Give Me Your Worst! Is Dynamic Range Compression Really the Devil? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
Forum Jump: 
 22Likes
Reply
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 58 Old 02-12-2020, 05:29 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Forum Special Member
 
DreamWarrior's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Dirty South Jersey
Posts: 2,336
Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1091 Post(s)
Liked: 671
Give Me Your Worst! Is Dynamic Range Compression Really the Devil?

<edit>This is a long post; if you're looking at the wall of text and ready to say, "TL;DR" then I've been trying to make my thoughts more concise and this post may be an easier read to see what I'm trying to accomplish in this thread.... </edit>

Original post follows:

I have been pretty frustrated lately because, for a long time, I had bought into the "modern recordings are crap" dogma. However, after (finally) getting all my gear set up in my new home's basement and tweaking for a while (mostly sub position / levels / delay, but speaker toe and position, too, and adding a few 4" deep absorption panels to my ceiling tile's grid), I am starting to realize this may not be the case.

For a long time, even with the same gear in my old living room, I had issues with modern recordings; especially in comprehending the vocals. Oddly, a lot of this would clear up when I listened on "frequency starved" devices (e.g., laptops and many car stereos). But, while maybe I could understand the vocals on those setups, so many tracks lost their impact; it was like I could not win. Like many, I fell to popular credo -- "these recordings must just be crap, they sound like it on my best gear."

Mind you, it's not like I have a sub-par home system (though, some will degrade me for my choices, lol). Alas, despite reading, time and time again, how much difference the room makes, I had no way to change my previous WAF-controlled living room (and, honestly, wouldn't have "uglified" it myself, anyway). Regardless, this thread isn't about my gear, it's about recordings and, now that I have, what I believe to be, a room and setup that is sufficient to make qualitative judgements of my own, I want to address this elephant on the forum -- is dynamic range compression "really the devil" and are low scores on, say, the DR database making modern music low quality as I have been led to believe for so long? My current opinion is, "maybe not."

However, if the low scores on DR database don't mean the recording quality stinks, what do they mean, beyond that the overall sound-power (is that a good term?) does not change much during the album/track? More, is it possible the recordings, when played back "properly", still have perceived dynamics? Is it possible that in modern, spectrally complex, music, the dynamic range we measure is not representative of the overall quality? Is it possible that by stuffing "lots of sound" into a "small box" we see what appears to be "crap dynamic range" when really it is just spectrally complex music with lots of time intensity trading going on to create, e.g., sound-stage effects? All this sounds random, I suppose, but allow me to explain why I pose these questions....

Most modern recordings I have been listening to have A LOT of content. I hear so many different electronic samples and instruments being played all over my sound-stage. I hear them clearly, and often find at least half-a-dozen "point-sources" in my sound-stage. I would easily say that if you don't like "overproduced" music, then you can complain. However, all of this content has to be stuffed into the track and that would, I suppose, increase its average levels. Worse, if you're going to hear all these sounds I presume they must be "separated out". Besides panning to position them, what other choices do you have as a mixer? I have often, for example, perceived sounds that seemingly revolve around a 3D area in my room (from simple 2-channel). Now, I'm not naive enough to think that this isn't at least partly a product of my room, but something must exist in the recording to provoke it because it's not like it always happens. Does that "something" require additional (possibly phase-shifted) spectral content? Does it have a byproduct of producing a louder measuring track with less dynamic range despite my perceptions during playback? I don't know, but...a thought experiment....

Can one encode a file having two signals, left and right channel, obviously, out of phase such that at playback they sound substantially quieter at the listening position than they are recorded (recognizing that to hear it this way, you may need to have the system set up like Goldilocks)? If so, then can the phasing be adjusted such that the combined sound is perceived as louder and softer and, ultimately, being perceived as having a higher dynamic range than measured?

I will stop there...because I honestly don't know the answers to these questions; I don't mix music. However, my little brother does, and he has all sorts of Pro Tools filters that he uses artistically, despite not really knowing what they do mathematically. But, I think one can infer where I'm going with my line of questioning. Because, if the above is true, one can use mixing techniques that make for bad measuring but good sounding tracks.

If it is untrue, then I still seek answers, because I have listened to so many "poor" recordings that measure horribly on the DR database, but sound incredible on my system. Sure, maybe I have to adjust the volume downwards if they seem loud, but the details, clarity of vocals, and so much more makes these modern mixes very enjoyable to me...often making older recordings boring and sterile in comparison. All this despite the measured higher dynamic range of older recordings.... The worst offenses I hear are when I perceive what I believe are artifacts, either in the track or somewhere along the recording chain, that make it to post and annoy (e.g., something that sounds like clipping)! However, this, IME, is not the norm.

Of course, it's also very possible I am 100% off-base. But, I'd prefer folks not just dismiss me -- I really want to talk about this. I get it, large dynamics make for "fun" tracks, often having loud parts that come out of nowhere. All I want to get across is, IMO, dynamic range is not the sole arbitrator of track quality; maybe there's something more to it than just dynamic range? But, some other things to discuss:

1) What is the dynamic range of real musical instruments? For drums, is it limited to how hard you can smash them before they break, lol? For wind instruments, is it how hard one can blow?

2) Is the instruments' dynamic range even of importance? Do the microphone or recording techniques (or even 16-bit digital if you want to go there) set the limit?

3) If we don't compress, but we want spectrally complex content, can we "fit" it all in -- are modern mixing engineers really messing up or must their creations lack measured dynamics to include all the effects and tracks modern artists seemingly want?

4) If we used the entire dynamic range available, what are the issues? One I can figure is that folks lacking sufficiently low noise floors would miss a lot because if they turned it up loud enough for the min / avg track levels to overcome their noise floor, their signal paths may clip during the dynamic passages.

Anyway, I hope folks enjoy this thread. Plus, as the thread title says, I'd also welcome people to "give me your worst" -- I'd love to keep testing my hypothesis, putting to test on my gear some of the "worst" recordings y'all have for me and discussing them here, . A few albums I've listened to just recently (last night, actually) which score poorly on DR database (despite my enjoyment of them) whose listening sessions led me to post this thread:
  • Adele's 25 -- because I recall people whining a lot about that album
  • The Weeknd's Starboy -- because I know the singles off that sounded excellent (and it turns out "Starboy" is one of the poorest ranked songs on the album with a DR score of "4"; it sounded amazing, despite that ranking!).

