Old 02-06-2020, 11:01 AM   #1
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Default Reverb.com and magical mic preamp claims

https://youtu.be/dsItBtRnmjA?t=85

Its the unsinkable rubber duck

Save your ducats for bass traps!
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Old 02-06-2020, 12:19 PM   #2
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Redacted

I thought my reply was valid in a forum called:
Recording Technologies and Techniques
Discuss what technologies you use/want to use/should use for recording, and how to get them to do what you want.

The nastiness I've received tells me otherwise.

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Old 02-06-2020, 12:34 PM   #3
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My favorite part is pipelineaudio enjoying a snack during the broadcast!
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:02 PM   #4
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My favorite part is pipelineaudio enjoying a snack during the broadcast!
The high end is too crispy. Everyone knows that Neve preamps are best for sandwiches.
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:20 PM   #5
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I just advised someone at my studio that they did not have any reason to get a 500 series lunchbox like mine from an audio quality perspective - my 12 "premium" pre's do have galvanic isolation though (transformers), and almost every part of general build quality and materials is better than my RME UFX FWIW.

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Why on earth would you want to saturate a signal after the high-end has been rolled off by the cab?
Take one of your guitar tracks, throw JS: Saturation on it? Especially if a clean track - that's not really something to debate though because it's just taste - there are 1000s of threads about doing exactly that and all over the place and it's all over almost every type of track in most modern music.

So if saturation can be achieved via pre (because that isn't going to happen unless you can control the output of the pre to actually get saturation), it's as valid there as anywhere else.

EDIT: Actually I thought you were another poster, I misread hence the guitar track reference but I'll leave it as-is after going through all the trouble to type it.
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:45 PM   #6
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I'm completely with you. Unfortunately music production is especially susceptible to this magical-thinking ...
Fascinating stuff. Can you tell me where the quote about L-dopa is from?
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Old 02-06-2020, 02:01 PM   #7
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I'm completely with you. Unfortunately music production is especially susceptible to this magical-thinking and "it's something you can't hear, but you can feel when it's missing" pseudoscience. I think it's part of the reward system of our brains. We always want to feel like there's something more, something mysterious going on. It's also marketing preying on that inclination.
And music is so black box and wrapped in mystery because musicians are so visceral (in a creative good way), they/we are especially susceptible to "mojo". The absolute biggest thing that changed my view is when I began learning how to design and build circuits, mostly for stomp boxes - It taught me an awful about how waveforms behave. However...

I did come away realizing that it really does not matter if the mojo is in your head, in the gear or somewhere in between, so long as you are inspired by it and produce results because of it. So while I think it's fine to dispel marketing myths at some point it's as fine to just make the music and not need to know where "it" comes from - think it's the box, OK fine, just be creative.
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Old 02-06-2020, 02:09 PM   #8
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Old 02-06-2020, 02:14 PM   #9
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Fascinating stuff. Can you tell me where the quote about L-dopa is from?
I found it here:
https://www.newsweek.com/ghosts-we-think-we-see-103019
referencing Bruce Hood's book:
https://www.amazon.com/SuperSense-Wh.../dp/0061452645

And from the other side of the magical realm, there's this book which I re-read every few years. It's about some of the real unknowns in the natural world.
https://www.amazon.com/Seven-experim...dp/1573225649/
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Old 02-06-2020, 02:16 PM   #10
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Ok, so it's artistically valid, but what isn't? I just think it's bad practice.
You had asked somtething like "why in the world would someone add saturation after a cab trims high end". I gave a suggestion as to why but there's no expectation you should like it.

You think buss compression is bad practice too which is also just fine - that doesn't mean it's true for the other millions of creators as there is no "known good".

Do your thing, your way, win everyone you can over - that's what everyone else does, their thing and thank goodness we have the musical freedom to do that.
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Old 02-06-2020, 02:38 PM   #11
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My favorite part is pipelineaudio enjoying a snack during the broadcast!
Kalua pig plates for $3.50 at Time's hot bar....It is my mission to eat them all
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Old 02-06-2020, 02:40 PM   #12
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I did come away realizing that it really does not matter if the mojo is in your head, in the gear or somewhere in between, so long as you are inspired by it and produce results because of it. So while I think it's fine to dispel marketing myths at some point it's as fine to just make the music and not need to know where "it" comes from - think it's the box, OK fine, just be creative.
This is pretty much my pragmatic look at it. I leave it alone until these guys start hammering on noobs that they MUST spend their money on stuff that doesn't measurably or audibly matter instead of stuff that does.

And worse when its a voice of authority (whether or not you agree it should be) like Reverb
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Old 02-06-2020, 02:42 PM   #13
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Old 02-06-2020, 03:00 PM   #14
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This is pretty much my pragmatic look at it. I leave it alone until these guys start hammering on noobs that they MUST spend their money on stuff that doesn't measurably or audibly matter instead of stuff that does.

