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J.L.

Re: Neil Young And PureTone

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Hello everyone...

I recently completed reading Neil's book "Waging Heavy Peace" and was quite intrigued by his new concept of PureTone. He was saying that the MP3's that are out there contain only a minute amount of the original recording (I think he mentioned less than 5%) and that compact disc's contain only around maybe 15% of the original recordings. This is completely amazing!!!!!!!! He was saying how sorry he felt for everyone who listens to these MP3's and CD's and what they are missing from the original recordings and what the artist wants you the listener to hear. He was also saying that what he remembers listening to years ago on LP's sounded much better than what we are currently be fed to listen to.

I'm sure that there is a "bottom line" to this new idea of PureTone and that's ok as long as you get what you pay for, meaning all this sound that Neil says is missing from todays music. I don't know if this new format, or whatever it is called, is available as of yet, but it does have my attention.

What are your thoughts Klipsch Forum members??

P.S.---- Moved the KG 5.5's to a different listening area and am loving these things still!!!!! New titanium tweets might still be settling in, but all I know is that I love these speakers!!!!! On some music, I think I still prefer my old Yamaha NS 500M's, but it is a refreshing change listening to the 5.5's !!!! I think I'm hearing stuff I may not have heard before..... (nice....)

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Neil is very interested in good sound, and has sometimes updated all his archives to the current highest-res format.

He described his PureTone idea in an interview on Letterman, but there's an issue with ownership of the name, so he's going with "Pono", which means "Righteous" in Hawaiian.

This page lets you know if anything new is happening with the idea: http://www.mypono.com/about/

Linn is not too crazy about the idea: http://www.whathifi.com/news/neil-youngs-hi-res-audio-service-will-lead-to-ridicule-and-failure

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Unless this is some sort of religious belief subject, i.e., high resolution digital files vs. Red Book CD files, the results of every test that I've seen says that even among "golden ear experts", the ability of every group of listeners to pick out the high resolution files from Red Book CD files being played back using good acoustics rooms and reproduction equipment, has been pretty much 50% random probability--which means that the groups cannot hear the difference. This has been my experience, too.

[Note that ~100% of all new vinyl recordings today are produced from digital recordings, which are then converted to analog output and impressed in the vinyl masters--the last part being a process that also degrades the recording quality that you hear.]

I find that the greatest factor in recording are the recording/mixing/mastering engineers and their practices. And this subject is getting much worse with the nearly 100% squashing of dynamics on all popular music digital audio files. Thankfully, classical and other non-pop genres don't suffer from this disease yet. This has been documented here and here.

Bottom line: I find what Neil Young is saying to be crazy, aimed at people who want to believe what he is saying. I'm sorry to say this but I believe Neil Young apparently doesn't want truth, rather he wants his view on the subject to be true regardless of the facts. Perhaps his hearing has been irrevocably damaged since the 1960s. I didn't attend many rock concerts when I was in my youth and still I contend with age-related declines in hearing performance, like everyone on the planet currently does or will experience (if they survive to middle age).

I do recommend keeping your eye of the DR Database Ratings for each recording and each version of each recording: differences in DR Ratings ARE very audible, and are under the full control of the people doing the recording and producing. Some firms, such as Chesky and HDTracks are going the opposite direction, thankfully. Buy those recordings, But the exact format of lossless audio files that they sell isn't important, rather its the human processes that are involved in the production stream that count. Digital audio files cannot withstand the damaging practices of these people, especially digital files, which are able to be misused much more than analog (vinyl) recordings.

I also find that there are there are many unsophisticated listeners nowadays that actually prefer their music to be squashed so that they can listen to it on cheap earbuds from poorly converted mp3 files and on automobile stereos going down the road--which is a very noisy environment that isn't conducive to hi-fi. They like not having to turn the volume up and down to compensate for the lack of dynamic range in their reproduction electronics/hardware and the noisy environments that they try to listen to music in.

Just my $0.02...YMMV.

Chris

Edited by Cask05

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Bottom line: I find what Neil Young is saying to be crazy, aimed at people who want to believe what he is saying. I'm sorry to say this but I believe Neil Young apparently doesn't want truth, rather he wants his view on the subject to be true regardless of the facts. Perhaps his hearing has been irrevocably damaged since the 1960s.

