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Kronos at the heart of a purely digital recording setup

 
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Rigel
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Joined: 02 Aug 2012
Posts: 244
Location: Izmir, Turkey

PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:26 pm    Post subject: Kronos at the heart of a purely digital recording setup Reply with quote

Is a PURE DIGITAL recording system possible without a computer?

I guess it is.
Normally, in my current DAWless setup, all my five digital synths, and condenser mics are connected to my Mackie mixer, then go into a Tascam DP32 Portastudio for realtime playing and multitrack recording. I obtain crystal clear sounds out of it. However, recently, I realized that I can play and record my synths and acoustic sound sources in real time without letting any part of the signal pass through any analog electronic circuitry, and even avoid the Portastudio, if I use the digital outputs and inputs of my gear. My V-Synth GT, Kurzweil PC3K, and the Ultranova all have digital outs, which go into my Kronos' S/PDIF digital in. For acoustic sounds I connect my Sony PCM D100 handheld recorder's digital in and out ports again to Kronos, which can be used both ways for recording the Kronos' digital output into Sony or sending Sony's onboard mics' sound to Kronos. Kronos, which sits at the center of my rig, is of course fully digital and capable of multitrack recording and MIDI controlling all these synths. Theoretically this results in virtually no noise and zero THD, and all of the above machines are capable of 48khz/24bits or higher, meaning incredible dynamic range and full frequency range without any coloring or distortion. And I can make these happen without using a computer. (Only reservation: Sony D100 mics inevitably need preamps, which are obviously analog.)

I think we reached a point in technology where digital devices shouldn't need an ADC or DAC everytime for passing their signal to another one. All sound signals can be propagated in purely digital form until they are finally reproduced for human consumption in an amplifier. Omitting analog components in the signal chain surely will result in higher quality.
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Korg KronosX73, Kurzweil PC3K6, Roland V-Synth GT, Kawai K5000S, Waldorf Blofeld, Novation Ultranova, Yamaha HS80M, Boss Micro BR80, Zoom H6, Sony PCM D100, Tascam DP32SD, Mackie 1202VLZ4, Zoom MS-70CDR, Rode NT1, Sony MDR 7506.
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yeskeys
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Joined: 05 Nov 2018
Posts: 61
Location: Virginia Beach VA

PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course there's plenty of validity in this scenario.

Though I recently left the gigging scene, I toyed with the idea of using my Kronos not only for primary keyboard duties but also as my guitar processor, using the amp/distortion/cabinet IFX. Never could bring myself to do it though....couldn't overcome that buzzy feeling.
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Korg Karma, M3-73, Kronos61, NanoPad2, Arturia Matrixbrute, DSI OB6, Oberheim OB8, Roland JD800 & XV5080, XStation25, Yamaha MFC (for Karma Pads), Omnisphere, Eurorack modular, guitars by Tom Anderson, Gibson, Fender, Ibanez, D'Angelico, Processors by Fractal Audio

PS - I'm selling an 88 key Kronos 1 w/KARO Orch Lib. PM if interested, less than 2k!
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SeedyLee
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Joined: 13 Sep 2006
Posts: 1133
Location: Perth, Australia

PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A pure digital recording setup isn't possible even with a computer.

You still need to convert those pesky analogue pressure waves into the digital domain, and that requires analogue electronics. And vice versa to be able to listen to your creation.

As for minimising distortion, distortion and noise still occurs in the digital domain, it's just different in nature. Have you heard of quantisation noise? Even digital filters are imperfect and will cause certain distortions of the signal due to numerical imprecision. If you apply an EQ to a signal, then apply the same EQ in reverse, and repeat that one hundred times, significant error will be introduced.
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Current Equipment:
Korg Kronos 61, Reface CS, Roland JV-1080, TE OP1, Moog Subsequent 37, Korg ARP Odyssey, Allen & Heath Zed 18, Adam F5, MOTU MIDI Express XT, Lexicon MX200 & MPX1, Yamaha QY700, Yamaha AW1600 Monotron, , Roland JV-80 & JV-1080 Kawai L1, Lexicon MX200,

Previous: Triton LE 61/Sampling/64MB/4GB SCSI, MS2000BR, Monotribe, NanoKontrol, NanoKeys, Kaossilator II, Casio HT3000, Roland VP-03, Reface DX, Novation Mininova
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SeedyLee
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Joined: 13 Sep 2006
Posts: 1133
Location: Perth, Australia

PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A pure digital recording setup isn't possible even with a computer.