My impressions of these two were posted here, in another thread where-in it was decided I should start this thread to extract the off-topic.

Here's another album that I have heard recently: Sunn O))) Life Metal. My gosh this is "terrible", it gets a straight "2" across the board. I can tell you, though, this album has so much "texture". It is literally overwhelming how many things are going on at one time in this album. You can hate it because it drones, but that's the genre. I have a hard time listening to it just because I can't figure out what to tune in to, there's just too much! The droning is certainly representative of its definite lack of dynamics, lol!

Anyway, let the "fun" begin....but, hopefully, we all learn something about mixing, dynamic range, and the science of modern music that, IMO, sounds great, is spectrally complex, but measures poorly!

Last edited by DreamWarrior; 02-14-2020 at 04:07 PM.
DreamWarrior is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 58 Old 02-12-2020, 06:38 PM
Advanced Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 680
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 828 Post(s)
Liked: 120
What is dynamic range compression? Is this what they mean when they talk about Sonos that it gets compressed at high volumes?
Vikram Iyengar is offline  
post #3 of 58 Old 02-13-2020, 12:02 AM - Thread Starter
AVS Forum Special Member
 
DreamWarrior's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Dirty South Jersey
Posts: 2,336
Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1091 Post(s)
Liked: 671
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
What is dynamic range compression? Is this what they mean when they talk about Sonos that it gets compressed at high volumes?
Unsure I can speak for what "they mean", but I can't tell if they are conflating lossy compression with dynamic range compression. They are different, and MP3 (and probably all other lossy compression algorithms) does not mess with dynamic range (though, it can slightly change the level an "inaudible" amount, like in the tenths of dB, randomly, throughout a track) -- anyway....

Dynamic range compression is more like taking the file, and squishing it vertically. For the loudness wars, mastering engineers would want their songs to "pop" (be louder). So they would aim for a higher average level. To get there, though, they'd often have to resort to compression, where the peaks would be smoothed out and the song would sound squashed. It would have no more...crescendo. Just constant barrage of same-level "garbage."

That said, it seems to me that one can't infinitely add signal without eventually compressing or clipping...right? So, when modern musicians demand more artistic elements be combined together, the more signal is being added. To keep it all working nice tracks need to be panned (and whatever other tricks mixing/mastering engineers have), since I suppose the engineers are trying not to have everything cancel out so you can hear as much of it as possible. Still, at some point you have to decide where you want your average levels and then adjust so you're maximizing the noise floor. No? Thus, at the end of all their work, trying to fit every little piece of detail the artist wants in the track, it looks a little...squashed. If it didn't, I'd guess certain things would really stand out and mask other things. So, to aim for balance, they aim for...well, squashed, lol.

Just more contention...really love to hear from a mixing/mastering engineer with a background in the math behind all this stuff. That'd be awesome....

Last edited by DreamWarrior; 02-13-2020 at 12:05 AM.
DreamWarrior is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 58 Old 02-13-2020, 01:17 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
Worf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 2,383
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 880 Post(s)
Liked: 611
Dynamic range is the difference between the loudest and softest sound. This is great because if you want drums that punch, dynamic range makes that possible.

In the 90s, the popularity of CDs meant you can use dynamic range compression to make the average volume level louder. This is because the brain perceives louder music as inherently better. The thing is, a large dynamic range lowers the average volume because you're saving the loud peaks for when they'd be nice and punchy. So you send the audio through a compressor - this makes soft sounds louder and loud sounds softer, which raises the average volume, but also removes a lot of punch from the audio. Instead of the drums giving you that oh so nice boom, it becomes a wet firework because the thundering boom was weakened, while the rest of the music was raised. Don't confuse this with clipping - you can compress it heavily and not clip. But usually you clip the peaks because it lets you raise the audio another dB louder.

That led to the return of vinyl, as you can't do this on vinyl - loud sounds on vinyl take up more space as the groove has to be wider, which means less music.

That doesn't mean using DRC is bad - there are many reason why you might this. First of all, it helps with night mode - you want this to keep the loud explosions from waking the neighbourhood up but also to be able to hear the vocals. Also, in noisy environments, reduce dynamic range lets you hear the soft sound without blowing up your ears in e loud bits.

But for precompressed music, it can sound like a mess when the soft delicate sounds are as loud as the punchy ones.
psuKinger and mik2h like this.
Worf is offline  
post #5 of 58 Old 02-13-2020, 08:45 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
CruelInventions's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Chicago-ish
Posts: 6,637
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1266 Post(s)
Liked: 1473
Nicely stated, worf.

As far as the Sonos compressing, that's something different. They're likely talking about the limitations of the speaker, which given its smaller size and/or design, can't fully convey music that has better dynamic range.

Quote:
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool. ~ Richard P. Feynman
CruelInventions is offline  
post #6 of 58 Old 02-13-2020, 09:39 AM
Advanced Member
 
Lonewolf7002's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 660
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 513 Post(s)
Liked: 587
I've never paid much attention to the "DR is the only measurement of sound quality" crowd. It never made sense to me. If I enjoy a song, I enjoy it. I could care less about the DR. I'm a fan of The Weeknd and Starboy sounds great! Would these songs sound even better with more dynamic range? Possibly. But as is, they are very clear and have great imaging and I can get lost in the song.

I also think some genres need more dynamic range. Classical is a good example. The soft quiet parts and loud crescendos are important parts of the song and it wouldn't be the same with a really small dynamic range. But I think that a lot of music can still sound fantastic without having a massive dynamic range and I don't feel that the DR rating is the sole indicator of music quality - not even close. It's a trivia point.
DreamWarrior likes this.

Samsung KS8000, Denon AVR-X3300W, Xbox One X, Samsung UBD-K8500 4K bluray player, Himedia Q5 Pro android box
Lonewolf7002 is offline  
post #7 of 58 Old 02-13-2020, 10:53 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 1,168
Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 491 Post(s)
Liked: 250
Give Me Your Worst! Is Dynamic Range Compression Really the Devil?

In my personal opinion its about not too little and not too much dynamic compression. With too little you get listener fatigue very fast and you need to keep the volume quite high to get the soft sounds. Too much and you loose some of the life in the music but if well recorded and not clipped a lot i dont really mind that much.

