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ADC comparison in Studio Magazine 10/2016
In the current issue of Studio magazine, there is a comprehensive report on microphone tests with downstream ADC comparisons under real conditions. Solo recordings of a piano and a guitar in natural acoustics were made, both on a digital comparison recording and on a Nagra analog tape machine. This analog recording was then digitalised via various ADCs - our Arfi-ADC2 was also compared - hear the audio files here:
(Unfortunately, the music is only available as a stream and not as a download, it can thus only be listened to in your browser. The quality of the files is 44.1 kHz, so if necessary make sure that the audio settings of your operating system do not imitate resampling in case another output rate is set. For Windows: "Control Panel" > "Manage audio devices" > "Properties" > "Advanced")
When judging the sound, please take into account that these streams are only in mp3 quality and the choice of instruments, rooms, microphones and the entire transmission chain play a role in the overall sound. But on the whole, the recordings allow you to compare the most important characteristics - we would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of our colleagues!
If you compare file no. 11 "Digitalaufnahme" with file no. 14 "Direct-Out andiamo", you can hear the differences that result from the tape recording, because in both cases the same ADC was used, one with a bypass and once directly via a Nagra. The analog machine makes the sound somewhat warmer and a somewhat more silvery sound with a slight emphasis of the transients. All in all it should be considered - as astonishing as the recording quality of the Nagra was at the time it came out - it has, despite this, a certain limit compared to a direct connection between the microphone and AD converter.
For example if you listen to the musical details on the piano recording (files 11-16), such as what kind of articulation can be heard and the resulting musical line, the expression and the emotional effect, then you get an idea of the uniqueness of "artistic fidelity". We especially recommend the passage from ca. 1 minute to 2 minutes. What musical development unfolds? Which recording seems boring, which one is more effective, is there a level of communication between the interpreter and the listener? From a sound point of view, you can hear clear differences in the sound of chords struck together and how the vibrations of the strings are reproduced. In spite of the mp3 quality, you can hear astonishingly well the very clean playback of the vibrational pattern via the Arfi-ADC2, especially the transparent impact of the treble range. This core characteristic is a feature of all our developments: the most important parameter for music playback is the depiction of the transient responses. This is the difference between simple audio and real music.
Postscript: in the meantime, the music files have also been made available in their original quality. A zip-file with all files can be found here Download.