Soyuz SU-023 The Bomlet users? May 12, 2020 20:20:07 GMT -6
Post by johneppstein on May 12, 2020 20:20:07 GMT -6
Fidelity, by definition, is about faithfulness to the source. Adding noise is not being faithful to the source. Noise has ramifications for my work/interests that might not matter to most -- but it matters to me. Noise has a direct affect on the spatial depth/soundstage of the resulting mix -- that's important to me. I also 'generally' don't close-mic acoustic instruments so am unable to take advantage of S/N -- again, noise is an issue for me.
Yes -- I have a couple of mics that are noisy, that I love the sound of, regardless. However, I don't employ them in many applications because of it. My UM17 with HK47 capsule? Yep, noisy, but for vocals it sounds great and, because I'm close-micing the vox, I get the S/N advantage.
While John may believe that "The notion that "modern" gear is capable of better noise performance that the gear of 50 years ago is more or less hogwash" I'd caution at the distinction between "capable of better noise performance" and "designed for better noise performance". Plenty of old designs didn't factor heavily on noise because the noise bottleneck was somewhere else in the chain (e.g., low-fidelity playback systems.) The digital age hasn't "raised [that] foolishness to an unprecedented level" -- rather, it changed where the noise/performance bottleneck appears.
Now, that being said, YOU KIDS, GET OFF MY LAWN!!! :-}
Ok, last things first - Kids, you're welcome on my lawn any time - as long as you MOW!
Second, you are not correct on a couple of very important points. To begin with you statement addressed to me simply tells me that you have probably never worked with quality vintage gear in good condition (a fair amount of what passes for "vintage" now was regarded as second rate back then).Also, much of what's around these days is not up to original snuff in one way or another. But given the toxic "collector" mentality that original components are always most desirable much of it doesn't get the servicing it needs because then it wouldn't be "original". And if the gear happens (as it often is) to be tube gear you may not ever be able to hear it at optimum performance because with the demise of the original tube manufacturers tube quality has taken a nosedive into the deep end of the pool wearing cement overshoes. Tubes produced today - even the so-called "premium" tubes - are garbage. And a huge percentage of the "NOS" tubes on the current market are factory seconds or rejects. Even back in the '70s when original tubes were still available a significant percentage were junk. Rejection rates were quite high - often 25%-50% for many common tubes such as 12AX7s. Those rejects were more often than not put into storage in the basement or a back room closet, and guess what? A lot of those rejected tubes are now being trotted out and sold as "NOS" - which I suppose is technically true, as they were never sold. When I was a service tech at some of the larger facilites in SF we often used to get our preamp tubes in "trays" of 100. It was not unusual to have 20 or 30 rejects left over, sometimes even more. And that was ordering top quality RCA tubes direct from Fender. And those tubes were 7025s, the "low noise" version of the 12AX7.
"Adding noise is not faithful to the source". Wrong. Unless you're at absolute zero you cannot eliminate noise. (Of course electronics can't work at absolute zero, anyway.) There is an absolute noise floor based on ambient temperature - you can't avoid it or eliminate it, because as long as there is thermal energy atoms, molecules, and subatomic particles move at random, and that random movement constitutes noise. It's a basic fact of physics. Whenever you have a resistance in an electronic circuit the movement of the particles in that resistance creates electronic noise.
Now digital technology is capable of figures that are way below the absolute figures for background noise - but that is, not too put to fine a point on it, total bullshit, because theoretical math inside a computer is not an actual audio signal. IIRC the absolute noise floor at nominal room temperature is around -125dBu, give or take a little bit - and that is actually unobtainable because materials and devices are not "perfect". So when your 64 bit processor running a 32 bit DAW program claims that it has 192 dB dynamic range, it's a lie when it comes to the actual noise level of the system* - because once those 1s and 0s are translated into sound those nasty old laws of physics come into play. In practice there is ALWAYS noise, but the human auditory system filters most of it out. The human audiotory system is very sensitive in some ways, but it's also quite lossy - we have evolved to not hear noise that evolution has been "programmed" to treat as unimportant.
Another point that most people don't understand is that people generally find a total absence of audible noise to be very unsettling. Have you ever spent any real length of time in an true anechoic chamber? Most people find it very uncomfortable after a very short time. "Oppressive" is a common description of the experience. I've been in real anechoic chambers on several occasions and I can testify to that. Spending time in one of those things is strange and unsettling.
Noise is part of the environment.
And the truth is that the noise specs given for audio equipment are generally just "salesman speak". Customers have been trained to expect a very low noise figure on a spec sheet, but very few actually undersand what any of this means - and those figures are frequently "cooked" to sound impressive to prospective buyers.
*- "lie" may not be exactly the right word. "Deliberately misleading" is probably better - it's usually presented as meaning the the gear in question is quieter, but that's often not the case, since you can't get more quiet than the nominal level set by the ambient temperature - HOWEVER you can most certainly get louder, but any dynamic range in excess of 140 dB is essentially meaninless for our purposes in audio, because the ear can't tolerate signal levels above 140 dBspl. And you can't hear signal levels below 0dBspl.
FWIW, I don't generally close mic acoustic instruments either, but generally do not find noise to be a significant problem.