Is High-Resolution Audio Irrelevant? - Page 17 - AVS Forum
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post #481 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by RayDunzl View Post

I think the people here that are the closest to the science may be the farthest from the art.



"



It does not take a rocket scientist to read the posts here and come away with this conclusion. wink.gif

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post #482 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post

Unless you take a poll asking for the artistic background of those who are science-minded, you're merely guessing. I'm as science-minded as they get, and I've been a musician and recording engineer for my entire adult life. I've played lead guitar in bands and on radio commercials, and I've played the cello in several orchestras. I've written pop tunes and composed orchestra scores.

I know for certain that some others here who are also science-based play musical instruments, possibly at a high level. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it's the opposite - that those who distrust the "science" aspect of audio are not musicians or involved otherwise in "audible" arts.
It's the same old "people with a scientific bent are not/can't be 'real' music lovers" slander.
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post #483 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by CharlesJ View Post

You mean that that recording session had greater than 96 dB of actual music dynamic range? Rally?
No, but dynamic range isn't the issue; the issue is the peak. When engineers record digitally, they adjust levels so the input comes as close to the red line as it can without going over. For the most part, digital clipping is harsh and unlike older analog gear, it pretty much never sounds good. They could be recording a whisper of 10 dB, but they're still trying to get as strong of a signal as they can, so they'll pump it either by turning the inputs up and/or compressing the vocals(these days it's almost always more of the latter and less of the former).

For recording, mixing and mastering, the name of the game is toeing that red line. So if a track is mastered in 24-bit, the loudest parts of the track are exceeding 96dB, peaking out at the limit of the equipment. I think the average real-world headroom of today's 24-Bit gear is around 122dB. The process may be changing a bit, but as recently as the last time I converted mastered 24-bit audio tracks to redbook audio, the resultant cd would have clipping at the peaks, and it was harsh.

I heard recently(on a recent HT Geeks podcast, I think) that a lot of today's pop engineers(especially on rap/R&B releases) do this on purpose. The mastering equipment is good enough that they can actually make the master clip by 2-3dB over the limit, which is just enough to boost the apparent loudness of the cd without the presses spitting the disc out as an error. The filters are apparently good enough to clip without it sounding like crap to the average listener.

Anyway, converting a file that peaks at 122dB to one that peaks at 90dB creates challenges and usually involves either lossy dithering or other means. I believe when jsalsburg originally said compression, he was talking about data compression, but either case the signal ends up undergoing negative digital processing to fit onto a cd.

I also think what jsalsburg said about playing it back on a big system is key. The closer an audio system can come to cleanly reproducing the dynamics made possible by 24-bit files, the more likely a person is to being able to hear the difference.
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post #484 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by RobertR View Post

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Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post

Unless you take a poll asking for the artistic background of those who are science-minded, you're merely guessing. I'm as science-minded as they get, and I've been a musician and recording engineer for my entire adult life. I've played lead guitar in bands and on radio commercials, and I've played the cello in several orchestras. I've written pop tunes and composed orchestra scores.

I know for certain that some others here who are also science-based play musical instruments, possibly at a high level. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it's the opposite - that those who distrust the "science" aspect of audio are not musicians or involved otherwise in "audible" arts.
It's the same old "people with a scientific bent are not/can't be 'real' music lovers" slander.

Seems to me that Ray's post is about those who are in love with the technical side of audio vs. those who are in love with the content. Surely when you are obsessed with the technical side of audio (tech-geek) there is a real chance that you are not really a content lover because the technical side is your main focus.
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post #485 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by CharlesJ View Post

I guess your brain has never mislead you with your perceptions? wink.gif
Of course it has, same as everyone else ever. My issue was with a complete stranger telling me with such utter confidence that he knew what I hear better than I do. I can't speak for you, but at the end of the day, I use my AV system for MY enjoyment, and the primary way I have for telling ME how MY own system sounds to ME is my own ears. Even if the articles WiWavelength posted are accurately depicting correctly executed tests that show real listener bias, it does not absolutely follow that I am displaying that same listener bias. And more importantly, even if it did, it has no relation to MY enjoyment of MY system. The only tools I will ever have to inform me about how my system sounds to me are my ears, my eyes, and my brain.
Thank you to FMW who corrected me by pointing out that Dolby Digital is a lossy, compressed format. That likely explains the majority of the difference I heard.
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post #486 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Utopianemo View Post

