LampizatOr Recording Project DSD recording ADC – analog to digital converter. This project aims at the highest humanly possible sound recording quality. Our primary target is to provide recording studios of the highest caliber with means to record in real time the sound from microphone feeds. Also, the studios can use analog recordings pre-recorded on tape to the final DSD format.
Of course, digital recordings made on DSD or PCM or any mix of those – can be also recorded to single DSD or PCM files.
Second use of this ADC would be archiving. All types of DAT tapes, reel to reel tapes, cassettes, vinyl etc can be archived and stored in convenient file formats .
The third potential target are audiophile homes, where many people want to record vinyl to DSD or PCM format. That allows them to use their favorite music in the car, on the run, on holidays, and share and swap with friends.
The key question is HOW MUCH of the precious analog sound quality are we going to lose by digitizing it? Of course, the normal answer is as little as possible.
What we aimed at Lampizator was to create a system that loses NOTHING AT ALL from analog quality but that’s not possible with off the shelf stock machines available today.
The very ADC process can be benign, but the condition is – to remove all opamps and transistors, all local and global feedback from the recording chain.
Our project was based on countless hundreds of projects that as Lampizator I made before on CD players and DACs. That is what made Lampizator famous.
I started from analysis of the market – available ADC chips and ready products. I identified the Texas Instruments (burr Brown) ADC chip named PCM 4402 as the best chip there is. I found out that it is available in a number of products and I selected TASCAM D-3000 as the most professional, inexpensive and versatile recorder readily available everywhere.
After analyzing its circuits I concluded that:
- A) It has tens and tens of Opamps scattered around the whole recording chain between input XLR and RCA’s and the Texas chip.
- B) It does the job nicely-meaning it is easy to operate, intuitive, and has all bells and whistles that I expected.
- C) I proceeded with bypassing one opamp after another and observing scope traces etc. After 2 weeks of frustrating trial and error – I had my first recording TOTALLY WITHOUT any silicon.
- D) After some fine-tuning and reworking – I created a tube circuit that completely replaced the original TASCAM circuit. So we use the main product – the DA-3000 as a “chip holder” with GUI for convenience (graphic user interface). The Lampi Tascam retained all original functionality and does the recording job without even touching the old circuit. The pristine analog feed comes in via a highest class WBT or Neutrik XLR socket with silver, gold plated contacts. It proceeds inside via silver wires with silver screens and teflon insulation. Becomes pre- amplified by LampizatOr tube circuit in the purest possible form – Single Ended Triode. It is made in Quad-Mono fashion – one amplifier per phase. Volume is controlled by precision stepped ladder discrete resistor attenuators with channel balance adjustment.
- E) Afterthetubeamplifiersthesinglewiresilvercabletakesthesoundtotherecording“heart”of the Tascam – the Texas chip. We also use signals for technical monitoring and level adjustment on the GUI.
- F) Our tube stage is simple,clean and well proven.Itmaybenotcompletelyperfectand transparent, however, it is infinitely cleaner than any opamp stage. Especially for one reason alone – lack of feedback.
We have four recording modes available:
Pcm red book 44,1/16 WAV
Pcm hi-rez 192/24 WAV
DSD 64x (single)
DSD 128x (double SACD)
We have provision to use internal clock, external clock, and internal clock for external synchro.
Besides fabulous recording capabilities – the machine can be a very interesting DAC with SPDIF , Toslink, AESEBU and DS3 inputs The Texas DAC chips (dual mono PCM1795) are also lampized so you can enjoy DAC and recording monitoring in the highest lampizator quality. The output stage is single ended triode and fully balanced quad mono.
IS IT WORTH THE EFFORT to use tubes for recording?
The proof is in the sound. The differences between stock TASCAM (which, as already mentioned, is the premium recording machine from professional maker) and the LampizatOr Tascam is small. Both machiner record everything. Every word. Every note. Bass is there, trebles, soundstage, etc. But the demanding listeners will appreciate that there is a difference that we normally attribute to high end systems. Space, the soundstage, the microdetails, the easy flow, liquidity, the cloud of music. Everything that I like as an audiophile is there. In the tube-recordings. I havent observer ANY DOWNSIDE WHATSOEVER. nothing is compromised versus the stock player. Only improvements have been noticed.
The proof is in the sound. To this end we made samples for evaluation. The system for recording consisted of:
Tangential arm turntable
Sumiko Blue Point Two cartridge
Fully tubed zero silicon BAT Phono (balanced) with aftermarket tubes Siltech cabling
TASCAM DA-3000 stock recorder
TASCAM DA-3000 LampizatOr version
SAN DISK EXTREME CF cards for memory
BooBoo Davis (blues from pre-DDD era) Holly Cole Temptation (my all time fav) Sonny Rollins Way Out West (but of course !)
4 recordings of each song cut down to 1 minute for file manageability was made:
- PCM24 WAV STOCK
- DSD128 STOCK
- PCM24 WAV LAMPI
- DSD128 LAMPI
I deliberately did not choose super audiophile impressive breathtaking recordings, because the conclusions would be of no use. I chose normal everyday songs as I like them. The difference should be apparent even if in absolute terms the quality may be so so.
We know that NO MATTER WHAT these recordings on vinyl could not be made better by resording them. We aim at fidelity, not sugarcoating.
DOWNLOAD LINKS (attention, the files are around 100mB each.)
Please confirm the download by emailing me about that fact and PLEASE provide your feedback – how did you find the sound differences?
(on our GSM based internet link, one file takes approx. 1 minute to download)