Is High-Resolution Audio Irrelevant? - Page 13 - AVS Forum
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post #361 of 640 Old 05-13-2014, 07:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildcat445 View Post

This thread: TL;DR.

But all I'm seeing in the first page of the thread is numbers and theory. Hardly anything about actual human experience with the sound. In other words: what are we hearing? The flawed BAS test aside, it's all about theory and numbers. I know how digital works, and why we need high-resolution to come anywhere close to the sound of pure analog reproduction.

I had a lesson earlier this year in hi-res vs. CD. I know on my Pioneer DV-45A, CDs were grating and difficult to listen to, and hi-res did not sound much different. It turns out the Pioneer is a piece of crap sonically--how this got tagged with the "Elite" designation escapes me. Anyway, I now have an Oppo BDP-105 in my main audio system. The difference between low-res CD and high-res is easily noticeable now that I have quality playback. I feel the player brings out the best in CD, but it still shows how limited that format is. Since I can also play back digital files through it, I am able to compare a high-res version of a title to its low-res CD equivalent. In some instances it is subtle. With others, it is striking.

In one such case, I compared a synth-heavy track from an early 80s CD (back when A/D converters were somewhat crude in performance) to a 24/96 download, and the flaws stand out quite distinctly. The 24/96 sounds like a few synthesizer parts layered on top of each other, yet you can still hear them distinctly. The CD congealed these synthesizers into one compressed, distorted mess in the middle of the soundstage--nasty.

Despite the 105's graces, low-res digital still has that slight "buzzy" or "tizzy" quality to it. And on a subconscious level, I still find myself gritting my teeth when playing back CD-quality digital, vs. high-res (via files or SACD) or vinyl. I've done this for years without even knowing it.

All the theory and numbers mean nothing to me, as I said: I know how and why we need higher-resolution playback from a technical standpoint, and that's enough theory for me. What I hear is more important, and hi-res surpasses the outdated digital format of CDs.

As an aside, the disturbing trend in forums these days is to throw waveforms and DR (dynamic range) measurements at us. Yet again, that tells us little of what something actually sounds like.

USE YOUR EARS. My best advice for everyone.

Sighted evaluation and no level marching makes your testimonial worthless. Teeth grinding usually is a sign of the audiophile nervosa disorder ( http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=audiophilia%20nervosa ) seeded by reading to many audio rags.

If you have a 24/96 bit file you can down convert it to 16/44.1 using foobar or audition using dither. If you compare these you don't have the different mastering issues you have when you compare "a synth-heavy track from an early 80s CD (back when A/D converters were somewhat crude in performance) to a 24/96 download".

And to rule out differences in audio quality due to a poor analog filter implementation in the player/dac you should up-convert the 16/44.1 back to 24/96 before comparing.


Note that I'm all for 24/96 due to the fact that virtually al playback equipment is capable these days and we have delivery formats to deliver the hd resolution. It's a 'free' upgrade so why not?

Your pioneer was just a bad implementation of digital audio using a misguided attempt to 'restore' some of the 'missing information between samples' (audiophool myth sustained by marketing) with some legato link tech they developed.
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post #362 of 640 Old 05-13-2014, 07:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Derks View Post

Sighted evaluation and no level marching makes your testimonial worthless. Teeth grinding usually is a sign of the audiophile nervosa disorder ( http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=audiophilia%20nervosa ) seeded by reading to many audio rags.

.


eek.gif

Can't you make a case withput being so insulting and personal?

I though his narrative well worth a read.

What you got back home, little sister, to play your fuzzy warbles on? I bet you got little save pitiful, portable picnic players. Come with uncle and hear all proper! Hear angel trumpets and devil trombones. You are invited.
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post #363 of 640 Old 05-13-2014, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HockeyoAJB View Post

I think you are confusing the lack of dynamic range in actual musical recordings, due to the recording engineers compressing the dynamic range further than required, with the limitations of the CD format.  If the engineers actually used the full 16 bit dynamic range of a CD, you could actually exceed the dynamic range of most live musical performances.

