Monday, June 22, 2015

Determinacy is useless

One of the kind of thing I've been thinking of a lot about the differences in analog and digital…which generally means LP and digital…is that the analog sources apply their varying flaws (typically audible and near-audible levels of time variation, aka wow and flutter) so that not only do you hear something different every time (as you would do if everything were absolutely identical, merely because You have changed, especially having already having just heard it…) there is actually something slightly different there, and each time this difference may serve to highlight things differently and bring something different out.  Given that we are always going to hear something different anyway, it's not useless for it to actually be slightly different each time.

Of course the main reason why LP's sound better when they do is the mastering, and digital recordings of LP's sound very good to me (preferable to some CD's because the mastering was so much inter).  But they don't have That Magic, because the analog flaws at one time and place have been frozen, immortally.

It's not simply that hearing through the flaws lets us interpolate back to the ideal original--similar to the digital recording.  It's that they trigger more difference each time than we would otherwise hear, when we are listening to the analog.  The analog is, in it's way, a live performance.

Anyway, I think it is worth studying the psychology of of it all, applying science to the magic of the Placebo Effect and Audiophile Experience.  Not that I want to give the magic up, I want it all!

So I'm sure the techno freaks would say fine, we'll just add LP distortions to your sound.  I'm sure that will be a disaster for a long time.  But let me describe how it might work.

All the flaws should be idealized rather than sampled.  We don't want to simulate the things we don't really understand.  This is not sound, it is modification that attempts to retain the integrity of the original.  Therefore, it must have simple changes, not an accumulation of mud in order to be biologic.

(I criticize many of the presets of my Kurzweil K2661 synth for this.  They go for too much dirt and realism.  Of course you can program anything you want, make it all sine waves or whatever, or any sample, or just tone down the dirt channels.  But I'm lazier than anyone and I like the presets right according to me.)

And it's done in super high resolution, at least 48 bits of resolution, then dithered and so on.

And what I want is the ABX learning effect, where it choses from affects at levels not believed to be audible, or just above audibility, and you can guess at any time and move up to the next.  I want to be able to program the effects and their levels, perhaps specifying common wow frequencies and so on.

Of course I alway think there should be a geek version.

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