No, but dynamic range isn't the issue; the issue is the peak. When engineers record digitally, they adjust levels so the input comes as close to the red line as it can without going over. For the most part, digital clipping is harsh and unlike older analog gear, it pretty much never sounds good. They could be recording a whisper of 10 dB, but they're still trying to get as strong of a signal as they can, so they'll pump it either by turning the inputs up and/or compressing the vocals(these days it's almost always more of the latter and less of the former).
Peak levels ARE a dynamic range issue. If a “whisper” of 10 DB is being recorded, that would mean that the LOUDEST peak would have to be 96dB louder (120 dB with proper dithering) to be a problem for CD. Name ANY recording that has such a dynamic range.
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For recording, mixing and mastering, the name of the game is toeing that red line. So if a track is mastered in 24-bit, the loudest parts of the track are exceeding 96dB, peaking out at the limit of the equipment. I think the average real-world headroom of today's 24-Bit gear is around 122dB.
Saying that the loudest parts are 96 dB or 122 dB doesn’t tell what the softest parts are. The softest parts obviously have to be above 0 dB (more likely above 30 dB), so 96-30 = 66, or 122-30 =92, so that presents no problem for CD.
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post #487 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by 8mile13 View Post

Seems to me that Ray's post is about those who are in love with the technical side of audio vs. those who are in love with the content. Surely when you are obsessed with the technical side of audio (tech-geek) there is a real chance that you are not really a content lover because the technical side is your main focus.
You seem to be implying that anyone interested in the technical aspects of audio can't be a music lover. Where do you get such an idea?
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post #488 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Utopianemo View Post

I also think what jsalsburg said about playing it back on a big system is key. The closer an audio system can come to cleanly reproducing the dynamics made possible by 24-bit files, the more likely a person is to being able to hear the difference.
I have a big system, capable of high SPL without much distortion. However, even on a good day the background noise is about 30dB and for almost everyone, >120dB is uncomfortable so you have a potential dynamic range of 90dB. For people with smaller systems it is less. So how does having 24 bits, with a potential DR of 144dB make any difference?

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Originally Posted by Utopianemo View Post

My issue was with a complete stranger telling me with such utter confidence that he knew what I hear better than I do
It's no different than if you had said you stock Hyundai could do 0-60mph in 3 seconds (unless you pushed it out of a plane) or if you flapped your arms you can fly.
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post #489 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by 8mile13 View Post
 
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Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post

Unless you take a poll asking for the artistic background of those who are science-minded, you're merely guessing. I'm as science-minded as they get, and I've been a musician and recording engineer for my entire adult life. I've played lead guitar in bands and on radio commercials, and I've played the cello in several orchestras. I've written pop tunes and composed orchestra scores.

I know for certain that some others here who are also science-based play musical instruments, possibly at a high level. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it's the opposite - that those who distrust the "science" aspect of audio are not musicians or involved otherwise in "audible" arts.
It's the same old "people with a scientific bent are not/can't be 'real' music lovers" slander.

Seems to me that Ray's post is about those who are in love with the technical side of audio vs. those who are in love with the content. Surely when you are obsessed with the technical side of audio (tech-geek) there is a real chance that you are not really a content lover because the technical side is your main focus.

 

I don't see any reason to make an assumption that such a correlation exists.


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post #490 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by RobertR View Post

Peak levels ARE a dynamic range issue. If a “whisper” of 10 DB is being recorded, that would mean that the LOUDEST peak would have to be 96dB louder (120 dB with proper dithering) to be a problem for CD. Name ANY recording that has such a dynamic range.
Saying that the loudest parts are 96 dB or 122 dB doesn’t tell what the softest parts are. The softest parts obviously have to be above 0 dB (more likely above 30 dB), so 96-30 = 66, or 122-30 =92, so that presents no problem for CD.
It's only 120dB apparent loudness.The reason I'm specifically not talking about dynamic range is because it's adjacent to my point. If the 1's and 0's of a 24-bit recording indicate to the software that the peak is 120dB, and you try to convert those 1's and 0's to a 16-bit recording, it's either going to cause an error, or it's going to create a track that has massive distortion because it's 30dB hot. Digital manipulation has to occur to "scale" the volume to an appropriate level, and it usually introduces artifacts. Again, clipping is what I'm referring to, NOT the difference between quietest and loudest.

Regarding your take on my "whisper" analogy, you completely missed the point. The whisper has nothing to do with dynamic range because as I said, it's getting boosted by the engineer via audio compression and elevated levels to get put into the mix at just as hot as he can get it. It enters the mix just as loud as everything else, which the engineer then scales to the appropriate volume for the piece.
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post #491 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by 8mile13 View Post

Seems to me that Ray's post is about those who are in love with the technical side of audio vs. those who are in love with the content. Surely when you are obsessed with the technical side of audio (tech-geek) there is a real chance that you are not really a content lover because the technical side is your main focus.