Heavy dynamic compression to get max average volume is the reason why a simple singer with a guitar sounds much louder and more powerful at the same spot on the pre amp volume dial than the screaming heavy metal singer with an all out band blasting behind him(or her). This just seems funny to me.

Very few are actually looking for reality in sound, almost everyone wants a comfortable approximation.
If it sounded real there are so many movies that would literally kill you in the first minute of the movie. I suppose most music would be kinder though.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Last edited by Leeliemix; 02-13-2020 at 10:58 AM.
Leeliemix is offline  
post #8 of 58 Old 02-13-2020, 11:45 AM
AVS Forum Addicted Member
 
m. zillch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 13,740
Mentioned: 53 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5921 Post(s)
Liked: 4248
One of the coolest audio processors I've ever owned was a fully variable dynamic range control knob made by DBX called a 117. It makes these preset options on Audyssey products with only three options, min., med., and max. (and only three level inflection points) look like toys.

Last edited by m. zillch; 02-13-2020 at 11:50 AM.
m. zillch is offline  
post #9 of 58 Old 02-13-2020, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Forum Special Member
 
DreamWarrior's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Dirty South Jersey
Posts: 2,336
Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1091 Post(s)
Liked: 671
Quote:
Originally Posted by Worf View Post
*snip* Instead of the drums giving you that oh so nice boom, it becomes a wet firework because the thundering boom was weakened, while the rest of the music was raised. *snip*
I find a lot of modern music seems to dig lower in frequency and that helps add some punch. Maybe mixers are taking, e.g., some of the bass drum, and pitch-shifting it into the subwoofer range to add feel?

I do find that if you crank it high enough, though, even DR compressed music has punch. But, only if you can stand the average listening level, lol. Here is where I do agree that more DR could be useful, like HDR for images, maybe an analogy for audio that lets some sounds (like the snap of a snare) push through the DRC "ceiling". However, I do wonder if there's a reason they don't already do this....

Maybe they cannot quite simply due to discussion point number 4 above; there exists no way to compress on-the-fly if the system can't overcome the room's noise floor and still playback the punchy peaks without clipping. Whereas, with HDR, tonemapping is a thing (which is related to DRC in audio, IMO).

HDR audio instead of HD audio, anyone, lol....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Worf View Post
But for precompressed music, it can sound like a mess when the soft delicate sounds are as loud as the punchy ones.
It can, and yet it doesn't always. I feel like I hear plenty of "soft delicate sounds" that "punch through" modern music with low DR ratings. This was part of the reason I posted this thread to begin with. There must be tricks experienced mixing / mastering engineers use to stuff all these sounds into a track that result in its having a crappy DR rating, but still having lots of texture with both soft and loud sounds together in the track. Maybe your point is more poignant when dynamic range compression is done badly?
DreamWarrior is offline  
post #10 of 58 Old 02-13-2020, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Forum Special Member
 
DreamWarrior's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Dirty South Jersey
Posts: 2,336
Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1091 Post(s)
Liked: 671
I'm quoting this post from the thread that spawned this one --
Quote:
Originally Posted by psuKinger View Post
I like modern-(ish) music. I'm not *that* old (36). BUT, I personally think there is something cool about music that gets recorded with the band/group in a room, all playing at once, and being picked up by a series of well-placed speakers. This isn't limited to *just* the Chesky Records binauaral recording shtuff... but that's one such example. I tend to find that kind of recording to paint a much clearer *image* for me... good speakers seem to recreate the space when the music is captured that way.
I'm not a mixing engineer, either, but there are so many plugins in Pro Tools these days that if the recording process is done well, I think they can "paint" a soundstage any way the engineer and band want. It really comes down to having well recorded "stems", IMO.
Quote:
Originally Posted by psuKinger View Post
I am not a recording engineer or in the recording industry at all... but it is my perception that (some) modern music involves electronic instruments (guitars, keyboards, or other) hooked directly into the digital data collecting tool... not playing out into the room, where harmonics (*ring and decay*) occur and can be captured... and musicians all play their individual parts and it all gets layered one on top of the other... that's my impression? Could be completely wrong. But I do find that a lot of (not all) modern music doesn't tend to image as well (except for niche-y stuff like Jazz, singer-songwriter, blues, etc) as older stuff does. FWIW.
Indeed it does, in fact a buddy of mine plays drums and still likes to "prototype" his work with electronic samples -- he can compose it rather than play it over and over again. More, he usually winds up using the sampled music on the album because it turns out more complex than he can learn to play well in the available time-frame. This is something his band gets annoyed about when they go to play it live and he has to play it differently until he practices enough, lol.

That said, as mentioned above, if the individual "stems" are recorded well, the mixing engineer can do quite a bit in post! Part of that, certainly, involves creating soundstage and space. It may not (yet) sound as "natural" as something recorded with the aforementioned binaural mic techniques, but I'm sure they are working on it...the Pro Tools plugin market seems to be big!
Quote:
Originally Posted by psuKinger View Post
Any dynamic range does seem to matter, at least to me, in terms of whether or not a song can *move* me. If everything is loud, nothing is loud. That's kind of the whole point, at least in my opinion. A song with a lot of dynamics can really *go somewhere* while it's telling it's story. A song without a lot or dynamic range has to move you without using that (very powerful/useful) tool of growing into a crescendo. Again - not a hater of "modern" music. Grew up loving Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Green Day, etc... didn't spend my teenage years listening to Gordon Lightfoot or Chanticleer on my way to my baseball games. But... there is something very cool about the way Fleetwood Mac or The Eagles *image* in front me, on my best gear, in a way that most "more modern" bands that I like often don't.... TIFWIW.
I find Alice in Chains and Soundgarden music to image very well! I can point to all the individual instruments...maybe it's just the few tracks I gravitate to from those artists that I find good -- been a while since I listened, I'll take suggestions to compare/contrast. I love me some Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles, too -- their Farewell concert disc is a personal favorite! However, the genre is different enough to make it hard for me to do more than see if the instruments seem to have similar separation and positioning...plus, I don't groove to them the same way (I don't find myself toe-tapping to anything by Alice in Chains like I would to, say, "Don't Stop" -- doubt it's because of the lack of DR in AiC, lol).
psuKinger likes this.
DreamWarrior is offline  
post #11 of 58 Old 02-13-2020, 12:42 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Forum Special Member
 
DreamWarrior's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Dirty South Jersey
Posts: 2,336
Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1091 Post(s)
Liked: 671
Quote:
Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
One of the coolest audio processors I've ever owned was a fully variable dynamic range control knob made by DBX called a 117. It makes these preset options on Audyssey products with only three options, min., med., and max. (and only three level inflection points) look like toys.
Looks like this could perform dynamic range expansion to compensate for FM and such. Wonder what it'd do to modern music. How much lipstick can be put on the proverbial "pig" (if you believe modern music to be porcine, lol)?
DreamWarrior is offline  
post #12 of 58 Old 02-13-2020, 12:55 PM
AVS Forum Addicted Member
 
m. zillch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 13,740
Mentioned: 53 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5921 Post(s)
Liked: 4248
Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWarrior View Post
Looks like this could perform dynamic range expansion to compensate for FM and such. Wonder what it'd do to modern music. How much lipstick can be put on the proverbial "pig" (if you believe modern music to be porcine, lol)?

