AVS/AIX High-Res Audio Test: Updated Results - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 46 Old 08-23-2014, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by JeffPerrin View Post
Yes! The 96/24 file in this case would be "hi-res" in that it best reproduces the sound of the music as the artist intended and how they heard and mixed the audio in the studio.

In your definition, the label executive would burst in the room, demanding a re-recording the performance on fresh strings, through a specific mic and pre-amp, etc... all to satisfy the "hi-res" sticker on the disc case. And in the end, the consumer does NOT get to hear the music as intended (hi-res or not), because the artistic process is derailed by industry specifications (which will no doubt change over time anyway).

Now if a boutique label DOES have an audience which demands such a meticulous and carefully followed recording process, that is one thing. I'm painting in broader strokes here and referring to the mainstream recording industry.
I have no issue with any sort of music, nor did I want to tell the artist how to record and present their music. I just want truth in labeling. I want it made clear that the music sold as high-resolution is recorded, mastered and delivered in high-resolution. If at any point in the stream, it is below possible human perception, it should NOT be labeled as high-resolution. Instead, it could be labeled as master quality or something like that.
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post #32 of 46 Old 08-23-2014, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by mlknez View Post
I have no issue with any sort of music, nor did I want to tell the artist how to record and present their music. I just want truth in labeling. I want it made clear that the music sold as high-resolution is recorded, mastered and delivered in high-resolution. If at any point in the stream, it is below possible human perception, it should NOT be labeled as high-resolution. Instead, it could be labeled as master quality or something like that.
Exactly. Nobody is trying to tell the artist what tools they must use to make their music. We are just trying to establish a clear definition for "hi res" music, which IMO, should be more stringent on these matters than your average CD quality recording. At the very least, anything that gets the "hi res" label should use higher bit depth and wider frequency range than CD quality at every stage AFTER the initial recording process. It should not be possible to essentially rip a CD, upsample the music, and then sell it as "hi res".
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post #33 of 46 Old 08-23-2014, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlknez View Post
I have no issue with any sort of music, nor did I want to tell the artist how to record and present their music. I just want truth in labeling. I want it made clear that the music sold as high-resolution is recorded, mastered and delivered in high-resolution. If at any point in the stream, it is below possible human perception, it should NOT be labeled as high-resolution. Instead, it could be labeled as master quality or something like that.
We don't have the tools to determine what you are saying. They could be developed but it is not something you grab now.

The only standard that I think we can ask for is one where they don't truncate the track for CD and then sell the same thing resampled up to high resolution. Beyond that, you would need to rely on user and professional reviews as you do today with Blu-rays or any consumer good.

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post #34 of 46 Old 08-23-2014, 02:15 PM
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We have tools... they are called standards, honesty, peer review and the free market. Just because something is hard doesn't mean we shouldn't try.
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post #35 of 46 Old 08-23-2014, 03:14 PM
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I can't wait to buy a recording by a Standard Artist performing a Standard Score recorded using Standard Microphones at a Standard Level fed into a Standard Mixing Unit and output to a Standard Master so I can play it on my Standard Playback Unit.

I'll be back later...



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post #36 of 46 Old 08-23-2014, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by mlknez View Post
We have tools... they are called standards, honesty, peer review and the free market. Just because something is hard doesn't mean we shouldn't try.
Peer review? You mean when someone creates a piece of music they have to get someone else's approval before they can publish it? In your own line of work, do you advocate regulations like that?

What makes the tool hard is not just measuring threshold of hearing (which itself can be in dispute) but what constitutes the right mark? Would a track that slopes down to 30 Khz be good enough? Or should it be 40 Khz? If it is 40Khz but the content only goes to 30 Khz, would you like the creator to go and stick some ultrasonic noise in there as to pass the peer review standard?

We in agreement on the free market and with it, honesty. This is what works on Amazon with people reviewing the products and you deciding if you agree or disagree. Don't see why music is a more essential thing than anything else that is being sold there as to have more regulations.

As I said, the only standard we can and should enforce is brick wall filtered CD content being upsampled to high resolution. That we can review and sites like HDTracks have started to do that.

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post #37 of 46 Old 08-23-2014, 03:39 PM
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Some people have higher standards (in music genre and in audio medium quality) than others.
It helps a lot doing the right research. AIX is up there too.

Bests, ~ Robert § (Bob)

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post #38 of 46 Old 08-23-2014, 04:45 PM
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Some people have higher standards (in music genre...
Ha ha! (Surely this statement is a joke, right?)
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post #39 of 46 Old 08-24-2014, 04:26 AM
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Peer review? You mean when someone creates a piece of music they have to get someone else's approval before they can publish it? In your own line of work, do you advocate regulations like that?
Artists can and should be able to publish whatever they want. However, in order to be allowed to put the "hi res" label on it, it should adhere to a higher standard.