And worse when its a voice of authority (whether or not you agree it should be) like Reverb
In fairness, they're the voice of a retailer.

If someone can't work out that people who sell stuff for a living will try and tell them they need that stuff, then I think that person has bigger problems.

The critical thinkers and skeptics will always be drawn to the debunkers, but the people who want to believe in magic will always justify their gear lust and find ways to write off evidence.

People who are creative, and creating art is actually their goal, will make do with what they have to hand.

There is a whole other category who dabble in creativity to justify consumer lust, and I say let them have at it.

Another category is the people who don't have a creative bone in their body, make "educating the noobs" a justification of their life's mission to be a dick to everyone, talk down to people with more knowledge and experience than them and obsess over out-of-context data to prove a point.

I think the last are the most toxic, and they create so much noise it drowns out working professionals like yourself who want to share a bit of truth in the face of disingenuous marketing.
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Old 02-06-2020, 03:08 PM   #15
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This is pretty much my pragmatic look at it. I leave it alone until these guys start hammering on noobs that they MUST spend their money on stuff that doesn't measurably or audibly matter instead of stuff that does.

And worse when its a voice of authority (whether or not you agree it should be) like Reverb
Yea I get you, it was also as bad if not far worse in the analog days because there wasn't even such things as a null test.

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If someone can't work out that people who sell stuff for a living will try and tell them they need that stuff, then I think that person has bigger problems.
That usually invokes my "never seen an audio gear head in a soup line" response.
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Old 02-06-2020, 03:16 PM   #16
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That usually invokes my "never seen an audio gear head in a soup line" response.
With a cart full of empty cans and four racks of vintage outboard gear.
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Old 02-06-2020, 03:29 PM   #17
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With a cart full of empty cans and four racks of vintage outboard gear.
I know right!
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Old 02-06-2020, 11:27 PM   #18
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If someone can't work out that people who sell stuff for a living will try and tell them they need that stuff, then I think that person has bigger problems.
This is also the case in most recording "schools" and most recording "education" as well. The primary job being to sell students to advertisers, so to the lay person there really isn't any less authority from Reverb.com than there would be from any college
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Old 02-07-2020, 03:37 AM   #19
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I did come away realizing that it really does not matter if the mojo is in your head, in the gear or somewhere in between, so long as you are inspired by it and produce results because of it. So while I think it's fine to dispel marketing myths at some point it's as fine to just make the music and not need to know where "it" comes from - think it's the box, OK fine, just be creative.
that's a very important thing to remember - I remember watching a video all about chris poland's gear and he was saying he could hear a difference when he had a certain kind of anodized screw holding his pickup into the guitar. I immediately thought this was complete, laughable nonsense, and objectively, it almost certainly is. but the fact it gave him a little boost (ultimately psychological boost, but no less profound), probably inspired him to play differently and there's the difference - the difference both in what he 'hears' and how it makes him play.

in medicine, the placebo effect is very powerful (for some things more than others admittedly), so i'm sure the same applies with sounds and the reward centres of the brain.

the other thing that needs unpicking in all these magic preamps is the interface (by which i mean the holistic interface, the entirety of how we interact with the device, not just the GUI or the front panel) and how that influences all of the above as well as how you physically interact with the device. using JS:Saturation compared to using some outboard gear is a vastly different mechanical and mental process, so again there's really no fair and objective comparison between the two (from the experiential perspective), even if the end result is sonically the same.
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Old 02-07-2020, 03:44 AM   #20
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that's a very important thing to remember - I remember watching a video all about chris poland's gear and he was saying he could hear a difference when he had a certain kind of anodized screw holding his pickup into the guitar. I immediately thought this was complete, laughable nonsense, and objectively, it almost certainly is. but the fact it gave him a little boost (ultimately psychological boost, but no less profound), probably inspired him to play differently and there's the difference - the difference both in what he 'hears' and how it makes him play.

in medicine, the placebo effect is very powerful (for some things more than others admittedly), so i'm sure the same applies with sounds and the reward centres of the brain.

the other thing that needs unpicking in all these magic preamps is the interface (by which i mean the holistic interface, the entirety of how we interact with the device, not just the GUI or the front panel) and how that influences all of the above as well as how you physically interact with the device. using JS:Saturation compared to using some outboard gear is a vastly different mechanical and mental process, so again there's really no fair and objective comparison between the two (from the experiential perspective), even if the end result is sonically the same.
Yep, if it weren't so, no company would ever bother with atmospheric GUI's. Some people love them, some people hate them. Vive la difference!

