New wave phono converter and compression


#1

Is there a setting for compression when recording on the new wave . If so how does it work. I have some cd,s that would sound better if companded a little when recoding. Any thoughts on this.


#2

No, the NPC has no means of compression. The idea behind it is mainly to store already compressed vinyl onto a the wider dynamic range of the CD. We just did a recording recently using Vinyl Studio for the mastering and had to turn the gain on the NPC up a couple of dB to take advantage of the space available to us using 96kHz 24 bits.



Certainly you can use the NPC’s analog inputs for something other than vinyl, like a live recording, there you could take advantage of the great dynamic space available in the 24 bits.


#3
Paul McGowan said: Certainly you can use the NPC's analog inputs for something other than vinyl, like a live recording, there you could take advantage of the great dynamic space available in the 24 bits.

My thoughts exactly. I am very curious to know how this would compare to some other ADC's used for live recording. Obviously, some of the niceties are not there like phantom power but I'll bet the sound would be spectacular. Elk, your thoughts?

#4

A couple of thoughts:



If one wants to add compression you need either a hardware or software compressor with sufficient control over the many parameters which need to be set correctly to get a good result. I suggest a good software compressor to apply to the file after capturing it.



The NPC is not intended for live recording, but certainly could be used this way - just like any other ADC. I am certain it would sound very good. This is not its niche however as money has gone into other things in addition to the ADC, such as what I am certain is an excellent sounding phonostage.



There are many more cost effective options for recording. Of course, these ADCs do not include a phonostage. :slight_smile: Horses for courses.



Paul McGowan said: We just did a recording recently using Vinyl Studio for the mastering and had to turn the gain on the NPC up a couple of dB to take advantage of the space available to us using 96kHz 24 bits.


A minor clarification: Setting peak level has nothing to do with the dynamic range of the digital recording format. Rather, it is simply a function of how loud the source is.



The highest possible volume is triggering the top most bit. Thus, setting peak level for capturing sound in 96/24, 44/16 and 22/8 is precisely the same.



On the other hand, 24-bit resolution allows one to set the level lower and still capture the entire dynamic range of the source, while at the same time providing additional headroom for the errant peak. Thus, one can safely record with -16dB peak level at 24-bit as the couple of bits you threw away are trivial as you have many left to capture the soft sounds. You can then process the file to increase the absolute volume if desired.



As a practical matter, I suggest finding the NPC level that works for the loudest passage of the loudest recording and leaving it there. All records will record nicely at this level, you need not set it again if you leave a bit of headroom, and you preserve the relative volume between recordings. If you want to normalize all of your recordings to -0.3dB, for example, this is much more quickly and precisely addressed in post with your sound editor of choice.



#5

I kind of wondered how that phono stage would be as a mic preamp, assuming that the eq is bypassable. I suppose that after you have made the mic level appropriate for the NPC gain stage (down I suppose) and added impedance correction and compression life is getting unnecessarily complicated.


#6

Good question, I did not think of this.



The RIAA compensation curve would need to be bypassed, as you mention, although it could be taken out in post as well.



The variable impedance would be nice (high end mic pres can have selectable microphone input impedance matching). However, mic pres have much lower input impedance the phono cartridge loading, 1.5k ohm to 3k ohm is typical. The standard load on a phono pre is 47k ohm.



The lack of phantom power would limit one to dynamic mics, for which the high impedance would be an even bigger problem.



Fun idea, but tough to accomplish in practice.


#7

My thoughts on compression is this. Many years ago I had a DBX. COMPANDER . its use was to lower the hiss noise in tapes and it also helped in reel to reel and records. The theory is today’s music is much more dynamic. In itself this is closer to what it sounds live , but this is not always pleasing to my ears. Especially with classic the lows and the highs are just too far apart. Again this is just my thinking. So when Paul the other day commented on why vinyl sounds better it was focased on the smaller dynamic range of vinyl. This triggered an old thought and here we are. I had this feature on some other equipment I had as well. Our tv,s have this as auto level and my denon 5805 CI has this as well. Any thoughts or can someone point me to a good software to try. If per say I am in my office and I want music to play in the background thus would greatly Inhance my listening experience.



Al D


#8

I suspect what you would like is an automatic gain control (AGC) that allows you to turn the volume up to your desired level, but keeps the sound from getting too loud. This would not require processing the music files, but would be implemented on playback only.



I do not have a specific suggestion, but my guess is that there is a plug-in for Foobar that does this.



Replaygain will not work as you do not want to change the levels of the tracks, but instead want to minimize the peaks will still hearing the soft bits.



Any full featured sound editor (Sound Forge, etc.) provides high quality compression, but this requires processing each file, saving it and playing back the saved track. Not only is this a lot of work, you have also modified your original track.


#9

Wow this is complex. But if I do the sound auto level will this work on the fly without changeling the sound stage and so on.


#10

An AGC works on the fly and serves only to limit peaks. It is technically a real-time limiter. This is what televisions have as an auto level. As the peaks are limited, one can turn up the overall volume and hear both the soft and loud passages without getting too loud overall.



AGC will effect the perception of sound stage as the entire gain is reduced in the loud passages for everything. Thus, if the ambient information would otherwise have gotten louder, it will be reduced in level as well. I would not be concerned with this however as it is rather subtle.



It occurs to me that you may want to try buying an inexpensive hardware compressor and inserting it into your signal chain (after the DAC, and before the preamp or headphone amp). This would give you absolute real time control, the ability to make changes on the fly, and you will learn a great deal about how music and sound reproduction works.


#11

I would be happy to buy one , but other than the pbx one I had witch is 30 years old . I would not know what to buy. also what other adjustments would I need to understand to set. the surround sound rec I have has this very simple to use, but in doing so I am using its internal dac… any ideas??


#12

Here is an example of a reasonably featured, cheap compressor.


I am not tremendously impressed with Behringer equipment overall (it is made down to a price and typically copies others' circuits) but it is a great bang for the buck.


alrainbow said: what other adjustments would I need to understand to set.

Setting up a compressor is not the art that EQ is, but takes some serious effort to understand and involves much more than I am willing to address here. I am certain you can find some tutorials on line on basic settings. The manual probably comes with some explanation as well. Remember that you will need adaptors/cables as the unit only has XLR and 1/4 TRS.


#13

Yes almost my entire systems are XlR and configuration of wiring is the easy part. I have been reading and it is complex but if it can give me my music more the way I want it then it will be worth it. As I said the surround has something of the sorts in it I will first check it out. Thanks for the help.



AlD


#14

Best of luck!



I am sure you will get things to work for you as you would like.


#15

It’s really funny to me that I spend all this money to make a system that can reproduce music with all it’s dynamics . But if it is just background music it’s just not the way I want it. Thanks for the link .



It looks fine to try and very cheap. I need something to make the low louder and have a hi limit.



Al D