Clearly it's a different hobby.

Most of the science and pseudoscience guys here clearly are more interested in the sounds of a crashing car on their system rather than a cello in a musical program.

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 #492 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by eljr View Post

Clearly it's a different hobby.

Most of the science and pseudoscience guys here clearly are more interested in the sounds of a crashing car on their system rather than a cello in a musical program.
What posts inform you of this "clear" inference?
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post #493 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Utopianemo View Post

It's only 120dB apparent loudness.The reason I'm specifically not talking about dynamic range is because it's adjacent to my point. If the 1's and 0's of a 24-bit recording indicate to the software that the peak is 120dB, and you try to convert those 1's and 0's to a 16-bit recording, it's either going to cause an error, or it's going to create a track that has massive distortion because it's 30dB hot. Digital manipulation has to occur to "scale" the volume to an appropriate level, and it usually introduces artifacts. Again, clipping is what I'm referring to, NOT the difference between quietest and loudest.
The recording doesn't tell you the loudness is at 120 dB or any other loudness level. All it tells you is the relative level of the sounds. The loudness is determined by what level you play it back at. If, say, the peak level of the 24 bit recording is 3 dB below digital full scale (which could be played back at 90 dB or 80 dB or any other level), then all you have to do is ensure that the loudest part of the 16 bits doesn't go above that. The only "error" would be if the softest sound was more than 93 (actually, 117) dB below that. Name such a recording.
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post #494 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by RobertR View Post

What posts inform you of this "clear" inference?

It's what we call deductive reasoning, common sense as it were.

I have 4 hours free Saturday for my hobby, what am I going to do?

Am I gonna spend that time setting up a double blind study, making sure several systems are level matched (insure they sound the same) and sit around saying, "yeah, everything sounds the same" or listen to 6 or 7 musical recording?

There is nothing wrong with spending the day trying to make various equipment sound the same but it's not what I would consider music appreciation either.

Now I admit this is my opinion only but I feel confident any neutral party that came here would leave with the same opinion.

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 #495 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 11:57 AM
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I don't see any reason to make an assumption that such a correlation exists.

I mostly agree with you Mark, except that there are a lot of people I've encountered on the net and in real life who spend much more time concerned with getting their system to sound "just so", listening to the quality of the delivery almost to the exclusion of the message or emotional content of what is being conveyed. Hell, I've done as much myself at times. But the two certainly aren't mutually exclusive as 8mile13 seems to suggest.

A curious thing I've always kept in mind, in spite of my love for the geeky, technology-centric nature of HT/Hi-Fi: No matter the quality of my system, a large percentage of my most memorable, visceral movie-watching or music-listening has been on a VCR or low-res Netflix and TV without external speakers, or on a walkman and cheap headphones, or a car stereo with 50dB of road noise obliterating any nuance from the sound. I freely admit the brain tends to fill in the gaps in sights and sounds, as long as the playback is sufficient to convey the essence of the content, and the content is good. I think this is the same reason people are often more able to relate to less visually realistic comic characters than photo-realistic ones; their brains insert more of themselves where there is more room. This is not to say that I don't want better sound, or that I think it's not important. It's just a reminder that helps me keep from missing the forest for the trees.
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post #496 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by eljr View Post

It's what we call deductive reasoning, common sense as it were.

I have 4 hours free Saturday for my hobby, what am I going to do?
Where are the posts telling you people spend all their Saturdays (or even a large fraction of them) setting up DBTs?
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I admit this is my opinion
IOW, you have zero actual posts to back it up.

BTW, I could just as easily express the "opinion" that subjectivists spend all THEIR Saturdays "auditioning" speaker cables, ICs, amps, CD players, etc. to see which has the "widest soundstage" or "greatest focus" (IOW, hardly paying attention to the music), and/or trying out an ENDLESS number of tweaks, because, after all, they HAVE to try them out with "their own ears".
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post #497 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by RobertR View Post

The recording doesn't tell you the loudness is at 120 dB or any other loudness level. All it tells you is the relative level of the sounds. The loudness is determined by what level you play it back at. If, say, the peak level of the 24 bit recording is 3 dB below digital full scale (which could be played back at 90 dB or 80 dB or any other level), then all you have to do is ensure that the loudest part of the 16 bits doesn't go above that. The only "error" would be if the softest sound was more than 93 (actually, 117) dB below that. Name such a recording.

