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Re: MiniDisk & EQ - was Re: Loop Recording and Loading

From: Tom Lambrecht <hideomo@swbell.net>

>(hi) Miko and i have discussed this a little--I find the MD is fantastic
>overall, but seems to have problems with harmonically complex noises (like
>my didgeridoos and reeds)--I usually hear a few hissy little 
>that aren't there in the original mix
>I thought it was just my compromised grey matter, but I saw a post on a MD
>group from a bagpiper who reported the same problem
>I notice it with my Sharp 702 and my Sony MDS-DRE1, which is the now
>discontinued DJ minidisc deck that allows you to instantly cue up to 12 
>points--you can loop them pretty seamlessly
>and of course there is a scratch pad      ;)  wild piece of kit!
>I still use a portable Marantz and a Sony Walkman Pro for alot of 
>and though there is more hiss, I find the sound to be more 
>realistic--butyou can't beat the convenience of MD

<http://www.minidisc.org/aes_atrac.html> has a good discussion of ATRAC,
the encoding mechanism used in minidiscs.

A trouble with ATRAC and MP3 for drones and slowly evolving timbres
is that they divide the audio track into a large number of small regions
which they encode separately (admittedly with an overlap).  While the
harmonic content is preserved, the phase information is, I feel, blown
to Hell.  This doesn't make a difference for most music but for pieces
where interactions between detuned oscillators are important, you aren't
going to get what you want.

There are similar problems, in my perception anyway, with the "space"
of a room.  I believe that a reasonable amount of the information that
conveys the shape of a room to your ear is pretty sensitive to phase.

And as someone else pointed out, EQing the result might have
negative results.  I personally don't think this is terribly terrible,
as only bands that would naturally be hidden are affected, but
if you are trying to bring out a track that is obscured, one might
think that all sorts of artefacts would be revealed.

What it comes down to, for me, is that mp3/atrac encoding devices are
just splendid tools for making things like gig recordings and
rehearsal "tapes" but if you intend to keep working with the material
afterward then you should if you can record in some uncompressed

(Of course, I'd take any MD over a really good cassette for any


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