It works spectacularly for all music. I used it for with great success for over a decade, including on CDs, and the only reason I stopped is because all external stereophonic processors (including the common one: an equalizer) have become very difficult if not impossible to properly integrate into a system since we moved from stereo only to 5.1. To do it right you need either an EPL [external processor loop] or a tape monitor loop. Remember those? They no longer exist on 5.1 (or more) systems and are even rare these days on stereo only units!
---

Remember balance control knobs? WTF happened to them?! Gone!
ClawAndTalon likes this.

Last edited by m. zillch; 02-14-2020 at 12:29 PM.
m. zillch is offline  
post #13 of 58 Old 02-13-2020, 01:02 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
ClawAndTalon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Atlanta, GA.
Posts: 1,166
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 585 Post(s)
Liked: 437
Quote:
Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
It works spectacularly for all music. I used it for with great success for over a decade, including on CDs, and the only reason I stopped is because all external stereophonic processors (including the common one: an equalizer) have become very difficult if not impossible to properly integrate into a system since we moved from stereo only to 5.1. To do it right you need ether an EPL [external processor loop] or a tape monitor loop. Remember those? They no longer exist on 5.1 (or more) systems and are even rare these days on stereo only units!

---



Remember balance control knobs? WTF happened to them?! Gone!


Just use it on a stereo rig...


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk



"Most theories on audio and audio reproduction will be proven wrong only when the laws of physics change."
ClawAndTalon is offline  
post #14 of 58 Old 02-13-2020, 01:27 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Forum Special Member
 
DreamWarrior's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Dirty South Jersey
Posts: 2,336
Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1091 Post(s)
Liked: 671
Quote:
Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
It works spectacularly for all music. I used it for with great success for over a decade, including on CDs, and the only reason I stopped is because all external stereophonic processors (including the common one: an equalizer) have become very difficult if not impossible to properly integrate into a system since we moved from stereo only to 5.1. To do it right you need ether an EPL [external processor loop] or a tape monitor loop. Remember those? They no longer exist on 5.1 (or more) systems and are even rare these days on stereo only units!
---

Remember balance control knobs? WTF happened to them?! Gone!
To do it "wrong", can't you put it between the L/R AVR pre-outs (assuming you have them) and an amplifier like many do miniDSP for subs? If you like it that much, all it'd cost you is a two-channel amp and a receiver with pre-outs.
DreamWarrior is offline  
post #15 of 58 Old 02-13-2020, 02:00 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
psuKinger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,816
Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1648 Post(s)
Liked: 727
Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWarrior View Post
I'm quoting this post from the thread that spawned this one --

I'm not a mixing engineer, either, but there are so many plugins in Pro Tools these days that if the recording process is done well, I think they can "paint" a soundstage any way the engineer and band want. It really comes down to having well recorded "stems", IMO.

Indeed it does, in fact a buddy of mine plays drums and still likes to "prototype" his work with electronic samples -- he can compose it rather than play it over and over again. More, he usually winds up using the sampled music on the album because it turns out more complex than he can learn to play well in the available time-frame. This is something his band gets annoyed about when they go to play it live and he has to play it differently until he practices enough, lol.

That said, as mentioned above, if the individual "stems" are recorded well, the mixing engineer can do quite a bit in post! Part of that, certainly, involves creating soundstage and space. It may not (yet) sound as "natural" as something recorded with the aforementioned binaural mic techniques, but I'm sure they are working on it...the Pro Tools plugin market seems to be big!

I find Alice in Chains and Soundgarden music to image very well! I can point to all the individual instruments...maybe it's just the few tracks I gravitate to from those artists that I find good -- been a while since I listened, I'll take suggestions to compare/contrast. I love me some Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles, too -- their Farewell concert disc is a personal favorite! However, the genre is different enough to make it hard for me to do more than see if the instruments seem to have similar separation and positioning...plus, I don't groove to them the same way (I don't find myself toe-tapping to anything by Alice in Chains like I would to, say, "Don't Stop" -- doubt it's because of the lack of DR in AiC, lol).

I don't disagree with a lot of what you said here, and I'm thoroughly enjoying the conversation/topic/debate. As someone who grew up on and still enjoys "modern loud" music, but also has eclectic (and ever-evolving tastes), and also an interest in HiFi gear/gadgets/equipment, there a few things that I think just have to be admitted/conceded/accepted:
1) There is nuance and subtlety to the sound associated with when an acoustic instrument (piano's, acoustic guitars, cello's, trombone's, etc) is played in a real room before being captured by a good microphone. Whether or not someone enjoys those sounds is entirely subjective. But if you do subjectively enjoy it, it is objectively cool to gage how well your hardware and signal chain can recreate those details and nuances... and that kind of stuff is mostly missing when instruments are directly hooked up to the recording equipment.
2) Dynamic range is very much an objective measurable thing... and sure, there's some stuff out now that measures pretty well (Tool, Coheed & Cambria, etc), but (in my experience at least) more of it doesn't than does...


Purely subjectively, I don't disagree with you that AiC, Soundgarden, Rage, etc, can/do image... but I would disagree with you if you are suggesting they image *as well as* Fleetwood Mac. That is not my experience, at least, FWIW.
altpensacola likes this.

