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Technical Question About Analog sound
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Guitars, Basses, Amps & FX  
Author Technical Question About Analog sound
userfriendly
This isn't about semantics or philosophical ideologies. Its just an honest question.

If I record a live piano and put it through an analog tube pre amp, but then take a high quality piano vst plug-in and run it through the tube amp with all the same levels and all the same setting on the tube amp, would the output of the tube amp be just as "analog" either way? I suppose what I am asking, can you turn a digital sound into an analog one? sure the plugin wont have the same minutely disjointed harmonics that the real piano might have, but aside from that, what would the difference be? I am mostly asking out of curiosity. especially when it comes to manipulating the recorded track. cheers!
commodorejohn
Any time you take an audio signal out of a computer in something other than a digital format (which is to say, almost any time you take an audio signal out of a computer over a connection other than S/PDIF or audio-over-USB or probably whatever proprietary connection standard Apple's introducing this week) it is converted into an analog audio signal. What happens to it from there stays in the analog domain unless it's converted back to a digital signal (i.e. run through a digital FX unit, brought back into a computer, etc.)
Ra
It's hard not to get into semantics or philosophical ideologies with such a question though. The most mundanely technical answer would be: it's analog as soon as it goes through a D/A converter.

Giving the VST piano a bit of a treatment with the preamp surely would give it a bit more character. But I guess the quality of the underlying material also somewhat counts. If you're just "analogafying" an 8 bit piano sample that's pitched around, it won't bring you any closer to an actual recording. If you're heating up a really really good piano emulation there probably won't be much difference to a real recording as the base. If the base material is a somewhat barely acceptable emulation, maybe you can mask the "digitalness" a little by colouring the sound. Ideally it creates the impression of a real piano - not an emulation - hidden behind layers of sound degradation.
Depends of the context if that is a good thing, I guess seriously, i just don't get it
userfriendly
Ra wrote:
It's hard not to get into semantics or philosophical ideologies with such a question though. The most mundanely technical answer would be: it's analog as soon as it goes through a D/A converter.


commodorejohn wrote:
Any time you take an audio signal out of a computer in something other than a digital format (which is to say, almost any time you take an audio signal out of a computer over a connection other than S/PDIF or audio-over-USB or probably whatever proprietary connection standard Apple's introducing this week) it is converted into an analog audio signal.


Thanks for the replies. The main reason I ask has to do with sample manipulation. Its seems to me that when you adjust something like the pitch of a recorded sample, the result of a digital sound is different than an analog one.
CursedFrogurt
It's important to remember that any time something goes through an ADC though, it's somewhat digital forever. The signal has been sampled and quantized.

Once it's been converted to digital, even after returning to the analog realm, the signal is roughly limited by whatever the lowest bit and sample rate that it was converted to digital at.

In terms of overall mojo / sound coloration, this point is probably not too big of a deal, and you can always add coloration to the sound.

When you're talking about sample manipulation and playback though, the information that was lost in the conversion from analog to digital is never going to be regained.
userfriendly
CursedFrogurt wrote:
It's important to remember that any time something goes through an ADC though, it's somewhat digital forever. The signal has been sampled and quantized.

Once it's been converted to digital, even after returning to the analog realm, the signal is roughly limited by whatever the lowest bit and sample rate that it was converted to digital at.

In terms of overall mojo / sound coloration, this point is probably not too big of a deal, and you can always add coloration to the sound.

When you're talking about sample manipulation and playback though, the information that was lost in the conversion from analog to digital is never going to be regained.



That was very helpful. Thank you. I think thats what I always forget. That unless I am messing with actual tape or something, its always going to be digital. Hmm. maybe I should get into tape....haha
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