That said, if your experiment is to replace the musicians with speakers that are also placed behind the curtain, it would indeed be very difficult to produce the exact same sound.  But, mostly, this is due to the difficulty of producing a recording of each instrument (without any of the other instruments), so that you can then play back the recording of each instrument from a speaker placed in the same location as that instrument, in order to produce the same acoustic interaction and directionality of the live performance.  A much simpler (though less precise) method of doing this would be to record the sound at your chosen listening position and then try to reproduce that using headphones.  If you haven't checked it out, I would recommend watching the Home Theater Geeks episode on Binaural recording.  In any case, the difficulties of reproducing the exact experience have almost nothing to do with the limitations of the CD as a recording format.  No amount of increasing the bit depth or sampling rate will make it any more or less possible to do what you are describing.

PS. Most musicians wear ear protection if they are going to be subjected to the high decibel levels you mention.

Ear protection against hearing loss is only a recent measure. Just like asbestos and other job related health issues these risks where neglected for a long time.
Even the current industrial spl levels set by law are still to high because commercial reasons prevail.

Years ago several musician lost their jobs from the local orchestra because the introduced mandatory hearing test showed left ear hearing damage(violinist) .
They could perfectly function with the other ear but this was just an excuse rfor the management to get rid of the older musicians in higher pay grades.
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post #364 of 640 Old 05-13-2014, 08:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eljr View Post

eek.gif

Can't you make a case with being so insulting and personal?

Why? Do you feel insulted?

The teeth grinding may have other causes and it's not good to self diagnose the digital playback as the cause because other stress or tension related causes may be the real problem.

Several hundred millions of people do not suffer from teeth grinding caused by listening to digitized music.
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post #365 of 640 Old 05-13-2014, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildcat445 View Post

all I'm seeing in the first page of the thread is numbers and theory. Hardly anything about actual human experience with the sound. In other words: what are we hearing? The flawed BAS test aside, it's all about theory and numbers.
Typically, when people want to shift the focus away from theory, it’s because they know the theory doesn’t support their argument. But let’s talk about what people actually hear. You dismiss the BAS study as being “flawed”, but don’t say why. It’s been defended quite successfully. Also, there have been no level matched, double blind listening tests using the identical masters that refute it. Why is that?
Quote:
I compared a synth-heavy track from an early 80s CD (back when A/D converters were somewhat crude in performance) to a 24/96 download, and the flaws stand out quite distinctly. The 24/96 sounds like a few synthesizer parts layered on top of each other, yet you can still hear them distinctly. The CD congealed these synthesizers into one compressed, distorted mess in the middle of the soundstage--nasty.
You say nothing about level matching or making the comparison blind, and you say nothing about knowing for certain that the masters were identical (these were things that Meyer and Moran did pay attention to). Therefore, your comparison is badly flawed and essentially meaningless.
Quote:
USE YOUR EARS. My best advice for everyone.
That's exactly what was done in the Meyer and Moran study.
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post #366 of 640 Old 05-13-2014, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eljr View Post

eek.gif

Can't you make a case withput being so insulting and personal?

I though his narrative well worth a read.

One sometimes reaps what one sows.
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post #367 of 640 Old 05-13-2014, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimshowalter View Post

Oxford good enough for you folks?

Percussionist, orchestra, > 115 dB.

http://annhyg.oxfordjournals.org/content/55/8/893.long

No ear bleeding.

We know at least two things to be true:

1) Orchestras produce sounds > 115 dB.
2) CDs can't cover that dynamic range.

115 dB? That is not a dynamic range but spl levels. So right off the bat you don't need 115 dB DR. Oh, where is that 115 db measured at? 3 ft? 20 ft? 50 ft?

