InfoComm 2013 may be in Orlando, Florida but some interesting news doing the rounds comes from a genuine ‘first’ right here in Oz. Ross A’hern of The Chapel of Sound studio facility recently recorded a jazz album completely in DXD using his Pyramix system, a Horus interface and Smart AV Tango controller. DXD is essentially the PCM equivalent of DSD – the audio standard of Super Audio CD (SACD) — and clocks in at 24-bit, sampled at 352.8k. DSD isn’t too co-operative about real-time effects and edits, while DXD being a PCM signal is okay, but you need the Pyramix system to shove those kinds of signals around without blowing a virtual fuse. Ross’s rig is actually portable — the Chapel of Sound specialise in high-quality location recording — and tracking was done at Sydney’s Studio 301 for Ben Gurton and his producer Greg Simmons, then was later mixed back at The Chapel. The recording took a purist approach, with mics unconventionally bypassing the studio’s Neve 88R console and feeding the recording system directly with a monitor mix fed directly via a pair of analogue outputs. To preserve the captured resolution, the mix was done on the original system, with analogue feeds sent to a second Pyramix set at single sample rate, for access to small amounts of reverb from a TC6000. The choice of 44.1k for the low res system was based on the fact that one of the delivery mediums was to be CD and had the added benefit of enabling direct comparison between the two resolutions while mixing. Mix monitoring was via a Grace 906 controller and ATC SCM speakers.
Ross was refreshingly honest about the verdict as to whether there much of a difference and if it was all worthwhile, saying, “the differences aren’t immediately dramatically apparent, but there is a beautiful and effortless openness to the top end in DXD and this effect has a ripple-down effect through the whole frequency range.”
We’ll guess that means Ross thinks it was worth it, and since Ross has been pursuing recording excellence for 30 years, we’re certainly not going to argue.