Living Room: Sony x940E; Denon x4400h; Ascend Sierra RAAL Tower L/R's and 2EX center, Ascend HTM-200SE Rears, Rythmik F25 sub. NVidia Shield, ATV4k, OPPO UDP-203, CCA.
Basement: Samsung PN58B650 & LN-T4065F (x2); Onkyo TX-NR809; Polk Monitor 70 Series II L/R's, SVS PB-1000 sub. NVidia Shield (x2), Windows Desktop, CCA, Pi running Ropieee.
psuKinger is offline  
post #16 of 58 Old 02-13-2020, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Forum Special Member
 
DreamWarrior's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Dirty South Jersey
Posts: 2,336
Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1091 Post(s)
Liked: 671
Quote:
Originally Posted by psuKinger View Post
I don't disagree with a lot of what you said here, and I'm thoroughly enjoying the conversation/topic/debate. As someone who grew up on and still enjoys "modern loud" music, but also has eclectic (and ever-evolving tastes), and also an interest in HiFi gear/gadgets/equipment, there a few things that I think just have to be admitted/conceded/accepted:

1) There is nuance and subtlety to the sound associated with when an acoustic instrument (piano's, acoustic guitars, cello's, trombone's, etc) is played in a real room before being captured by a good microphone. Whether or not someone enjoys those sounds is entirely subjective. But if you do subjectively enjoy it, it is objectively cool to gage how well your hardware and signal chain can recreate those details and nuances... and that kind of stuff is mostly missing when instruments are directly hooked up to the recording equipment.
Rooms add sound, it's that simple. I think there's an innate "impedance mismatch" between recordings (regardless how they are recorded) having spaciousness and the room you ultimately listen in. Whether or not it sounds anything like the original event, though is pretty much an inevitable "no" at the moment. Sans a completely dead room and enough speakers to simulate any other room within it, I'd presume. Maybe that's where we're heading with Atmos music...? However, I'd guess that same dead room would not do 2-channel well without tons of upmixer assist (and then how well do those "recognize" and "extract" the spaciousness from 2-channel recordings? If history says anything, very few algorithms do an excellent job, and (arguably) some that did are in the trash heap being replaced by lesser variants)!
Quote:
Originally Posted by psuKinger View Post
2) Dynamic range is very much an objective measurable thing... and sure, there's some stuff out now that measures pretty well (Tool, Coheed & Cambria, etc), but (in my experience at least) more of it doesn't than does...
And yet, it all sounds pretty good to me, lol. I'm still pretty stuck on trying to correlate DR to good sound...and whether or not spectrally complex sound requires low DR to make sure all the tracks embedded in the 2-channel container can be heard without masking one another too much.

Which leads me to....
Quote:
Originally Posted by psuKinger View Post
Purely subjectively, I don't disagree with you that AiC, Soundgarden, Rage, etc, can/do image... but I would disagree with you if you are suggesting they image *as well as* Fleetwood Mac. That is not my experience, at least, FWIW.
Yes and no. They image...differently. Have you listened to the new Of Mice & Men album Earthandsky? The track, "Mushroom Cloud" has a ton of stuff going on -- in fact, it was so intense the first time I heard it I was almost shoved back in my chair and couldn't move. I could probably (memory hazy on exactness) count dozens of "point-sources" throughout the piece. While the soundstage wasn't "outside my speakers" wide, I could track and point to these individual sounds all across the front of my room.

Which is to say, The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac are, unarguably, IMO, "simpler" recordings. There is nowhere near the level of production going on in those tracks; they paint a different kind of picture. Sure, I can point to the guitars and the singers, and the drums (individually, sometimes), but there's no more than that to worry about. So, I'd posit that it's a much easier job to mix and maintain dynamics because there is less "in fighting" going on between tracks. Something like the OM&M album has just as many instruments and then layers all sorts of electronic sounds on top of them, many of them with their own spot in the soundstage.

My curiosity wants to answer, "can we have both?" And, as noted in previous posts, I'm "not sure" because at some point you can only stuff so much in a bag until you have to squeeze it to fit more....I wonder if the same analogy doesn't hold up mixing music.
DreamWarrior is offline  
post #17 of 58 Old 02-13-2020, 03:14 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 1,852
Mentioned: 50 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1213 Post(s)
Liked: 1437
Just about everything you could possibly want to know has been addressed by Bob Katz, a brilliant mastering engineer and prolific writer. I had the pleasure of working with and learning from Bob many years ago when I hired him to master two CD projects I recorded and mixed. He was kind enough to allow me to ask questions while we worked. It was a very educational (and long) two days.

https://www.digido.com/articles/

https://www.digido.com/honor-roll/

https://www.digido.com/frequently-asked-questions-faqs/
garygreyh and DreamWarrior like this.

Last edited by Rex Anderson; 02-13-2020 at 03:22 PM.
Rex Anderson is offline  
post #18 of 58 Old 02-13-2020, 03:19 PM
AVS Forum Addicted Member
 
m. zillch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 13,740
Mentioned: 53 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5921 Post(s)
Liked: 4248
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClawAndTalon View Post
Just use it on a stereo rig...
Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWarrior View Post
To do it "wrong", can't you put it between the L/R AVR pre-outs (assuming you have them) and an amplifier like many do miniDSP for subs? If you like it that much, all it'd cost you is a two-channel amp and a receiver with pre-outs.
Unlike an equalizer where you tell it: "Take all music, regardless of level, and amplify the octave between 100Hz and 200 Hz by 3 dB", the premise of this device, called a "compander" (a contraction of compressor/expander) is quite a bit different and it has to be calibrated for incoming level. If that level varies day to day you are in trouble.

Say you set it for "Expand the dynamic range by 20%". You are actually telling it: "Take all incoming voltages below this arbitrary value I've dialed in today, say 1V, and play them artificially too quietly, and conversely take any values above this 1V point and play them too loudly. Bingo: expanded dynamic range. [I call this transition level, 1V in this case, the "inflection point".]

There are two problems with this when placed between a preamp out and power amp in, although it can be done. One is it only works well and there's no need for re-calibration if you play your music at the same volume level every single listening session [No volume control for you!] and it assumes all your source devices, CD, DACs, TV, Phono, etc. are all the same level too.

It works best in an environment where the incoming voltages are the same or at least pretty close session to session, like in a line level tape monitor loop. This way you calibrate the inflection voltage once and you are done.
DreamWarrior likes this.

