High-Resolution Audio Listening Event at CE Week 2014 - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 257 Old 07-04-2014, 03:05 PM
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I couldn't agree more. Giant swaths of excellent music never even appear on the radar at events like these. I'd love to hear some Underachievers, Com Truise, Dirt Nasty, Orb, Coil, Autechre, Nas, BassNectar, Sly & Robbie, DJ Shadow, Skinny Puppy, Lil' Wayne, Riff Raff, Beanie Sigel, Dr. Dre, B.A.R.S. Murre, Bjork, Love and Rockets, Mad Professor, and etc. while sitting in a fine studio.
That's why I brought my own CD to the recent Newport Beach hifi show. I wanted to hear music I'm familiar with.
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post #32 of 257 Old 07-04-2014, 03:26 PM
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I couldn't agree more. Giant swaths of excellent music never even appear on the radar at events like these. I'd love to hear some Underachievers, Com Truise, Dirt Nasty, Orb, Coil, Autechre, Nas, BassNectar, Sly & Robbie, DJ Shadow, Skinny Puppy, Lil' Wayne, Riff Raff, Beanie Sigel, Dr. Dre, B.A.R.S. Murre, Bjork, Love and Rockets, Mad Professor, and etc. while sitting in a fine studio.
I hate to be the news breaker but that's not music, that's dynamic compression.
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post #33 of 257 Old 07-04-2014, 03:36 PM
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That's why I brought my own CD to the recent Newport Beach hifi show. I wanted to hear music I'm familiar with.

It is always a great idea to bring your own music to an audio show to demo the equipment, whether CD or LP. There are always some exhibitors who give you grief for wanting to play your own music, especially if it is not the usual audiophile suspects. While I can't say I would want to listen to the stuff Mark has listed, you should be able to demo what you want at these events. If the exhibitor cops an attitude, you wouldn't want to waste your time there anyway.
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post #34 of 257 Old 07-04-2014, 04:19 PM
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I hate to be the news breaker but that's not music, that's dynamic compression.
Oh I see. In that case music is a rather narrow category of audio entertainment. I choose to listen to artistic dynamic compression instead.
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post #35 of 257 Old 07-04-2014, 04:30 PM
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It is always a great idea to bring your own music to an audio show to demo the equipment, whether CD or LP. There are always some exhibitors who give you grief for wanting to play your own music, especially if it is not the usual audiophile suspects. While I can't say I would want to listen to the stuff Mark has listed, you should be able to demo what you want at these events. If the exhibitor cops an attitude, you wouldn't want to waste your time there anyway.
I'd agree that in the case of auditioning equipment to compare against a known system, including familiar recordings makes much sense (with perhaps the exception of a public show using profanity laced material). But in this instance, I assume the material was to demonstrate what the presenters were discussing, particularly hi-res. What it does imply (at least to me) is that if hi-res offers sonic benefits, they appear to require a much more sophisticated system than most would own. It might have been interesting to also compare on some near field reference speakers.
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post #36 of 257 Old 07-04-2014, 04:46 PM
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Oh I see. In that case music is a rather narrow category of audio entertainment. I choose to listen to artistic dynamic compression instead.
Hmmm. I was making a blanket statement about certain types of music that get compressed to death in the delivery method and I'm not, in any way, inferring that the music you choose of that certain artistic impression that is enjoyable to you is in any way bad. So, forgive me if it came off that way.