I agree with you about dynamic range but that's not what I mean when I say apparent loudness. See Link.

I don't know recordings that do what you're talking about, but again, I'm not talking about dynamic range. I'm talking about peak levels.

From the above link:
With the advent of the Compact Disc (CD), music is encoded to a digital format with a clearly defined maximum peak amplitude. Once the maximum amplitude of a CD is reached, loudness can be increased still further through signal processing techniques such as dynamic range compression and equalization. Engineers can apply an increasingly high ratio of compression to a recording until it more frequently peaks at the maximum amplitude. In extreme cases, clipping and other audible distortion is introduced to increase loudness further. Modern recordings that use extreme dynamic range compression and other measures to increase loudness therefore can sacrifice sound quality to loudness. The competitive escalation of loudness has led music fans and members of the musical press to refer to the affected albums as "victims of the loudness war".
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post #498 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by 8mile13 View Post

Seems to me that Ray's post is about those who are in love with the technical side of audio vs. those who are in love with the content.
I think that this may not be correct. I would think it is "those who think they can hear the impossible?"


Quote:
Surely when you are obsessed with the technical side of audio (tech-geek) there is a real chance that you are not really a content lover because the technical side is your main focus.
Or, surely not the case and is possible. wink.gif
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post #499 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by RobertR View Post

Where are the posts telling you people spend all their Saturdays (or even a large fraction of them) setting up DBTs?
IOW, you have zero actual posts to back it up.

Just do a search you'll find them Don't be so lazy.
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BTW, I could just as easily express the "opinion" that subjectivists spend all THEIR Saturdays "auditioning" speaker cables, ICs, amps, CD players, etc. to see which has the "widest soundstage" or "greatest focus" (IOW, hardly paying attention to the music), and/or trying out an ENDLESS number of tweaks, because, after all, they HAVE to try them out with "their own ears".


It would be pretty much meaningless as most self labeled objectivists here are anything but and the term subjectist is simply used here as a derogatory term to insult those that prefer better audio equipment.

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 #500 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Utopianemo View Post

I agree with you about dynamic range but that's not what I mean when I say apparent loudness. See Link.

I don't know recordings that do what you're talking about, but again, I'm not talking about dynamic range. I'm talking about peak levels.

From the above link:
With the advent of the Compact Disc (CD), music is encoded to a digital format with a clearly defined maximum peak amplitude. Once the maximum amplitude of a CD is reached, loudness can be increased still further through signal processing techniques such as dynamic range compression and equalization. Engineers can apply an increasingly high ratio of compression to a recording until it more frequently peaks at the maximum amplitude. In extreme cases, clipping and other audible distortion is introduced to increase loudness further. Modern recordings that use extreme dynamic range compression and other measures to increase loudness therefore can sacrifice sound quality to loudness. The competitive escalation of loudness has led music fans and members of the musical press to refer to the affected albums as "victims of the loudness war".
You talk about the loudness wars as if they expose a "weakness" of 16 bit audio. They do no such thing. People can just as easily clip or compress the hell out of a recording with 24 bits as they can with 16 bits. If anything, all that compression makes things EASIER to handle with 16 bits.
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Originally Posted by Utopianemo View Post

... My issue was with a complete stranger telling me with such utter confidence that he knew what I hear better than I do. ...
Or, it may be just a suggestion of reasons why you think you hear what you said?
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post #502 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by eljr View Post

Clearly it's a different hobby.

Most of the science and pseudoscience guys here clearly are more interested in the sounds of a crashing car on their system rather than a cello in a musical program.

Clearly? Are you psychic by chance? wink.gif
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post #503 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by eljr View Post

Just do a search you'll find them Don't be so lazy.
No, that's YOUR responsibility, since YOU made the claim. But it's obvious you can't back it up.
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It would be pretty much meaningless as most self labeled objectivists here are anything but and the term subjectist is simply used here as a derogatory term to insult those that prefer better audio equipment.
As meaningless as your obvious pejorative use of the terms "science guys" and "objectivists".
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post #504 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by CharlesJ View Post

Or, it may be just a suggestion of reasons why you think you hear what you said?

Had he worded it as such, I certainly would have taken it as such.

"Trust me, the "difference" you hear between lossless and lossy audio on the same BD is attributable to mix changes, decoded level disparity, or placebo effect."

.....Maybe he is just really confident in stuff other people write about tests other people do, but to me it sounded pompous and presumptuous, and I responded as such.
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post #505 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Utopianemo View Post

Had he worded it as such, I certainly would have taken it as such.