Ear bleed? Should that be the limit? Rally???
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post #368 of 640 Old 05-13-2014, 11:44 AM
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So, musicians are exposed to SPL's of 115dB from their own instruments. These levels are not what the audience experiences, so 115dB is irrelevant to this discussion. The question is more properly framed as what is the DR of a symphony orchestra at the ideal listening position in a given concert hall? My own listening room measures about 35dB. Adding 96dB to that gives you 129dB. Keeping in mind that you really don't want to exceed 100dB very often or for very long, I can only use 65dB of DR. That leaves me 29dB headroom. My 330WPC will drive my 90dB/W speakers to 111dB. You won't stay in the room at that level. It's clear to me and my ears that 16/44.1 is more than adequate to reproduce any material without any audible degradation.
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post #369 of 640 Old 05-13-2014, 11:51 AM
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I will add something:
A few DJ mixes I did some time ago where captured in on two Delta 1010 sound cards. One running 44.1K and the other 96KHz. Not identical machines but off the exact same feed.
When I used to AB them in foobar it was pretty hard to tell at first massive differences. However as time went on I noticed I could always pick out the 96KHz mix with more depth and cuz it would hypnotize me (not really).

Years later as I did this in around early 2K or maybe even before that when the Delta 1010 first came out I am not so sure. I can now get that same effect on the CD version, if not the mp3. At the moment I do not have the original files as they are still locked in stuff that has not moved over from Canada to me here in Germany. I would be curious to test this again.
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post #370 of 640 Old 05-13-2014, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildcat445 View Post

... Hardly anything about actual human experience with the sound. In other words: what are we hearing? The flawed BAS test aside, it's all about theory and numbers. ....

Well, you reject the actual "human" experience in that study. Interesting. I suspect that it conflicts with your beliefs? Can you cite some better, more credible data to support your beliefs in this matter? Or, another peer reviewed study, not flawed, that contradicts the one you seem to reject as flawed ?
Your personal anecdotes are just that.
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post #371 of 640 Old 05-13-2014, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 807recordings View Post

.... I would be curious to test this again.
That would be interesting. I would add a blind, bias controlled, listening comparison and possibly checking how well they are level matched. Perhaps one was recorded at a different level even thought it was at the same feed point?
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post #372 of 640 Old 05-13-2014, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by CharlesJ View Post

That would be interesting. I would add a blind, bias controlled, listening comparison and possibly checking how well they are level matched. Perhaps one was recorded at a different level even thought it was at the same feed point?

Believe me as a Mastering Engineer I had the levels checked but I never did a null test so I do not claim that there was not some other difference possibly able to be explained from it actually being two different convertors.
That said I used to run dual feeds often off the mixes I did also for making tracks and it seemed to be the 24.96KHz mixes always came out better. Most my better tracks I released where off the Prism ADC DAC in those days. If I work in software I also find the plugins seemed to work better at 96KHz but I think that was more to do with poor software design.

When I get my 1200s here again and setup I will do these tests again, but till then I see no detrimental effects to going higher sample rate of 96KHz but not beyond that.
Reality is if there is a difference it is small if it even is true.

As for Tape I have worked in some of the best studios in the world with really nice Real to Real machines. We could A/B the tape to the ADC DAC chain, or live, and not tell the difference and this was at 44.1KHz back in the 1990s.
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post #373 of 640 Old 05-13-2014, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by 807recordings View Post

We could A/B the tape to the ADC DAC chain, or live, and not tell the difference and this was at 44.1KHz back in the 1990s.
That doesn't surprise me...
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post #374 of 640 Old 05-13-2014, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by RobertR View Post

That doesn't surprise me...

What is better is when many so called audiophiles go all nuts about the vinyl and don't realize it was cut from either a CD and often through a digital delay line. The old delays where usually 1970s models (digital) with maybe 18bit resolution. I cut my vinyl either from 96KHz or the tape itself with no delay line.