In my line of work (structural design, detailing, fabrication, and erection of steel buildings and other structures), we have many different codes and regulations we are required to follow. In addition to the basic international, national, state, and local codes and regulations we must follow, there are additional certification requirements that may or may not apply to a particular job, at the owner's discretion. One such certification that our company has chosen to obtain is the AISC (American Institute of Steel Construction) certification for the fabrication of steel buildings. In order to obtain this certification, our company was required to develop and document our own procedures (based on AISC guidelines) for everything from drawing and document control to revision procedures to how and where we purchase our raw materials, how we calibrate our tools and equipment, how material is tracked from the time it leaves the mill until the time it arrives at the job site, our adherence to AISC standards for the design of connections, AWS standards for welding, SSPC standards for cleaning and the application of protective coatings, how we conduct quality control inspections, our safety procedures, etc, etc. We then had to submit an application to AISC for their review (fee included) and undergo an audit from an AISC inspector. After passing the inspection and obtaining our certification, we were then eligible to submit bids on and be awarded projects that require an AISC certification. Because most of our work is in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, there are quite a few government and other large construction jobs that require it. Every year, we are required to pass another inspection in order to keep our certification. If any issues are found then corrective actions must be made within a certain period of time. To the customer, this means that they are getting a product of the utmost quality.

Even with all of these "optional" requirements on top of all of the standard codes and regulations, there is still some room for each and every AISC certified fabricator to do things a little bit differently...to use our own "artistic license" if you will.

Do I think the music industry needs to be as tightly regulated as the commercial construction industry is? No. For one thing, AFAIK, nobody has ever died after listening to a poorly recorded, mastered, and produced album. That said, I do believe there is a market for music that meets a higher fidelity standard, that goes above and beyond your typical album. This is what "hi res" music production should be. Unfortunately, not everyone is in agreement on what the minimum standard in order to be labeled as "high resolution" should be. Perhaps Dr. AIX is correct. Perhaps the horse is already out of the barn when it comes to everything being labeled as "hi res" and we need a new term such as Ultra High Definition Music to describe this higher standard of fidelity.

Until this is sorted out, I suppose we have no choice but to resort to consumer reviews (as Amir has suggested), as flawed as that may be. I say "flawed" because, in many cases, people base their reviews on whether or not they found a tune catchy or how it made them feel, which may have more to do with the memories evoked when listening to a certain piece of music than the actual fidelity of the track/album itself. In many cases, the reviewer has never actually compared the "hi res" track/album to the CD version to see if they can even tell the difference to begin with. Note: I am not claiming that there is never a difference, but simply that sometimes there isn't.

What I would advocate is some way of making it transparent to the consumer that a particular piece of music was recorded, mixed, mastered, and/or produced in a manner that preserved the fidelity of said music to a higher standard that goes beyond 16-bit/44.1 kHz quality rather than just telling you what the final format is.

p.s. If "UHD" music takes off, is it ok to refer to it as 4K music?
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post #40 of 46 Old 08-24-2014, 05:00 PM
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Ha ha! (Surely this statement is a joke, right?)
No it's not; some music genres are very low standard in our culture; it was created for the rebels, for violence, for lost souls, for the body not the spirit, by frustrated young people, by anarchists, by rebels.

And Classical music is for people who have high standards in life; music for the full emotional chords of the human spirit and soul through history of the most important live events in our planet.

Jazz, Blues, Rock&Roll, Punk, Reggae, International, Alternative, New Age, Folk, Country, Heavy Metal, RAP, Acid everything, ...is for the common masses with more or less moving parts of the full human equilibrium.

Classical music is simply above them all; even if some people disagree.

So no, it wasn't a joke; it is my deep stance.

Nobody can change the course of my musical journey of the last sixty years, nobody.
I love Blues, I love Jazz, but avove all I love Classical Music.

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Last edited by NorthSky; 08-29-2014 at 11:41 AM. Reason: Typo
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post #41 of 46 Old 08-29-2014, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by mlknez View Post
I have no issue with any sort of music, nor did I want to tell the artist how to record and present their music. I just want truth in labeling. I want it made clear that the music sold as high-resolution is recorded, mastered and delivered in high-resolution. If at any point in the stream, it is below possible human perception, it should NOT be labeled as high-resolution. Instead, it could be labeled as master quality or something like that.
Yeah, I hear you. But I just don't believe a true and honest "standard" will be feasible - primarily because one person's idea of high resolution might not meet the standards of another. A great example can be found in this weeks Home Theater Geeks podcast, where there was discussion about the integrity of older analog master tapes and how, for various reasons, they may not contain (or in many cases, have surely lost) any "high resolution content." I hardly think a major label will go along and refuse to deny their 24/96 "cash cow" transfers high resolution status because the condition of the tape does not meet a standard. The key word, and priority for all involved here, is marketing...

The best thing we can hope for is that artists, studios and labels (like yourself) will document the process as it happens so music fans can begin to understand and appreciate the recording and mastering process better. I think that will prove far more value to consumers than any sticker or standardized label.

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post #42 of 46 Old 08-29-2014, 11:46 AM
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The best thing we can hope for is that artists, studios and labels (like yourself) will document the process as it happens so music fans can begin to understand and appreciate the recording and mastering process better. I think that will prove far more value to consumers than any sticker or standardized label.
Hope is the last thing left after Live. ...Music reproduction.