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post #37 of 257 Old 07-04-2014, 04:58 PM
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I'd agree that in the case of auditioning equipment to compare against a known system, including familiar recordings makes much sense (with perhaps the exception of a public show using profanity laced material). But in this instance, I assume the material was to demonstrate what the presenters were discussing, particularly hi-res. What it does imply (at least to me) is that if hi-res offers sonic benefits, they appear to require a much more sophisticated system than most would own. It might have been interesting to also compare on some near field reference speakers.
And a much quieter noise floor than you'll likely find in any room that's not purpose-built for the task.
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post #38 of 257 Old 07-04-2014, 04:58 PM
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Oh I see. In that case music is a rather narrow category of audio entertainment. I choose to listen to artistic dynamic compression instead.
I think the point is that, independent of the artistic merit of modern recordings, the record company weasels are in a loudness war. If indeed hi-res distribution has merit, the current practice of narrow dynamic range and often heavy EQ won't be taking advantage of it. It's ironic that since we've had a digital distribution with CDs that is likely far better than what mass produced commercial vinyl offered, and perhaps even high end releases, the push has been to take less advantage of it in most popular genres. Some predicted that the fidelity of lossy compression would influence recordings, and perhaps that's happened too.
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post #39 of 257 Old 07-04-2014, 05:02 PM
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I'd agree that in the case of auditioning equipment to compare against a known system, including familiar recordings makes much sense (with perhaps the exception of a public show using profanity laced material). But in this instance, I assume the material was to demonstrate what the presenters were discussing, particularly hi-res. What it does imply (at least to me) is that if hi-res offers sonic benefits, they appear to require a much more sophisticated system than most would own. It might have been interesting to also compare on some near field reference speakers.

I was referring to hifi shows in general such as RMAF and the upcoming Capital Audio Fest. Yes the point of this get together was hi rez and the presenters were asked to select the material that they recorded to demonstrate the virtues of high rez. I wouldn't even think to bring my material to this type of event in a recording studio. I would have loved to sit in that captain's chair though to listen to this stuff presented. I do have the Mosaic track that Mark Waldrep presented in 24/96 and it does sound superb as does the rest of that recording.
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post #40 of 257 Old 07-04-2014, 05:05 PM
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I think the point is that, independent of the artistic merit of modern recordings, the record company weasels are in a loudness war. If indeed hi-res distribution has merit, the current practice of narrow dynamic range and often heavy EQ won't be taking advantage of it. It's ironic that since we've had a digital distribution with CDs that is likely far better than what mass produced commercial vinyl offered, and perhaps even high end releases, the push has been to take less advantage of it in most popular genres. Some predicted that the fidelity of lossy compression would influence recordings, and perhaps that's happened too.
Yer preachin' to the choir. The funny thing to me is that my list of artists includes a number of bands that are the exact opposite of modern, compressed, commercial music. I bet it was Lil' Wayne and Dr. Dre. that caught most people's eye and led to a bit of stereotyping. Check out Coil and tell me if that band has anything to do with commercial recording practices. I was illustrating a larger point, that the music selection at just about every audio show I have ever been to appeals to older white men with a few bucks in the bank, primarily. It's an insular microcosm. I find that the blanket statements people make about the "loudness wars" only apply to artists who are battling it out on the airwaves. The world of music is so much bigger than that. Hi-res audio made by "purist" producers is an integral part of that alternative world, but it's only a part of it... there's a lot more out there.
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post #41 of 257 Old 07-04-2014, 05:13 PM
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I can agree with that, even as a 55 year old white guy who came out of the womb loving jazz and classical. I have heard some incredible sounding CDs sold by the artists few have ever heard of that are produced with no record label involvement that have incredible dynamics and you are almost there realism. I wished all CDs sounded as good as some of these discs I have heard, even though I didn't dig the music. I should ask I friend who has some if I can bring one to the Cap Fest. It will be interesting to see one of those expensive Wilsons bouncing down the hallway with some of the bass on this one disc in particular.
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post #42 of 257 Old 07-04-2014, 05:28 PM
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I find that the blanket statements people make about the "loudness wars" only apply to artists who are battling it out on the airwaves. The world of music is so much bigger than that. Hi-res audio made by "purist" producers is an integral part of that alternative world, but it's only a part of it... there's a lot more out there.
One of the funniest things to me was going through a fast food drive-thru, and under the window someone had pasted a little bumper sticker sign that said 'Pro Tools Sucks'. I took that to be condemnation of modern recording practices. What bothers me more is the reported added compression on new releases of older recordings. If true, that would be quite sad. The efforts to further improve older analog recordings as mentioned in the OP is encouraging.
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post #43 of 257 Old 07-04-2014, 06:25 PM
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I don't think he meant that the engineers are not talented, just that they are not the "talent" i.e. the musicians and singers that the engineers record. Quite a difference, no?
If we run with that reading, then its still an insult to the creativity and musicianship that is involved with mixing for live sound and recording.