The interface thing is very true. Like how different guitars will bring out different styles of playing and creative avenues, even though they're all 6 strings and a fretboard.
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Old 02-07-2020, 07:16 AM   #21
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Just an aside about the old Eric Johnson hear the difference between batteries myth - that one isn't a myth really. Real Fuzz Face circuit's sound changes, sometimes significantly, based on how charged the battery is. It's enough that many pedal board PSUs offer a 4.5-9 V adjustment for that reason and many like the sound with a battery that is not fully charged. Just throwing out some info as to where that came from. And... Ge transistors are so unstable, that room temperature affects the circuit greatly, and sometimes unusable if too cold for example (or just right ).
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Old 02-07-2020, 11:22 AM   #22
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And music is so black box and wrapped in mystery because musicians are so visceral (in a creative good way), they/we are especially susceptible to "mojo". The absolute biggest thing that changed my view is when I began learning how to design and build circuits, mostly for stomp boxes - It taught me an awful about how waveforms behave. However...
That's something I learned recently. I don't hear acoustic illusions. I think it is because I'm also tone deaf. So I presume I also don't hear "mojo". To me, it just sounds like an old amp. There are some I like, some I don't. But that's personal.

It always amazes me how some seem tot think they need the mojo from ABC or XYZ. That mojo certainly isn't the same as 40 years ago, when it's vintage. Or a clone.

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I did come away realizing that it really does not matter if the mojo is in your head, in the gear or somewhere in between, so long as you are inspired by it and produce results because of it. So while I think it's fine to dispel marketing myths at some point it's as fine to just make the music and not need to know where "it" comes from - think it's the box, OK fine, just be creative.
Amen. What works, works.

50% of the population can be cured by a placebo. I've seen plenty placebo audio.
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Old 02-07-2020, 11:25 AM   #23
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Ge transistors are so unstable, that room temperature affects the circuit greatly, and sometimes unusable if too cold for example (or just right ).
There are some around that you can repair by ticking them a few times with your screwdriver. Sometimes that fix is permanent, most of the times it's not.
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Old 02-07-2020, 11:33 AM   #24
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There are some around that you can repair by ticking them a few times with your screwdriver. Sometimes that fix is permanent, most of the times it's not.
Yea it depends, I purchased a few every week for months between 2014-16 so I have a hundred or few - which means I only have a handful of Ge's that will actually work in a fuzz circuit well.

However, I usually build hybrids now with Q1 Si and Q2 Ge which vastly reduces the temperature instability without losing the smoothing Ge does to harmonics that the silicon doesn't. That's one of the very few things in this subject matter that isn't audiophile foolery.

You can certainly build a fuzz that is Si that sounds great, but they don't by default smooth the high-end the way Ge does. That's also why treble boosters (the old ones from 60s/70s), as designed, tend to sound less prickly than the same stock circuit built with Si but you know that already.
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Old 02-07-2020, 12:06 PM   #25
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The only ones I "stock", are real vintage ones.

Meaning they're in devices I collect from garbage and flea markets. If it's a power amp, you need to replace with sillicon anyways. And I don't do many repairs these days. No time.
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Old 02-07-2020, 12:32 PM   #26
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The only ones I "stock", are real vintage ones.

Meaning they're in devices I collect from garbage and flea markets. If it's a power amp, you need to replace with sillicon anyways. And I don't do many repairs these days. No time.
Gotcha, mine are all hand-selected NOS from a trusted source aka not ebay etc. As small portion are measured and sorted but that labor is 4 times the price, so for awhile I was just buying them in bulk and sorting myself using this method: http://www.geofex.com/Article_Folders/ffselect.htm
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Old 02-07-2020, 01:53 PM   #27
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Si/Ge is simple though. You know more or less what to expect. Transformers, otoh...
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Old 02-07-2020, 02:05 PM   #28
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Si/Ge is simple though. .
With Ge in fuzz it's a crap shoot during the build - well not if you measure and test a lot but the real crap shoot is the temp changing and it sounding like a deranged mosquito when you aren't in the mood for the sound of a deranged mosquito. That can literally be a 10 degrees F change.
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Old 02-10-2020, 03:05 AM   #29
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I`m from the Old School un-subtle brigade. Don`t see the point on spending £$£$£ on extra gear unless it smacks you in the face if you crank it far enough.
All the subtle stuff does is drag your peers and your listening audience down the Emperor`s New Suit of Clothes route as far as I`m concerned. Joe Meek was right.
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Old 02-10-2020, 11:12 AM   #30
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Joe Meek was right and Ethan Winer was right, too.
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Old 02-11-2020, 06:50 AM   #31
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(insert missing thumbs up emoticon here)

I never have understood why so many people like to get on Ethan`s case.
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Old 02-11-2020, 09:11 AM   #32
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Simple enough, Ivan. If you challenge their belief, they have no real arguments, so they become frustrated...
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Old 02-12-2020, 03:49 AM   #33
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It is indeed amazing how sound perception can be so subjective. Even with the idea is to be "objective" or at least methodical, the results can be , let's say, ambiguous. For example does everyone agree with the consensus on this topic:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7U_v6xpGtjs

(To be clear, I don't!)
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Old 02-12-2020, 04:58 AM   #34
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I dropped string gauges on most of my electrics a few weeks back, I doubt I'll ever go back. I'll keep the acoustics as is for setup reasons.