Last edited by m. zillch; 02-13-2020 at 03:40 PM.
m. zillch is offline  
post #19 of 58 Old 02-13-2020, 04:44 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
psuKinger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,816
Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1648 Post(s)
Liked: 727
I've enjoyed the conversation, and I'm perfectly content with "agree to disagree on this, but:

Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWarrior View Post
Rooms add sound, it's that simple.
I don't think it's that simple at all. I find it to be a fairly substantial over-simplification of the extent to which real instruments played in real rooms *ring* and *decay* with extra harmonics, that can be picked up by a microphone *before* they go into the data acquisition system... a "direct pipe" out of an "electric instrument" doesn't *miss* on capturing those sorts of nuances... they never existed to miss on.

Those sorts of nuances aren't your bag? That's cool. Not a problem at all. Completely subjective/personal preference regarding what one does/doesn't like. But acoustic instruments result in those sorts of sounds that create those sorts of harmonics for more reasons than just that they were played in a room; if you allowed an electric guitar to play in the room, *ring* the room, and then capture that sound, rather than having him play directly into the computer, it woulnd't result in those sorts of extra harmonics.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWarrior View Post
Yes and no. They image...differently. Have you listened to the new Of Mice & Men album Earthandsky? The track, "Mushroom Cloud" has a ton of stuff going on -- in fact, it was so intense the first time I heard it I was almost shoved back in my chair and couldn't move. I could probably (memory hazy on exactness) count dozens of "point-sources" throughout the piece. While the soundstage wasn't "outside my speakers" wide, I could track and point to these individual sounds all across the front of my room.

Which is to say, The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac are, unarguably, IMO, "simpler" recordings. There is nowhere near the level of production going on in those tracks; they paint a different kind of picture. Sure, I can point to the guitars and the singers, and the drums (individually, sometimes), but there's no more than that to worry about. So, I'd posit that it's a much easier job to mix and maintain dynamics because there is less "in fighting" going on between tracks. Something like the OM&M album has just as many instruments and then layers all sorts of electronic sounds on top of them, many of them with their own spot in the soundstage.
I'm not familiar with that. And I'm not saying modern music *can't* or *doesn't* image. But I am a firm believer that by-and-large and overall, music (regardless of age) in which musicians stand in front of a microphone and all play together, rather than individually directly into a computer, result in a better, cleaner, more detailed image. All else being equal (equally talented post production engineers working on equally capable computers and using the same software), people playing together on stage, with a sense of directivity captured by the recording mic, will paint a better image IMO.

Living Room: Sony x940E; Denon x4400h; Ascend Sierra RAAL Tower L/R's and 2EX center, Ascend HTM-200SE Rears, Rythmik F25 sub. NVidia Shield, ATV4k, OPPO UDP-203, CCA.
Basement: Samsung PN58B650 & LN-T4065F (x2); Onkyo TX-NR809; Polk Monitor 70 Series II L/R's, SVS PB-1000 sub. NVidia Shield (x2), Windows Desktop, CCA, Pi running Ropieee.
psuKinger is offline  
post #20 of 58 Old 02-14-2020, 06:31 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
ClawAndTalon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Atlanta, GA.
Posts: 1,166
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 585 Post(s)
Liked: 437
Quote:
Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
Unlike an equalizer where you tell it: "Take all music, regardless of level, and amplify the octave between 100Hz and 200 Hz by 3 dB", the premise of this device, called a "compander" (a contraction of compressor/expander) is quite a bit different and it has to be calibrated for incoming level. If that level varies day to day you are in trouble.



Say you set it for "Expand the dynamic range by 20%". You are actually telling it: "Take all incoming voltages below this arbitrary value I've dialed in today, say 1V, and play them artificially too quietly, and conversely take any values above this 1V point and play them too loudly. Bingo: expanded dynamic range. [I call this transition level, 1V in this case, the "inflection point".]



There are two problems with this when placed between a preamp out and power amp in, although it can be done. One is it only works well and there's no need for re-calibration if you play your music at the same volume level every single listening session [No volume control for you!] and it assumes all your source devices, CD, DACs, TV, Phono, etc. are all the same level too.



It works best in an environment where the incoming voltages are the same or at least pretty close session to session, like in a line level tape monitor loop. This way you calibrate the inflection voltage once and you are done.


Most streaming services have volume matching, so that would help if you had one streaming device going in, level matches per Apple Music for instance.

That said, it seems the that fact you can’t change the volume would mean that you need to find out what calibration works at what volume, and pick say three volume levels, adjust the volume, and go to that setting.

That said, this sounds really intriguing. DBX was always ahead of the game it seemed.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk



"Most theories on audio and audio reproduction will be proven wrong only when the laws of physics change."
ClawAndTalon is offline  
post #21 of 58 Old 02-14-2020, 07:01 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
ClawAndTalon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Atlanta, GA.
Posts: 1,166
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 585 Post(s)
Liked: 437
Quote:
Originally Posted by psuKinger View Post
I've enjoyed the conversation, and I'm perfectly content with "agree to disagree on this, but:







I don't think it's that simple at all. I find it to be a fairly substantial over-simplification of the extent to which real instruments played in real rooms *ring* and *decay* with extra harmonics, that can be picked up by a microphone *before* they go into the data acquisition system... a "direct pipe" out of an "electric instrument" doesn't *miss* on capturing those sorts of nuances... they never existed to miss on.



Those sorts of nuances aren't your bag? That's cool. Not a problem at all. Completely subjective/personal preference regarding what one does/doesn't like. But acoustic instruments result in those sorts of sounds that create those sorts of harmonics for more reasons than just that they were played in a room; if you allowed an electric guitar to play in the room, *ring* the room, and then capture that sound, rather than having him play directly into the computer, it woulnd't result in those sorts of extra harmonics.









I'm not familiar with that. And I'm not saying modern music *can't* or *doesn't* image. But I am a firm believer that by-and-large and overall, music (regardless of age) in which musicians stand in front of a microphone and all play together, rather than individually directly into a computer, result in a better, cleaner, more detailed image. All else being equal (equally talented post production engineers working on equally capable computers and using the same software), people playing together on stage, with a sense of directivity captured by the recording mic, will paint a better image IMO.


Are you familiar with the Floyd Toole “Circle of Confusion” presentation?