What was analog was often digital or hybrid. Especially in the 80s forward
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post #375 of 640 Old 05-13-2014, 03:06 PM
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I vote hi- res just in case the human race evolves to hear more dynamic range!

Blazar!
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post #376 of 640 Old 05-13-2014, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 807recordings View Post

What is better is when many so called audiophiles go all nuts about the vinyl and don't realize it was cut from either a CD and often through a digital delay line. The old delays where usually 1970s models (digital) with maybe 18bit resolution. I cut my vinyl either from 96KHz or the tape itself with no delay line.

What was analog was often digital or hybrid. Especially in the 80s forward
That's quite ironic. Another irony is the fact that many of the "hires" recordings the high end magazines were gushing over were upsampled from 16/44 sources, so they were inadvertently singing the praises of the "inferior" format.
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post #377 of 640 Old 05-13-2014, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by RobertR View Post

That's quite ironic. Another irony is the fact that many of the "hires" recordings the high end magazines were gushing over were upsampled from 16/44 sources, so they were inadvertently singing the praises of the "inferior" format.

yes and there was many a poor up sampling also. Upsampling can also have its own artifacts, but I think with most software now it's pretty transparent.
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post #378 of 640 Old 05-13-2014, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by blazar View Post

I vote hi- res just in case the human race evolves to hear more dynamic range!

that's a pretty good hedging wink.gif That way, future gens will have something great to listen to; how thoughtful of you. Now, I sure hope we have a planet left for them to live on. wink.gifbiggrin.gif
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post #379 of 640 Old 05-13-2014, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by 807recordings View Post

Believe me as a Mastering Engineer ....
Didn't know this but always a good thing to ask, just in case...smile.gif
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post #380 of 640 Old 05-13-2014, 08:33 PM
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Clearly there are some heartfelt opinions on this subject. I will add mine - as unwelcome as it may be.

Let's accept - for the sake of argument alone - that under ideal circumstances (I will come back to that) we can hear the difference between high-resolution (24-bit and/or high-sample rate) audio and CD-quality audio. Fine. We may agree or disagree with this. That is not the point. Let's PRETEND we agree...

What are the ideal circumstances to which this must be subjected?
1) The original recording must be at sufficient resolution and dynamic range that it exercises the benefits of the higher resolution format
2) The processing, mastering AND mixing of the the final product must not substantially reduce the original fidelity of the recording
3) The recording must be played back on equipment (especially speakers and headphones) capable of accurate reproduction at that level of fidelity
4) The SPACE in which the playback occurs must be sound isolated enough (headphones count) to permit the most quiet parts of the recording to be heard CLEARLY
5) If not headphone-based, then that same space must be treated so as not to interfere with the fidelity of playback by establishing resonances/standing waves/reflection aliasing, etc.
6) The ears at the tail end of this process must possess a small enough level of age or accident-induced hearing damage that they can hear the benefits of all this.
7) The person doing the listening must ACTUALLY BE LISTENING and paying attention to what he/she hears

Remember, the more precise a system is, the more sensitive it tends to be to minor flaws. I find it hard to believe that, except in tightly-controlled lab environments, there is ANY real-world setting where this entire CHAIN of fidelity will remain intact for anything as precise as even a 48/24 resolution. Frankly, I doubt that many people have even experience true CD-quality sound, since so many of those CDs are poorly-mastered, or mastered from redigitized tape, or played back in an un-optimized environment...

So, no, I think PRACTICAL (not theoretical) realities pretty much prevent the VAST majority of listeners (who are already a diminishingly-small subset of the population anyway) from appreciating the fidelity of high res audio. So beyond "I have golden ears so I can hear it" boasting, it has little relevance - IMO

YMMV, of course.

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post #381 of 640 Old 05-13-2014, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

One sometimes reaps what one sows.


Indeed you do.