However, that video's subjectivity is for things you can actually hear.
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Old 02-12-2020, 09:53 AM   #35
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Hi,
So what year approx did all preamps start to sound sound the same?
Are you guys saying that the preamps in my Mackie d8b digital board are basicly the same as,say, a neve clone box? The Mackie is from circa 2000.
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Old 02-16-2020, 09:36 AM   #36
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Hi,
So what year approx did all preamps start to sound sound the same?
Are you guys saying that the preamps in my Mackie d8b digital board are basicly the same as,say, a neve clone box? The Mackie is from circa 2000.
That's a good question. It sort of suggests that preamps were designed to "sound" like something. The original goal has always been to raise the gain of a signal to the desired level while adding as little additional noise as possible. I think, because some were good and some were bad at this, the "sound" of a preamp became the way to describe quality. This confuses the whole goal.

The other case is in misusing the device, overdriving it, undervolting, all the crazy things a creative engineer would try or stumble upon by accident. Then they definitely have a "sound" that has nothing to do with their designed purpose.

As to the year they all started sounding the same, likely there's a particular cheap amplifying circuit that became available that lowered the price and increased availability of a good signal to noise preamplification. Since that's what they have all tried to do, that's when they all started sounding the same.

The mackie (eventually named the ZLM) pre was really the breakout if I recall correctly.
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Old 02-16-2020, 10:01 AM   #37
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It sort of suggests that preamps were designed to "sound" like something.
Neve (and many other preamps) for example... the goal was to get as clean a signal as humanly possible, much of the color thing came from using transformers for isolation where those and or other components saturated when the preamp was pushed beyond the norm and just being analog. Otherwise, such preamps are 'generally' clean as a whistle in their nominal range.

We have to remember, that was a world where no one had actually experienced the fidelity we get today with digital, so the game was always trying to achieve perfect reproduction because everyone thought that was the holy grail -but people would overload them, or the design would fall short, and the result sounded pleasing.

Not to mention being related to running signal after signal through such circuitry, just firing up a expensive pre and popping a signal through it isn't going to be the same as an entire production where everything goes through them and most of those signals are 'hot'.

It's a similar thing with microphones, it isn't how close you can get two of them to sound by putting them in their most accurate situation, it's how they sound in non-ideal situations or being pushed to their limits and outside their norm.

Most here don't have the ability to push any preamp hard because there are usually no output controls on the preamp to allow it to be cranked without clipping the ADC.
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Old 02-16-2020, 10:34 AM   #38
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Agreed.

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Most here don't have the ability to push any preamp hard because there are usually no output controls on the preamp to allow it to be cranked without clipping the ADC.
This is another differentiator. Often a higher end device will have unique or additional capabilities like that or even gain controls with detents. Just things that make the device more flexible.
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Old 02-16-2020, 11:23 AM   #39
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Agreed.



This is another differentiator. Often a higher end device will have unique or additional capabilities like that or even gain controls with detents. Just things that make the device more flexible.
Correct, I have a few of them. Neve, API, A-Designs, UA - some have output controls but even some of them do not. Also, as I mentioned before, base noise floor, build quality, galvanic isolation, not having to cram the entire preamp circuit into 1/2 cubic inch space like an interface has value - but setting both at nominal levels is not the thing that is going to make much difference that matters, most of the time, though there are occasional exceptions.
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Old 02-18-2020, 01:56 PM   #40
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If you’re unexamined enough to buy marketing hype, then you probably aren't making transcendent art. The two concepts are diametrically opposed.

This is nothing new. The wealthy have always tried to buy talent or a piece of it anyway. Consider the antique orchestral instrument market. All "great" violins are owned by third parties, rarely the musician who wields it. That market is also rife with forgery and confidence tricks.

The only problem with this I can see is the market overshadowing the art itself. We see this in oil paintings. That's a definite racket. We can definitely go and see these paintings in museums, but are we appreciating the art or admiring the assigned cash value?

So I think this thread is really the age-old war of appreciators vs. the Philistines. I've determined to be a conscientious objector in this conflict. I sleep easier.
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