Full disclosure - I just came off a 12 year stint of mixing live sound for the a mid-sized venue and recording music festivals for hire.

The live sound mixer's vision for a performance can easily be the predominant one. Ditto for the recording mixer and the final recording.

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post #44 of 257 Old 07-04-2014, 06:44 PM
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One of the funniest things to me was going through a fast food drive-thru, and under the window someone had pasted a little bumper sticker sign that said 'Pro Tools Sucks'. I took that to be condemnation of modern recording practices. What bothers me more is the reported added compression on new releases of older recordings. If true, that would be quite sad. The efforts to further improve older analog recordings as mentioned in the OP is encouraging.
Added compression on new releases of older recordings is relatively old news. I first encountered this ca. 1991 when my daughter waltzed into the house with a newly-remastered version of Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits. I took a quick listen and the added compression seemed clear. I checked it out with a digital editor and comparison with the ca. 1985 version and the visible effects of added dynamics compression were clear.
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post #45 of 257 Old 07-04-2014, 07:11 PM
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Added compression on new releases of older recordings is relatively old news. I first encountered this ca. 1991 when my daughter waltzed into the house with a newly-remastered version of Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits. I took a quick listen and the added compression seemed clear. I checked it out with a digital editor and comparison with the ca. 1985 version and the visible effects of added dynamics compression were clear.
Thanks for confirming. I've read that for some time now, but hadn't seen any objective measure on a specific recording. As many have said, if nothing else perhaps hi-res distributions will allow access to better sources. Added compression on CDs pales to the abysmal quality that most commercial FM radio has fallen into. Even with some artifacts, internet streaming often sounds better. I swear I hear compression artifacts on FM radio now.

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If we run with that reading, then its still an insult to the creativity and musicianship that is involved with mixing for live sound and recording.
Perhaps so, but there is a pecking order ... usually determined by peckers.

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post #46 of 257 Old 07-05-2014, 04:01 AM
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It's fantastic what you can learn from experienced recording engineers. I'm a part-time recording engineer myself and I've been fortunate enough to have attended a week long masterclass by Bruce Swedien.

But I find it unbelievably sad that, despite the efforts and advancements made by professionals, to make the music sound better and more involving, more and more people (the "customer") consume music through horrible earbuds, playing back low bit-rate lossy formats. Most people couldn't care less about the difference between MP3, CD or hi-res. They just want it free and quickly.

I've infected a good friend of mine with the audio-virus. Resulting in him getting a decent HT set. Next, he bought my Dynaudio Audience 122's, after I upgraded. He's thrilled with them. He really started listening to music and the is aware of the difference a good playback system can make. Only the irony is: he still listenes to downloaded content in lossy formats... At least he'll hear all the data compression artefacts very clearly...
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post #47 of 257 Old 07-05-2014, 04:23 AM
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If we run with that reading, then its still an insult to the creativity and musicianship that is involved with mixing for live sound and recording.

Full disclosure - I just came off a 12 year stint of mixing live sound for the a mid-sized venue and recording music festivals for hire.

The live sound mixer's vision for a performance can easily be the predominant one. Ditto for the recording mixer and the final recording.

