel to reel machines and the intelligence of the recording engineer combining all these important factors.
Why do we recognize the van Gelder Studios or other Jazz recording environments of the 60ies of the last century as Blue Note did it more or less as the High End of sound production? Some 60 years ago!!!
Do we see it in most Pop or Rock productions? Maybe with the sensual art of Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits or other artists really pushing the recording preconditions to the limits. But most of the outcome is based on a standard or average technology regarding the quality of the sound.
In the 80ies and 90ies of the last century we saw the digital revolution enabling new formats in recording but more important for most of the music world in the end product, the CD. Since then we got important improvements by the recording technology, DSD and better digital tape machines as used by the Norwegian recording engineer Jan Erik Kongshaug at rainbow studios in Oslo producing for ECM on DDD and by other famous recording engineers, mostly in the US, D and GB.
While analogue productions underwent a hard time at the start of the new millennium most audiophiles came back to quality turntables like Micro Seiki, Continuum, EMT and others slowly. New turntables are produced and sold. Today we live nearly in an analogue world being dominated by some analogue mastering and pressing facilities. Acoustic Sounds, MFSL or Music on Vinyl etc. are some of the better ones. Michael Fremer, the analogue guru of Stereophile, stays as the symbol of Analogue.
Many of my international friends do not prefer a digital chain for reproducing their music. They are not relying on CDs or SACDs and do not even buy analogue repressings mixed by digital inter-mediate enhancements.
In the very rare moments friends do visit me – you know I am not dependant on the gossip talks in our community “wow this is a good stereo system or listening room” – they all say that the music being transferred by my digital chain is different to all what they have heard before. How comes?
I myself assess dCS, Meitner and MSB as the digital entrepreneurs in this field. Being very lucky having ended up with dCS and the technology behind it I assume their Ring-DAC technology is a real game changer. Despite the Brexit the guys in Cambridge do understand their international customers. Just try their professional service department, you will not see this kind of ambition and the will to satisfy their users anywhere else so easily.
Knowing that time-clocking is crucial in “the digitalization” most of the digital manufacturers use their own inbuild technology by providing some special circuits. dCS stays with an extra clock which I have complemented by SRS, an atomic clock, being interlooped in the chain. The result is a real vinyl-like sound.
So, my statement in the above discussion whether analogue or digital mastering/production formats should be preferred is very clear. No! 😀