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Question: Is a digital recording of a digital musical instrument perfect?


NOMBEDES
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Play a "C" note on a synthetic instrument (digital keyboard).

Record the digital piano and maintain a DDD chain.

Play the digital recording in the digital domain (computer > DAC > etc) 

 

My question:  would it be possible that there is no Sound Quality (SQ) loss since the resulting recording was from a digital instrument?

 

 

In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake ~ Sayre's Law

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Every processing step, digital or analog, leads to some quality loss of the original signal.

In digital domain, every processing step requires digital filtering and possibly dithering of the processing result. There are no ideal filters used in real world, because digital processing engines (hardware or software) have restricted processing capabilities and there is no infinite time available for processing. Therefore each digital processing step add some level of distortion to the original signal. Mixing and mastering are such steps too.

Then, there is a complex topic of music reproduction from digital sources, where things like noise from digital signal source (PC or any player) and jitter (timing instability, can be caused by noise) play important role. These 2 things - noise and jitter - are cause of fact that two digital sources may bring audible difference when playing the same digital content.
You included also DAC in your question. There are DACs of different quality and differences between them (in comparison with noise and jitter) are easier measurable.

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3 hours ago, NOMBEDES said:

Play a "C" note on a synthetic instrument (digital keyboard).

Record the digital piano and maintain a DDD chain.

Play the digital recording in the digital domain (computer > DAC > etc)

 

Playback chain A: Keyboard → instrument builtin DAC (for realtime performance monitoring) → analog amp → speakers.

 

Playback chain B: Keyboard digital out → PCM recorder to create PCM file. Recorded PCM file played by music player → DAC for audiophiles → analog amp → speakers.

 

There is no data altering on digital domain if recording/playback chain is carefully prepared.

 

It seems typical DAC designed for instruments performance uses minimum-phase or short-delay analog signal reconstruction filter to reduce latency for performer to play more comfortably.

 

While typical audio DAC uses linear-phase reconstruction filter to create faithful analog representation for PCM digital signal and there is no digital to analog conversion latency requirement for music listening. Sound difference is subtle but it may be improved, especially for the beginning attack part of the C note. It seems some people do hear the difference, especially headphone listeners tend to prefer linear-phase DAC sound. BTW I cannot tell the difference reliably.

 

 

 

Sunday programmer since 1985

Developer of PlayPcmWin

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10 hours ago, NOMBEDES said:

 

Play a "C" note on a synthetic instrument (digital keyboard).

Record the digital piano and maintain a DDD chain.

Play the digital recording in the digital domain (computer > DAC > etc) 

 

My question:  would it be possible that there is no Sound Quality (SQ) loss since the resulting recording was from a digital instrument?

 

 

Like this:

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/qr0afymnwhtlqrw/keyboard recording1.wav?dl=0

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/12/2021 at 6:20 PM, the_bat said:

Apologies if this is missing the point, but I'm not sure you can talk about a sound quality loss, as the digital keyboard doesn't produce a sound until it's feed to a DAC/amp/speaker.

 

Acoustic sound waves from your loudspeakers are only one form how sound can be transferred from one location to other. :) For me sound is abstraction, which can be defined mathematically without any technical gear. In real world sounds need some matter to be generated, transferred, processed or stored. Sounds can be initially "stored" in composer mind and then on composer paper notes. Human voice, microphone or synthesizer is something what can create sounds and vinyl disc or CD media is used to store sounds. Loudspeakers are also used to process sound (signal) - they change the way how sound is transferred. Sound is technically represented by sound signal (digital or analog) and may be transferred or stored in different ways. When signal degradation happens in some digital signal processing step, sound quality loss already happened no matter if it is now or later played through loudspeakers.

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