You still need to convert those pesky analogue pressure waves into the digital domain, and that requires analogue electronics. And vice versa to be able to listen to your creation.

As for minimising distortion, distortion and noise still occurs in the digital domain, it's just different in nature. Have you heard of quantisation noise? Even digital filters are imperfect and will cause certain distortions of the signal due to numerical imprecision. If you apply an EQ to a signal, then apply the same EQ in reverse, and repeat that one hundred times, significant error will be introduced.
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Current Equipment:
Korg Kronos 61, Reface CS, Roland JV-1080, TE OP1, Moog Subsequent 37, Korg ARP Odyssey, Allen & Heath Zed 18, Adam F5, MOTU MIDI Express XT, Lexicon MX200 & MPX1, Yamaha QY700, Yamaha AW1600 Monotron, , Roland JV-80 & JV-1080 Kawai L1, Lexicon MX200,

Previous: Triton LE 61/Sampling/64MB/4GB SCSI, MS2000BR, Monotribe, NanoKontrol, NanoKeys, Kaossilator II, Casio HT3000, Roland VP-03, Reface DX, Novation Mininova
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Rigel
Full Member


Joined: 02 Aug 2012
Posts: 244
Location: Izmir, Turkey

PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SeedyLee wrote:

You still need to convert those pesky analogue pressure waves into the digital domain, and that requires analogue electronics. And vice versa to be able to listen to your creation.



If you read my post carefully, my reservations are :
1. The Sony D100 onboard mics obviously need a preamp, which are obviously and inevitably analog, and
2. The pure digital system ends with a DAC and a power amp., since we are humans and our brains cannot decode digital data (yet!.. Very Happy )

As for the different nature of distortion and noise of PCM, you are right. I know VERY FEW things about PCM, Nyquist theorem, quantization noise, dithering, dynamic range etc., since I am no electronics engineer. But I know that noise and distortion issues are dealt with adequately in the process of converting signals between analog and digital domains. The result is way better than what our perception is capable of discerning according to psychoacoustics. The fidelitiy of digital processing is getting better each day with increasing sampling and bit rates. The recent digital recorders utilize 32 bit float ADC's, which obviates the need for a gain knob!..

Analog to digital conversion is not involved in my setup for recording digital synthesizers since the signal is created already in a digital environment. You can process it freely and wildly provided that you stay in the digital realm. You are right when you say we will eventually have a degradation after a number of iteration of certain processes, but practically this issue will be evident only if your real aim is to degrade your recording. I want to give you an example: In the past we had only four tracks on our cassette based Portastudios, forcing us to use bouncing in order to increase the number of tracks. However, we lost the quality of the recorded sound so fast that after the second bouncing, it became so noisy/muddy and unrecognizable, you hated your music. But with modern digital Portastudios you can now bounce your tracks thousands of times over and over again without perceiving any loss of quality (crazy but I checked this myself Smile)

I believe it is about time for the designers and engineers to provide digital I/O on every sound generating/processing device, and develope a strong interface protocol or standard like MIDI of the eighties.
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Korg KronosX73, Kurzweil PC3K6, Roland V-Synth GT, Kawai K5000S, Waldorf Blofeld, Novation Ultranova, Yamaha HS80M, Boss Micro BR80, Zoom H6, Sony PCM D100, Tascam DP32SD, Mackie 1202VLZ4, Zoom MS-70CDR, Rode NT1, Sony MDR 7506.
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