* I agree; it's a marketing pitch.

I'll stick with what I know best:
Channel Classics, Reference Recordings, ECM, ...CD high resolution music reproduction.

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post #43 of 46 Old 08-31-2014, 07:37 PM
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Actually, the HTC M8 is a high-res-capable phone; in fact, Sprint is making a pretty big deal about this feature, and Mark Waldrep is a big fan.
Neat stuff...I just saw that in my Home Theater magazine. However I travel a lot for work and Sprint would be the worst network I could ever switch to.
I am hoping Apple comes out with the new iPhone that might have a feature like this. I'm due a new phone this month too.

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post #44 of 46 Old 08-31-2014, 10:48 PM
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Scott,

1) how many (if any) of the graphed results in post #1 involve the 'Take 1' version of the files, versus 'Take 2'?

2)was the source of the original 0.2dB difference in the 'Take 1' files ever identified?

3) how many respondents had 'hi rez' playback chains and how many did not, so far ? I can glean it more or less from the graph, but the actual numbers would be nice.

4) has this test been tried with any other SRCs? And re: Sonic Studio Process SRC -- that includes the 'Sonic HD' SRC in infintiwav's database. Was taht the SRC used? If so, which of the three filter slope options of Sonic HD was used? Or did Mark use the older 'classic' SRC that is part of Sonic Process (for which there are no performance graphs in the infinitewav db, unfortunately)?

5) any plans to subject these results to more rigorous statistical analysis? (which, for example, takes into account the chance of getting 3 out of 3 binary choices correct just by guessing)?

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post #45 of 46 Old 09-01-2014, 03:09 AM
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Please explain how one like myself who is over 60, can hear much beyond 10 KHz.
Not being you and probably being located thousands of miles away, I dunno about you. However, I tested my own 67 year old hearing just lately and found that I can still hear pure tones @ 12 KHz at reasonable SPL levels. This depends on who you are and how you lived your life. In modern times it is probable that your hearing was damaged by loud sounds, which requires conservative use of hearing protection devices during your whole life in order to avoid.

However, hearing 12 KHz pure tones and $5 will get me a mediocre cup of coffee in a cheap place. ;-)

Problem is that hearing the benefits of high sample rates takes a lot more than just the ability to hear pure tones at high frequencies.

In order to hear the benefits of high sample rates, a person needs to hear the absence of high frequency content, not its presence. They are two different things. This sounds like word games, but unfortunately because of how our hearing works, this additional complexity is highly relevant.

Coming at the problem from the simpler side, our ability to perceive high frequency sounds depends on how loud it is. Generally speaking, the louder the high frequency sound is, the more likely we are to hear it. So "I can hear 12 KHz" is really meaningless without giving a SPL value. Another way to look at it is that the louder you listen to music up to some point, the better your HF hearing might be for isolated sounds.

The second problem is that music is not composed of isolated sounds, but rather music is composed of a continuous array of sounds that need to be heard at the same time if they are to be heard at all.

Our ear/brain system are based on a complex process called masking which means that loud sounds tend to reduce or eliminate our perception of softer sounds in the same frequency range. Perhaps more relevant to a discussion of high sample rates is the fact that in general masking works upward in the frequency domain. IOW a loud sound at a lower frequency will reduce or eliminate our perception of higher frequencies. This is compounded by the fact that the energy present in musical sounds generally decreases as the frequency increases.
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post #46 of 46 Old 09-01-2014, 06:47 AM
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Coming at the problem from the simpler side, our ability to perceive high frequency sounds depends on how loud it is. Generally speaking, the louder the high frequency sound is, the more likely we are to hear it. So "I can hear 12 KHz" is really meaningless without giving a SPL value. Another way to look at it is that the louder you listen to music up to some point, the better your HF hearing might be for isolated sounds.
I have been thinking about this as well, so I did an interesting experiment shortly after the test came out. I took one of the 96khz files and imported it into my DAW (Cubase 7). I then applied a hard filter at 20khz just to find out what might be audible above this self-imposed 20khz "floor" (my studio monitors are rated to 40khz). I only heard silence. I cranked the track and output gain to maximum levels (which would, in any other circumstance, reveal high frequencies ranging from 12-16khz, to even the most deficient of hearing), and I could make out some jittery vocal content, but definitely nothing audible in the upper frequency spectrum. At max gain, I was most likely hearing the extreme effects of filter leakage or roll-off from the lower frequencies.

Hardly a scientific test (and an inconclusive one at that), but I am just looking for a way to specifically prove beyond a doubt whether >20khz content is actually musical content or merely a pleasing after-effect of the high-sample rate production process (much like how this week's podcast guest Jon Iverson talked about the "pleasing distortions" introduced by turntables.) i.e.: Those of us with Hi Res set-ups may be able to more easily pick out / favor the 96khz version of a particular track, but is it really because the audio is more accurate, or is it because it sounds more pleasing to the ear? The debate goes on...

Jeff Perrin
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