I have some experience in the matter as I have friends in the management end in the TV and radio business. I also know some recording engineers. I have heard them all use the term "the talent". A radio GM or program manager referring to their DJs or talk show hosts as the talent. My father was a band leader for 35 years and referred to the singer by this term. It is even used by people in management or your side of the glass in a condescending way as another term for Diva. Again, I don't think that any insult was meant to recording engineers. I have said all I care to on the subject.
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post #48 of 257 Old 07-05-2014, 07:54 AM
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Too bad the mere idea if actually recording live musicians is also slowly dying, starting with live, recorded drums. If you knew how many recordings you heard were not actually a drummer but just programmed drum tracks you'd want to throw up. Programs like Superior Drummer (a program who's very name insults me as a percussionist) are becoming cheaper than hiring session players and the loss of the actual feel and touch of a live human playing is an after thought. I had a band I was in break up over this during the recording phase. The programmed stuff to me sounds fake. A good recording starts with well tuned instruments (including voices) and from there moves on through the mics and the board. If your missing any link in the chain, all the post production dazzle dazzle will only get you so far.
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post #49 of 257 Old 07-05-2014, 08:01 AM
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There is nothing like musicians playing together live. All of the multitracked stuff where someone comes in a plays over what has already been recorded often times sounds just like that. There are exceptions but give me the real thing any time, whether recorded or live.
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post #50 of 257 Old 07-05-2014, 08:09 AM
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Too bad the mere idea if actually recording live musicians is also slowly dying, starting with live, recorded drums. If you knew how many recordings you heard were not actually a drummer but just programmed drum tracks you'd want to throw up. Programs like Superior Drummer (a program who's very name insults me as a percussionist) are becoming cheaper than hiring session players and the loss of the actual feel and touch of a live human playing is an after thought. I had a band I was in break up over this during the recording phase. The programmed stuff to me sounds fake. A good recording starts with well tuned instruments (including voices) and from there moves on through the mics and the board. If your missing any link in the chain, all the post production dazzle dazzle will only get you so far.
Well said. I am not a musician, but my son is. For his college graduation he wanted a set of drums. I went with him to audition the different ones. Boy, I have yet to hear sound with as high a fidelity and dynamic range as him playing the drums live a few feet away from me. Quite a sobering experience with respect to how far behind we are in that experience in what we get delivered to us and playback systems.

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post #51 of 257 Old 07-05-2014, 08:25 AM
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Thanks for confirming. I've read that for some time now, but hadn't seen any objective measure on a specific recording. As many have said, if nothing else perhaps hi-res distributions will allow access to better sources.

Dream on We've had SACD and DVD-A for 14 years and if they aren't high resolution, what is?


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Added compression on CDs pales to the abysmal quality that most commercial FM radio has fallen into.



Agreed, unless you are lucky enough to have a local FM station that minimizes processing.


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Even with some artifacts, internet streaming often sounds better.

IME a mixed bag.


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I swear I hear compression artifacts on FM radio now.

I've been hearing them for years, even decades

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Perhaps so, but there is a pecking order ... usually determined by peckers.

IME musicians are as short sighted as anybody. Almost to a person they think that they know what the audience hears while they are sitting on top of their instrument, listening to stage monitors a few feet away, or blowing a horn that is pointed away from them.
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post #52 of 257 Old 07-05-2014, 09:05 AM
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The idea is that you want the audience to hear what they're supposed to hear. No feed back, nothing overly loud, or buried in the mix. True some musicians just want to be turned up louder than everyone else. I don't pretend to know what's coming out of the mains while I'm buried behind drums and cymbals sitting at my set, but I do know what they should hear. It's the sound guys job to to make sure they hear what they should. Which often comes with varying degrees of success.
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"one benefit of high-res audio was immediately apparent in the super-wide dynamic range, from extremely soft to exceedingly loud with no distortion I could hear in the few seconds I had my fingers out of my ears."

I will never understand the need to crank up the volume to 11 when doing an audio demonstration. If your listeners have their fingers jammed in their ears to protect their hearing, then the demonstration is a waste of time. I've had that same experience at a hi-end audio retailer who was demonstrating a pair of B&W Nautilus speakers powered my McIntosh electronics. All I came away with was that my fingers make great ear protectors.

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post #54 of 257 Old 07-05-2014, 09:29 AM
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Well said. I am not a musician, but my son is. For his college graduation he wanted a set of drums. I went with him to audition the different ones. Boy, I have yet to hear sound with as high a fidelity and dynamic range as him playing the drums live a few feet away from me. Quite a sobering experience with respect to how far behind we are in that experience in what we get delivered to us and playback systems.

