There’s an intriguing dynamic in people; feeling threatened by other beliefs.
We just launched the NuWave DSD, a great and economical entry level DAC. No sooner was it released when we get a note from a well known engineer proclaiming DSD a sham, a Sony storage mechanism pulling the wool over unsuspecting eyes. We are told by this engineer that before too long the blindfold will be removed and we’ll finally understand what a scam DSD is!!!
And, of course, we’re among the evil people perpetrating the ruse.
First, of course, the person is completely misguided and incorrect. DSD is a format (not a storage medium) that uses pulse density modulation where PCM is another format that uses pulse code modulation. They both have their benefits and problems; neither is perfect. I like and listen to both, though my preference leans towards DSD as closer to analog than PCM. But I do not get angry over the situation and question why anyone would take this personally.
Similarly I do not understand why people are threatened with tattoos, or piercings. Are they something I would ever consider? No, but I don’t feel threatened by them. That segment of the population feels compelled to stand out against the norm. When I was a lad some of us grew our hair long, smoked pot and listened to rock and roll, much to the horror of our parents. I don’t typically feel threatened by other beliefs or viewpoints when they do not affect me. But getting worked up over PCM or DSD? Really?
I understand feeling threatened when our homes, children, livelihoods, or safety are at stake. But personal beliefs and practices that do not affect others? I guess I just don’t get it. Maybe I am being shallow or don’t want to look.
I finally got my little tape mastering studio setup in the back room. It consists of an Otari MTR-10 tape deck feeding a NuWave Phono Converter through its auxiliary inputs and then into my computer through USB.
I am monitoring everything on a PWD. I use the HDMI connector for tape and USB for the computer output. 176kHz/24 for PCM and eventually DSD will be included. It’s a reasonable setup and as I mentioned in an earlier post, I have a pair of Era loudspeakers in a home audio configuration for monitoring.
My idea is simple. If I want to achieve a perfect sound on my stereo system when I am done mastering, why not start out mastering on the very same system I want to eventually listen to? Turns out this may not be the best idea. I am having great trouble hearing small changes; yet I recognize that fixing these small changes results in a better overall recording. Intense work at the micro level yields the best results on a macro level.
I recall a conversation I had years ago with Keith Johnson, master recordist at Reference Recordings about loudspeakers. Because his recording pretty much hit the mark every time, I naturally wanted to know what loudspeakers he used to master his work. What he told me surprised me. He used a homemade pair of near field monitors as best I remember. This made little sense at the time and when questioned about that he merely said “it’s what I am used to”. Perhaps now it makes a bit more sense. I think many mastering studios and recording engineers prefer near field monitors, relative to a home stereo setup like you and I might listen to the end results on.
What I am discovering during this mastering project is that I may need a micro view of the music in order to wind up with a great macro view. I think it’s somewhat like digital photography. I use Photoshop quite a lot and when I am working on what will eventually be a large print photograph, intended to be viewed from several feet away, I routinely zoom into the picture to find and fix small problems. This focus on the micro brings great benefit to the macro. I am getting the sense mastering may be somewhat the same.
I have tried headphones as the ultimate micro loudspeaker and find them too near field for the task. A set of bookshelf loudspeakers, placed in close proximity to the work station seems to work well.
More on this project as time goes by.
Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.