Studio recording set ups and studio rooms, and the mastering approaches used differ in a kaleidoscope of different ways. You can’t just say a band playing into a mic is best. *That* is oversimplistic.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk



"Most theories on audio and audio reproduction will be proven wrong only when the laws of physics change."
ClawAndTalon is offline  
post #22 of 58 Old 02-14-2020, 07:11 AM
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Central, PA
Posts: 181
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 104 Post(s)
Liked: 228
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Anderson View Post
Just about everything you could possibly want to know has been addressed by Bob Katz, a brilliant mastering engineer and prolific writer. I had the pleasure of working with and learning from Bob many years ago when I hired him to master two CD projects I recorded and mixed. He was kind enough to allow me to ask questions while we worked. It was a very educational (and long) two days.

https://www.digido.com/articles/

https://www.digido.com/honor-roll/

https://www.digido.com/frequently-asked-questions-faqs/

Hi Rex,


Don't think I've bumped into you here since the 10,000 page "How to Choose a Loudspeaker" thread. LOL


Recently, I've been following this thread and was just going to post the link to Bob Katz site. You beat me to it. Anyone that's interested in this topic should check out the links that Rex posted.

For a very quick and dramatic example of what's wrong with the state of today's overly compressed music, click the first link and then scroll down to "Matt Mayfield: The Loudness War".
Rex Anderson likes this.

Last edited by garygreyh; 02-14-2020 at 08:03 AM.
garygreyh is offline  
post #23 of 58 Old 02-14-2020, 08:41 AM
AVS Forum Addicted Member
 
DonH50's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Monument CO
Posts: 12,498
Mentioned: 73 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3360 Post(s)
Liked: 3516
Matt has a pretty good demonstration of what it does to the music here:

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
DonH50 is offline  
post #24 of 58 Old 02-14-2020, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
AVS Forum Special Member
 
DreamWarrior's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Dirty South Jersey
Posts: 2,336
Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1091 Post(s)
Liked: 671
Quote:
Originally Posted by psuKinger View Post
I've enjoyed the conversation, and I'm perfectly content with "agree to disagree on this, but:

I don't think it's that simple at all. I find it to be a fairly substantial over-simplification of the extent to which real instruments played in real rooms *ring* and *decay* with extra harmonics, that can be picked up by a microphone *before* they go into the data acquisition system... a "direct pipe" out of an "electric instrument" doesn't *miss* on capturing those sorts of nuances... they never existed to miss on.*snip*
I don't want to agree to disagree -- I want to get to the bottom of the issue, lol. Maybe it's "less simple" than just the room, I'm sure the microphone adds sonic signature, too...I mean, a mic is an inverse speaker and we know speakers add sonic signature!

That said, other than what the mic and room add, what else is "missed" when input directly? If the answer is "nothing" then all we need is electronics (or Pro Tools plugins) to "simulate" those things (the room and mic). Do you believe these "simulators" can't be created (assuming they don't already exist, and I'm not so sure on that)?
DreamWarrior is offline  
post #25 of 58 Old 02-14-2020, 11:26 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 1,852
Mentioned: 50 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1213 Post(s)
Liked: 1437
Quote:
Originally Posted by garygreyh View Post
Hi Rex,

Don't think I've bumped into you here since the 10,000 page "How to Choose a Loudspeaker" thread. LOL.

Recently, I've been following this thread and was just going to post the link to Bob Katz site. You beat me to it. Anyone that's interested in this topic should check out the links that Rex posted.

For a very quick and dramatic example of what's wrong with the state of today's overly compressed music, click the first link and then scroll down to "Matt Mayfield: The Loudness War".
Hey Gary!

I was going to suggest you add your input to this thread if you have time. I'm too busy to add anything right now, but will post something over the weekend.
Rex Anderson is offline  
post #26 of 58 Old 02-14-2020, 01:22 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
ClawAndTalon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Atlanta, GA.
Posts: 1,166
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 585 Post(s)
Liked: 437
Give Me Your Worst! Is Dynamic Range Compression Really the Devil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWarrior View Post
I don't want to agree to disagree -- I want to get to the bottom of the issue, lol. Maybe it's "less simple" than just the room, I'm sure the microphone adds sonic signature, too...I mean, a mic is an inverse speaker and we know speakers add sonic signature!

That said, other than what the mic and room add, what else is "missed" when input directly? If the answer is "nothing" then all we need is electronics (or Pro Tools plugins) to "simulate" those things (the room and mic). Do you believe these "simulators" can't be created (assuming they don't already exist, and I'm not so sure on that)?
Mics have many many magnitudes of recording accuracy vs speakers, but they represent one single point. We have two ears, so placing miced music above electrical music begs an immediate question.

This was have a major confusion point in audio which Toole called the Circle of Confusion.

The idea that unplugged instruments will sound better due to the room they are recorded in interacting makes a litany of assumptions. How treated is the studio, and how many microphones, etc. AND what's done in the mixing room whether it's electric or not which assumes that synthetic effects like reverb, decay, ringing etc can't be introduced to electric music; spoiler alert, they can.

That all said, yes, the acoustical advantage exists, and yes, it has a name. Simply put, acoustic media can use all the headroom allowed in digital mastering, and this is simply not something electric rock bands can do. Peak limiting used in the Loudness Wars made this even worse. But even if we go back to the LP days of dynamic range, there's still an acoustical advantage.

This is a big reason many audiophiles gravitate to this music. I know many who didn’t give a flip for it until they found this hobby. I am reminds of the joke that audiophiles are people who use your music to listen to their equipment. Yes, Diana Krall sounds great, and you'll hear her music at every boutique hifi store coast to coast. And people like it because it has little choice but to sound great.



"Most theories on audio and audio reproduction will be proven wrong only when the laws of physics change."

Last edited by ClawAndTalon; 02-14-2020 at 01:37 PM.
ClawAndTalon is offline  
post #27 of 58 Old 02-14-2020, 02:16 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Central, PA
Posts: 181
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 104 Post(s)
Liked: 228
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Anderson View Post
Hey Gary!

I was going to suggest you add your input to this thread if you have time. I'm too busy to add anything right now, but will post something over the weekend.

Too busy is a concept I'm all too familiar with.



There's a lot to unpack in this thread. A number of concepts are being discussed and most are solidly in the ballpark, but there does need to be some clarification from a technical perspective here and there. The philosophical component of all of this is also interesting and worthy of discussion / debate. That said, If I spend tonight with AVS Forum instead of my lovely wife, this will most certainly be my final contribution to the site.