There is no question about that!
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post #55 of 257 Old 07-05-2014, 09:33 AM
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"one benefit of high-res audio was immediately apparent in the super-wide dynamic range, from extremely soft to exceedingly loud with no distortion I could hear in the few seconds I had my fingers out of my ears."

I will never understand the need to crank up the volume to 11 when doing an audio demonstration. If your listeners have their fingers jammed in their ears to protect their hearing, then the demonstration is a waste of time. I've had that same experience at a hi-end audio retailer who was demonstrating a pair of B&W Nautilus speakers powered my McIntosh electronics. All I came away with was that my fingers make great ear protectors.

It is a common problem at all hifi shows too. Too loud, I leave or do not enter. I was at an MBL room at a show in NYC. The sound was so loud, you wouldn't be able to hear a jumbo jet over it. Nonetheless, as I had tissue stuck in my ears, there were some there loving it. I can only guess it is the old louder is better issue.
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post #56 of 257 Old 07-05-2014, 10:01 AM
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"one benefit of high-res audio was immediately apparent in the super-wide dynamic range, from extremely soft to exceedingly loud with no distortion I could hear in the few seconds I had my fingers out of my ears."

I will never understand the need to crank up the volume to 11 when doing an audio demonstration. If your listeners have their fingers jammed in their ears to protect their hearing, then the demonstration is a waste of time. I've had that same experience at a hi-end audio retailer who was demonstrating a pair of B&W Nautilus speakers powered my McIntosh electronics. All I came It's a false away with was that my fingers make great ear protectors.
It's a false claim to say that super-wide dynamic range is a "benefit" of hires audio. 16 bit audio can do 120 dB of dynamic range with proper dithering. NO ONE can point to ANY recording with actual music that has dynamic range greater than that.
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post #57 of 257 Old 07-05-2014, 11:05 AM
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It's a false claim to say that super-wide dynamic range is a "benefit" of hires audio. 16 bit audio can do 120 dB of dynamic range with proper dithering. NO ONE can point to ANY recording with actual music that has dynamic range greater than that.
The noise floor of TPD dithered 16-bit signal is about -93 dbfs. That is audible noise you can hear.

Suggest reading the Wiki if this is not clear: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DBFS#Dynamic_range

Dynamic range

The measured dynamic range of a digital system is the ratio of the full scale signal level to the RMS noise floor. The theoretical minimum noise floor is caused by quantization noise. This is usually modeled as a uniform random fluctuation between −1/2 LSB and +1/2 LSB. (Only certain signals produce uniform random fluctuations, so this model is typically, but not always, accurate.)[13]
As the dynamic range is measured relative to the RMS level of a full scale sine wave, the dynamic range and the level of this quantization noise in dBFS can both be estimated with the same formula (though with reversed sign):



The value of n equals the resolution of the system in bits or the resolution of the system minus 1 bit (the measure error). For example, a 16-bit system will have a theoretical minimum noise floor of -98.09 dBFS relative to a full-scale sine wave:



In any real converter, dither is added to the signal before sampling. This removes the effects of non-uniform quantization error, but increases the minimum noise floor.


Here is the AES in case you doubt this further: http://www.aes.org/aeshc/docs/record...y/dynamic.html

The ratio of the signal strength to this background noise is called the "signal-to-noise ratio" and is another way to measure dynamic range. ....

To develop the revolutionary compact disc in 1980, engineers used a computer to measure a sound wave at 44,100 locations on each cycle. Each of these "sampled" locations was defined by a digital "word" 16 bits long, using 65,536 different combinations of "0" and "1" codes to measure the frequency of the sound. Each of these bit codes was stored as a pit in a thin layer of a polycarbonate disc. A laser beam responded to the different sizes of these pits and a computer chip in the CD player reassembled the sound wave from the 16-bit coded samples. Without noise or distortion, the resulting sounds were remarkbly clear within a dynamic range of 96 dB.


When you add dither, you add noise and that noise per above (and countless other references) raises your noise floor. That noise is not inconsequential. If that were the case we could go all the way down to 8 bits and with dither claim "120 db of dynamic range" which would be preposterous.