What you got back home, little sister, to play your fuzzy warbles on? I bet you got little save pitiful, portable picnic players. Come with uncle and hear all proper! Hear angel trumpets and devil trombones. You are invited.
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post #382 of 640 Old 05-13-2014, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildcat445 View Post

Despite the 105's graces, low-res digital still has that slight "buzzy" or "tizzy" quality to it. And on a subconscious level, I still find myself gritting my teeth when playing back CD-quality digital, vs. high-res (via files or SACD) or vinyl. I've done this for years without even knowing it.

All the theory and numbers mean nothing to me, as I said: I know how and why we need higher-resolution playback from a technical standpoint, and that's enough theory for me. What I hear is more important, and hi-res surpasses the outdated digital format of CDs.

As an aside, the disturbing trend in forums these days is to throw waveforms and DR (dynamic range) measurements at us. Yet again, that tells us little of what something actually sounds like.

USE YOUR EARS. My best advice for everyone.

You do seem certain of your ability to detect a difference between high-res and lo-res digital audio. I am extremely interested to see if you could detect the difference in these samples posted by @fmaxwell: http://184.180.157.210/MozartSamples.zip. One is the original 24/96 and the other is the same file down-converted to 16/44 and then back up to 24/96. Both are only 26 seconds long so and are only a few megabytes, so it should be pretty trivial to just listen and see if you can tell the difference.

I will say that I cannot hear any difference. Perhaps my ears are not as good as yours or perhaps my equipment isn't as accurate.

If you are not willing to listen to those two samples, then could you post a sample of a representative high-res audio file that you consider to be an excellent example? You say to USE [MY] EARS -- okay, send something my way that would allow me to do that.
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post #383 of 640 Old 05-14-2014, 12:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildcat445 View Post

The flawed BAS test aside, it's all about theory and numbers.

Please identify how the study was "flawed" or post a public apology to the people who worked so hard to carry it out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildcat445 View Post

All the theory and numbers mean nothing to me

That's not the type of thing I would be telling everyone.
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post #384 of 640 Old 05-14-2014, 04:03 AM
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move on please

Please take the high road in every post
Please do not quote or respond to problematic posts: report them to mods to handle
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post #385 of 640 Old 05-14-2014, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by jimshowalter View Post

CDs cannot cover the full dynamic range of human hearing...

Why would you want audio to go over 126-136db SPL? Add 96db to 40db and you get 136db. That's enough SPL to damage your hearing in mere seconds already. The CD standard, by every realistic measure of science EXCEEDS the capacity of human hearing. More dynamic range than is needed (we only need up to 80db of dynamic range to have up to 120db of usable SPL, which is the Threshold of PAIN). Next, there are no recordings that even USE that much dynamic range, nor are there many playback systems CAPABLE of 120db SPL peak output from the speakers even if you did have recorded material to utilize it. There aren't even movie sound tracks utilizing that much dynamic range (with perhaps the exception of peak bass output for those who tune their sub-stage to 120db+SPL, but the recordings themselves aren't produced for that kind of output, users are forcing it by the way they setup their systems).

Bass is the ONLY part of the frequency spectrum where people can play sound at or above 120db and tolerate it with any level of comfort. Has anyone tried to play a 300Hz tone at 108db SPL and measure it with a sound meter? 108db at 300Hz is PAINFUL to hear and left my ears ringing for several minutes but 30Hz-50Hz can thunder at 125db and it's only marginally uncomfortable, if a bit startling.

I have been up one side of this debate and down the other and have done endless personal experiments on this subject. I am quite satisfied that 16-bit/44.1KHz is sufficient for any material you would want for playback. Testing shows it. The statement is supported by research and experiments. I'm not sure what more there is to debate. Unless you are saying that we "need" SPL output above 126db-136db range. And if you think we need that extra range, I would welcome you to attempt to justify that statement with real-world examples where people or professionals would actually use that dynamic range.
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post #386 of 640 Old 05-14-2014, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Timothy91 View Post

I would welcome you to attempt to justify that statement with real-world examples where people or professionals would actually use that dynamic range.
So far, he hasn't been able to cite a single "hires" recording with a dynamic range higher than 96 dB, meaning that CD is more than adequate to handle any real world music recordings.
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post #387 of 640 Old 05-14-2014, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by HockeyoAJB View Post

I think you are confusing the lack of dynamic range in actual musical recordings, due to the recording engineers compressing the dynamic range further than required, with the limitations of the CD format.  If the engineers actually used the full 16 bit dynamic range of a CD, you could actually exceed the dynamic range of most live musical performances.