"Trust me, the "difference" you hear between lossless and lossy audio on the same BD is attributable to mix changes, decoded level disparity, or placebo effect."

.....Maybe he is just really confident in stuff other people write about tests other people do, but to me it sounded pompous and presumptuous, and I responded as such.

Well, maybe he went a bit too far with "trust me" but that latter part is most likely correct. You cannot assume that the lossless mix was used to create the lossy track without further manipulation.
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post #506 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by CharlesJ View Post

Well, maybe he went a bit too far with "trust me" but that latter part is most likely correct. You cannot assume that the lossless mix was used to create the lossy track without further manipulation.

The "[t]rust me" was maybe a bit too much. But it was an ironic poke at what passes for solid evidence among certain people. "Trust me, I know what I am hearing. That I do not control for other variables does not matter to me."

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post #507 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by WiWavelength View Post

The "[t]rust me" was maybe a bit too much. But it was an ironic poke at what passes for solid evidence among certain people. "Trust me, I know what I am hearing. That I do not control for other variables does not matter to me."

AJ
Yes. biggrin.gif It was ironic poke. wink.gif
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post #508 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 08:01 PM
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This thread has been very educational for me. Take away is that the standard 16 bit red book CD can do 96dB, while the higher end 24 bit can do 144dB.

I went to a few of my favorite modern day lossless recordings on CD to see what the dynamic range is. To my surprise, the vast majority have peak around 0dB and the rms value in the -7db to -8dB range. I used the dynamic range meter in Foobar 2000 to determine the peak and rms values of each song and the entire album. I don't have any vinyl records and the means to check their dynamic range, but would be interested to know if it's the same, lower or better than the CD version.

Even if you use the highest rms value (8dB), from peak to through on the sine wave is less than 23dB. That's significantly less than capacity of the standard red book CD.

Most modern music is so highly compressed due to the loudness wars that I see little point in the merits of high resolution audio when recording studios put out such low dynamic range tunes. Unless this gets cleaned up somehow (there's a bit of hope with replay gain and Apple's Sound Check to normalize playback) I think we're arguing at the wrong point along the audio chain.

When there's garbage going in, doesn't it imply there's going to be garbage coming out?

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post #509 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 08:42 PM
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This thread has been very educational for me. Take away is that the standard 16 bit red book CD can do 96dB, while the higher end 24 bit can do 144dB.

I went to a few of my favorite modern day lossless recordings on CD to see what the dynamic range is. To my surprise, the vast majority have peak around 0dB and the rms value in the -7db to -8dB range. I used the dynamic range meter in Foobar 2000 to determine the peak and rms values of each song and the entire album. I don't have any vinyl records and the means to check their dynamic range, but would be interested to know if it's the same, lower or better than the CD version.

Even if you use the highest rms value (8dB), from peak to through on the sine wave is less than 23dB. That's significantly less than capacity of the standard red book CD.

Most modern music is so highly compressed due to the loudness wars that I see little point in the merits of high resolution audio when recording studios put out such low dynamic range tunes. Unless this gets cleaned up somehow (there's a bit of hope with replay gain and Apple's Sound Check to normalize playback) I think we're arguing at the wrong point along the audio chain.

When there's garbage going in, doesn't it imply there's going to be garbage coming out?
All true. Even classical recordings with very wide dynamic range are very unlikely to go over the 96 dB figure. I've made a number of posts challenging people to come up with ANY musical recording with a dynamic range exceeding 96 dB, and no one's been able to come up with one.
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post #510 of 640 Old 06-04-2014, 10:00 PM
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^ RobertR,

I dug into the classical collection (including some from 2L records) and found one song that's got a large dynamic range from artist Jon Schmidt (album Hymns without words, track 11 - Behold the Wounds in Jesus' Hands). The peak is -0.89dB and the rms value is -26.66dB. The delta is 25.77dB.

The mathematical relationship between peak and rms value is given by peak = sq. root(2) * rms

The sinewave is shown below has the relationships between peak, rms, and the peak to peak (loudest part of the music to the softest):


The top half of the sinewave is thus 25.77*1.4142 = 36.44dB. From the loudest part of the music to the quietest is double this or peak to peak value. Thus the dynamic range is 36.44*2 = 72.89dB. I reckon this is more than enough to fit on a CD.

Question for the group is that assuming the source (master file recordings) are highly compressed and that means garbage in, by going to high resolution route, are you still getting garbage out? Will concede that you'll be hearing detailed garbage.

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