To be fair, we do hear through noise and that is where the claim of higher dynamic range comes from. But that does not say that a 20 bit system is the same as 16 bits. The 20 bit system would be far quieter.

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post #58 of 257 Old 07-05-2014, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post
The noise floor of TPD dithered 16-bit signal is about -93 dbfs. That is audible noise you can hear.

Suggest reading the Wiki if this is not clear: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DBFS#Dynamic_range

Dynamic range

The measured dynamic range of a digital system is the ratio of the full scale signal level to the RMS noise floor. The theoretical minimum noise floor is caused by quantization noise. This is usually modeled as a uniform random fluctuation between −1/2 LSB and +1/2 LSB. (Only certain signals produce uniform random fluctuations, so this model is typically, but not always, accurate.)[13]
As the dynamic range is measured relative to the RMS level of a full scale sine wave, the dynamic range and the level of this quantization noise in dBFS can both be estimated with the same formula (though with reversed sign):



The value of n equals the resolution of the system in bits or the resolution of the system minus 1 bit (the measure error). For example, a 16-bit system will have a theoretical minimum noise floor of -98.09 dBFS relative to a full-scale sine wave:



In any real converter, dither is added to the signal before sampling. This removes the effects of non-uniform quantization error, but increases the minimum noise floor.

Here is the AES in case you doubt this further: http://www.aes.org/aeshc/docs/record...y/dynamic.html

The ratio of the signal strength to this background noise is called the "signal-to-noise ratio" and is another way to measure dynamic range. ....

To develop the revolutionary compact disc in 1980, engineers used a computer to measure a sound wave at 44,100 locations on each cycle. Each of these "sampled" locations was defined by a digital "word" 16 bits long, using 65,536 different combinations of "0" and "1" codes to measure the frequency of the sound. Each of these bit codes was stored as a pit in a thin layer of a polycarbonate disc. A laser beam responded to the different sizes of these pits and a computer chip in the CD player reassembled the sound wave from the 16-bit coded samples. Without noise or distortion, the resulting sounds were remarkbly clear within a dynamic range of 96 dB.

When you add dither, you add noise and that noise per above (and countless other references) raises your noise floor. That noise is not inconsequential. If that were the case we could go all the way down to 8 bits and with dither claim "120 db of dynamic range" which would be preposterous.

To be fair, we do hear through noise and that is where the claim of higher dynamic range comes from. But that does not say that a 20 bit system is the same as 16 bits. The 20 bit system would be far quieter.


All moot with a volume setting for normal listening levels.
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post #59 of 257 Old 07-05-2014, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

To develop the revolutionary compact disc in 1980, engineers used a computer to measure a sound wave at 44,100 locations on each cycle. Each of these "sampled" locations was defined by a digital "word" 16 bits long, using 65,536 different combinations of "0" and "1" codes to measure the frequency of the sound. Each of these bit codes was stored as a pit in a thin layer of a polycarbonate disc. A laser beam responded to the different sizes of these pits and a computer chip in the CD player reassembled the sound wave from the 16-bit coded samples. Without noise or distortion, the resulting sounds were remarkbly clear within a dynamic range of 96 dB.


When you add dither, you add noise and that noise per above (and countless other references) raises your noise floor. That noise is not inconsequential. If that were the case we could go all the way down to 8 bits and with dither claim "120 db of dynamic range" which would be preposterous.

To be fair, we do hear through noise and that is where the claim of higher dynamic range comes from. But that does not say that a 20 bit system is the same as 16 bits. The 20 bit system would be far quieter.
It's not just hearing through the noise. It's also noise shaping, which moves quantization noise energy into frequencies where it's harder to hear. So I was talking about the perceived dynamic range. But even in the "worst case" of a "mere" 96 dB, how many "hires" recordings of real world music can you name that have a dynamic range greater than that? I'll bet NONE of the recordings that were listened to in what I quoted did.
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post #60 of 257 Old 07-06-2014, 01:59 AM
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