Originally Posted by kbeam418
Actually, an overly enthusiastic article that defies common sense, was amended by later science, and failed to produce salable products when people tried to implement its ideas. It represents an unreachable goal.
First off, a 120 dB dynamic range is unsafe for humans if ever implemented. In an ideal world, the threshold of hearing is around 0 dB SPL, while any amount of listening at 120 dB will either permanently damage or temporarily deafen your ears. In the real world, rooms with acoustic noise levels of 25 dB SPL are difficult or impossible to implement in ordinary residential circumstances, Most rooms in a house come closer to 35 to 45 dB SPL range. But lets momentarily accept 25 dB SPL. 120 dB dynamic range implies that the louder passages play at 145 dB SPL. SPLs on this order are harmful or fatal when unprotected humans are exposed to them without ear protection and
Secondly, there is a widely-recognized international standard for audio evaluation known as ITU recommendation BS 1116-1 which represents later science and art than those few earlier papers favor. It basically mandates 100 dB dynamic range which is of course far less demanding and more realistic than 120 dB.
Thirdly we had three formats for recorded music that were designed to meet or approach the 120 dB standard being HDCD, DVD-A and SACD. All three were invested in heavily by large audio firms, large number of players embodying their technology were sold, many no doubt at a loss to their manufacturers. Large numbers of recorded releases with their logos on them were put into the marketplace. None were successful in the mainstream, and all three are in various stages of disappearing.
Finally, there just aren't any commercial musical recordings that actually have 120 dB dynamic range. Their media may support it but quite a bit gets lost when people actually try to record music. The widest dynamic range musical recording I've been able to find in about 20 years of searching has less than 90 dB dynamic range. If you set up some microphones in a typical concert hall in accordance with the best accepted standards, bring in about 100 musicians and record something they play, you end up with a recording with something like 65-70 dB dynamic range.