Tomorrow is a 16 hour show day, but the band is touring with an engineer so I'll mostly be babysitting the PA and assisting as needed. Hopefully, I'll find some downtime and go back through this thread and contribute where I think it may be beneficial to the conversation.



Until then....
ClawAndTalon likes this.
garygreyh is offline  
post #28 of 58 Old 02-14-2020, 02:32 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 1,852
Mentioned: 50 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1213 Post(s)
Liked: 1437
^^ Enjoy your time with your lovely wife you lucky dog. Hope the show is good and you get to kick back and enjoy the music. Don't hold back if you need to tell the band's engineer the mix needs more cowbell....
garygreyh and ClawAndTalon like this.
Rex Anderson is offline  
post #29 of 58 Old 02-14-2020, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Forum Special Member
 
DreamWarrior's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Dirty South Jersey
Posts: 2,336
Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1091 Post(s)
Liked: 671
First, I want to say thanks to @Rex Anderson and @garygreyh ! To have industry pros in this thread is most awesome and I look forward to your contributions!

I am sure there are things I'm not 100% correct on! Honestly, I posted this both to learn and because I really do find a lot of modern "compressed to death" music to sound exceptional. So much so that, if all I looked at was something like DR database to determine what is "quality music", I'd miss out on A LOT OF GOOD STUFF! Sure, it may not be "dynamic", but it certainly sounds well engineered and "textured" to me! Definitely far from "nails on a chalkboard" as many "audiophiles" describe this stuff. Admittedly that could be personal taste or, maybe, my system isn't as "resolving" as I think, lol; I'm sure that'll be the "audiophile" argument (I'll also throw my ears under the bus, lol...I'm certain they are far from pristine!).

I suppose a side-agenda is that I really wonder if many modern tunes really do sound "like crap" on many "lesser" systems. As I said, I didn't have this same experience with the music prior (and I was using all the same gear, as noted in the original post, just in a different, much less ideally configured due to WAF, room). And, before folks get bent out of shape, please know that by "lesser" I don't mean the gear, its cost, or anything else besides how the system measures in room (i.e., how well does it circumvent the "Circle Of Confusion" through "proper" calibration).

Put another way, it's really hard to believe every tune on the DR database that is "red" was mixed and listened to by "deaf engineers" who "don't know what they are doing" and sounded "like crap" in their studio. I mean, that is a LOT of music to screw up! It's much easier to believe it sounded good (though maybe not as dynamic) and "looks" like crap because there are tons of sounds (some electronically generated) "blended" together into something that could never have been cut to vinyl; "fortunately" it no longer has to be.

The rest of my "agenda" here is to determine:

1) If measured DR has any true correlation to "good recordings" as "audiophiles" would have us believe. IMO, "heck no".

2) If it's "better" to play back "spectrally complex" (please, help me find a better term if this is inaccurate) music on "better" systems while "lesser" systems have a harder time playing it back than "simpler" music because, e.g., there's "so much more going on" (i.e., "spectrally complex").

In other words, does modern music sound "like crap" not due to less DR but simply because it is "spectrally complex" and "lesser" systems have too much "distortion" (used generically to include room induced distortions and colorations due either to "house curves" or the gear (probably speakers) that "season" to a "conflicting taste"). These "distortions" get in the way of this music sounding "good", despite having similar (but less audible or even audible and enjoyable) impact on "simpler" recordings (e.g., "classical music sounds great on these speakers, but nothing else").

3) If we can mix modern "spectrally complex" music and maintain excellent dynamic range (i.e., can we really "stuff" so much "spectrum" into our music and not compress it, but still hear all of it).

I know some of this is "nebulous", and I'm certainly willing to try to nail it down more. But, overall, I suppose I just can't wrap my head around what a "music quality metric" would be despite feeling pretty good that measuring dynamic range alone isn't it!
DreamWarrior is offline  
post #30 of 58 Old 02-14-2020, 03:59 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Forum Special Member
 
DreamWarrior's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Dirty South Jersey
Posts: 2,336
Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1091 Post(s)
Liked: 671
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClawAndTalon View Post
Mics have many many magnitudes of recording accuracy vs speakers, but they represent one single point. We have two ears, so placing miced music above electrical music begs an immediate question.

This was have a major confusion point in audio which Toole called the Circle of Confusion.
Not sure what you mean by this, however I think the "Circle of Confusion" can be summed up pretty much like this, "either measure and calibrate audio (both in the studio and home) just like we do video or be forever doomed to live and die in the circle...confused, lol".
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClawAndTalon View Post
The idea that unplugged instruments will sound better due to the room they are recorded in interacting makes a litany of assumptions. How treated is the studio, and how many microphones, etc. AND what's done in the mixing room whether it's electric or not which assumes that synthetic effects like reverb, decay, ringing etc can't be introduced to electric music; spoiler alert, they can.
I agree there...you can either record the room: or a) record the instruments directly (direct-input or close-mic'd); or, b) generate the sound. In either a or b case, there exist several devices and plugins whose goals are to "simulate" "the room".
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClawAndTalon View Post
That all said, yes, the acoustical advantage exists, and yes, it has a name. Simply put, acoustic media can use all the headroom allowed in digital mastering, and this is simply not something electric rock bands can do. Peak limiting used in the Loudness Wars made this even worse. But even if we go back to the LP days of dynamic range, there's still an acoustical advantage.
I don't really understand what you're trying to say here, so, I can't comment, only try to ask you to clarify. What "acoustical advantage" does it have and what is "acoustic media" and why can't "electric rock bands" "do it" (well, actually, what is "it" they can't do?). Sorry, I'm just failing hard to parse this part of your post.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClawAndTalon View Post
This is a big reason many audiophiles gravitate to this music. I know many who didn’t give a flip for it until they found this hobby. I am reminds of the joke that audiophiles are people who use your music to listen to their equipment. Yes, Diana Krall sounds great, and you'll hear her music at every boutique hifi store coast to coast. And people like it because it has little choice but to sound great.
Gravitate to binaurally recorded music? I think they gravitate to music that makes their gear sound good (like you said) and dismiss anything that doesn't as "crap". Then find excuses for why it is "crap", e.g., it has terrible DR and so, avoid, avoid, avoid! Plus, it gives them an out when it sounds like "crap" on their gear -- "see, told you it was "crap" look at the DR!"
DreamWarrior is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply Audio Theory, Setup, and Chat

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off