About Digital Music
A digital recording is produced by converting the physical properties of the original sound into a sequence of numbers, which can then be stored and played back for reproduction later. The accuracy of this conversion process depends essentially on the sampling rate (how often the sound is sampled) and the sampling depth (how much information each sample contains).
“For modern recordings, the controversy between analog recording and digital recording is becoming moot. No matter what format the user uses, the recording probably was digital at several stages in its life.”
— Wikipedia, excerpt
Nowadays it is not easy to find a NON-DIGITAL recording even it is issued on vinyl.
What is the problem with digital recording?
There is absolutely no problem with the digital recording (if it is made correctly) as long as your focus is only on the quality of the physical SOUND. An accurate and high-quality SOUND reproduction is possible with both analogue and digital systems. You may find a never-ending dispute about analogue versus digital on most audio forums. You may find serious arguments on both sides.
According to our investigations, digital recording is an adequate choice as far as you want to record and analyze the sound.
If you want to record music, you should take other aspects into consideration beyond the physical properties of sound.
The production of a stamped CD
Our experiments have shown that EVERY manipulation made either before the recording or after the recording will by necessity reduce the living presence of music. The digital conversion is an extremely robust manipulation. Digital signal processing is also a robust manipulation.
Unfortunately, once a master CD is sent to a replication plant for production, quality is slipping out of the control. The stamped CD is always inferior to the master. The engineer has no control over the jitter and block error rates during the replication process.
Three, often up to five generations of transfer, are made from the original master to the glass stamper.
Thus, we decided to reduce the effect of any manipulation and the number of transfers to a minimum level.
The most important is the source that is an unedited, analogue master tape. The source of AAD is entirely identical with that of an old vinyl record. AAD is a genuine digital copy of the master tape.
In order to reduce the number of conversions and avoid any additional manipulation, we used two different digital conversions: One for CD audio and one for hi-res audio.
The signal of a reel-to-reel tape recorder (the same as used in the recording) was directly connected to an Apogee Rosetta AD. For CD audio, the conversion was 44.1 kHz and 16 bit (Red Book). HD (high-resolution) audio was converted at 88.2 kHz and 24 bit. Digital data were filed in wav format without any post processing.
To minimize the number of conversions, CD audio data were directly burned to PDO Green Tune or Gold/Silver CD with a Plextor Premium II writer using Audio Master Quality Recording mode. Thus, every CD can be considered a master CD. Every CD was individually created and tested.
The CD is checked and certified to have an Averaged Block Error Rate of less than 3 (while the industrial norm is around 200). A special code is added to enable the tracing of piracy. Finally, every CD is tested by ear.
CD audio and hi-res audio files were also converted to Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC), a file format for lossless audio data compression, in order to speed up the download.