That said, if your experiment is to replace the musicians with speakers that are also placed behind the curtain, it would indeed be very difficult to produce the exact same sound.  But, mostly, this is due to the difficulty of producing a recording of each instrument (without any of the other instruments), so that you can then play back the recording of each instrument from a speaker placed in the same location as that instrument, in order to produce the same acoustic interaction and directionality of the live performance.  A much simpler (though less precise) method of doing this would be to record the sound at your chosen listening position and then try to reproduce that using headphones.  If you haven't checked it out, I would recommend watching the Home Theater Geeks episode on Binaural recording.  In any case, the difficulties of reproducing the exact experience have almost nothing to do with the limitations of the CD as a recording format.  No amount of increasing the bit depth or sampling rate will make it any more or less possible to do what you are describing.

PS. Most musicians wear ear protection if they are going to be subjected to the high decibel levels you mention.

Your take is correct. I've thought about this to its logical conclusion and found that binaural recordings are the 'closest thing' to reproducing a live sonic experience played back on electronics. Headphones are required and the recording process is a minimal one with merely two microphones and a dummyhead to put the microphones into.

The 16-bit/44.1KHz is EASILY enough resolution to represent the recorded sound. In this recording method, the largest limitation is the microphone technology/design and the placement of that microphone in relation to the ears of the dummyhead and how accurate/life-like the shape of the ears on the dummyhead are constructed.

The REAL limiting technology is the microphone itself, because it is duplicating the natural process of 'hearing' before the sound is stored. I've considered the notion of designing a microphone more like a human ear, but have a hard time finding anyone who has tried it.

An interesting read on the subject of why microphones don't pick up sound quite like our ears do:
http://www.moultonlabs.com/more/microphone_vs_the_ear/P5/

More great reads on the human ear:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130110075408.htm
http://www.sonicstate.com/news/2012/01/12/a-mic-that-mimics-human-hearing/
http://hearinghealthmatters.org/hearingnewswatch/2013/new-directional-microphone-design-is-inspired-by-the-ears-of-a-fly/

I would like to see engineers attempt to design microphones to more closely resemble the way human ears pick up sound. I would have to think engineers have tried "somewhere" over the years to accomplish this, but so far my searches turn up information about hearing aids rather than studio microphone designs.
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post #388 of 640 Old 05-14-2014, 01:51 PM
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post #389 of 640 Old 05-14-2014, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Timothy91 View Post

....

The REAL limiting technology is the microphone itself, because it is duplicating the natural process of 'hearing' before the sound is stored. I've considered the notion of designing a microphone more like a human ear, but have a hard time finding anyone who has tried it.

An interesting read on the subject of why microphones don't pick up sound quite like our ears do:
http://www.moultonlabs.com/more/microphone_vs_the_ear/P5/

Microphones (and loudspeakers) should be as linear as possible.

Why stick an additional ear on top of the one you already have?
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post #390 of 640 Old 05-14-2014, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Derks View Post

Microphones (and loudspeakers) should be as linear as possible.

Why stick an additional ear on top of the one you already have?

This is assuming that microphones that exist are picking up sound in more "physically" linear a fashion than our ears are. For earbuds and microphones to be truly realistic when recording/playing-back binaural sound, it will need to be as natural as possible. It's rather difficult to prove linearity. Certainly some microphones sound more 'lifelike' than others. What's the harm in attempting to model the human ear for recording sound? It's worth the experiment I think.
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