Agreed!

I do recommend keeping your eye of the DR Database Ratings for each recording and each version of each recording: differences in DR Ratings ARE very audible, and are under the full control of the people doing the recording and producing.

Totally agree, and I thank you once again Chris for having brought this website to my attention in the past. I used it as a guide for my recent purchase of Michael Hedges - Aerial Boundaries on CD. :blink: Reference quality stuff right there.

I also find that there are there are many unsophisticated listeners nowadays....

Yep. This has also been my experience. You can tell who's already deaf when an ambulance rolls down the street with the sirens at full-tilt and the majority of public simply stand there and watch, where as the blessed few are wincing, ducking down, turning away, and plugging their ears in response to the pain.

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Neil Young is not "crazy." That's excessive and ridiculous. Supporters of high resolution music are just as legion as those who believe in red book's sufficiency, and they can each easily employ convenient "science" to bolster their position.

Consider what harm Neil is causing with his fidelity crusade. Is he harming anything but his wallet? I think not. It is true that he is a bit misguided, and can certainly be overzealous, but he is highlighting the importance of quality sound. We should all applaud that. Industry producers and engineers are about to award him a Grammy for it.

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It is hard to find good recordings, they are few and far inbetween.

I would certainly pay more for an album that is recorded well but not 10 times as much, maybe if it was one of my favorites i would be willing to pay out but of course there would be limits forking out much $ for something that should sound right to begin with.

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It is hard to find good recordings, they are few and far in-between...i would be willing to pay out but of course there would be limits forking out much $ for something that should sound right to begin with.

This is my view also. I actually go one step further: I think that the musicians themselves should have the right to have their recordings produced without the "remastering enhancements" which for me is synonymous with damaging the original recordings. I don't think that the recording industry folks respect that - and in that subject area, I can agree with Mr. Young. However, his focus on music production format is without merit for me, it's about the total chain of people that have recorded and produced the music and their ideas about what they should be doing.

Perhaps the democratization of the music industry by the musicians themselves doing their own music production work using Pro Tools at home isn't such a bad thing. There is more music and more music being produced without crazy music industry culture that professes that all recording must be "enhanced". I disagree with this cultural norm, and strongly.

Chris

Edited by Cask05

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Neil Young is not "crazy." That's excessive and ridiculous.

I'm pretty certain no one here is implying that. I was agreeing with Chris pertaining to what Mr. Young says in particular reference to current audio technologies.

I certainly have no quarrel with the man's pursuit of communicating the importance of quality. He has a way about him:

http://www.thatericalper.com/2013/10/19/awesome-story-how-neil-young-introduced-his-classic-1972-album-harvest-to-graham-nash/

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This is one of the great reasons for joining this forum. All the input that its members bring!!!! It just gives so many opinions to a certain topic that I would never get from where I live!!!! (out in the boonies) Most people around where I live wouldn't give a crap about good sound from their music. Just as long as it's clear, that's about it...

And my mistake on the PureTone... I forgot that it had to be re-named as Pono. I did read that part of the book, but in MY middle age, I forgot.... Thanks for the correction.

I must have pretty good ears though, as I wince when hearing an emergency vehicle go by with its siren blaring. I take my ear safety very seriously!!!!!!! I ALWAYS wear earplugs for whatever type of powered equipment I operate. I'm afraid that what I hear and what everyone on the forum hears, may be two different things. Sound is so complicated.... I would love to hear music (of any type) through any of the forum's member's ears, but that is impossible. I bet what I think is an absolutely great sounding CD, Neil Young and many of my Klipsch Forum compadres would say is only so-so or even worse. I wish I could come and listen to one of your great systems with your Klipsch speakers, as I'm sure I would be impressed.

To ramble a bit, I remember when I was young and went to a very nice audio shop in Corning, NY called Chemung Electronics, there was music coming from the upstairs of the shop and I said to the guy downstairs "that sounds like Fleetwood Mac playing up there!!!!!".... he said to go on up and listen, and I did... wow!!!!!!!!.... what a sound!!!!! It really did sound like a live performance of Fleetwood Mac!!!!

I couldn't believe it..... I was already a young audiophile at the time, but couldn't believe what I was seeing at that store... AND what I was hearing!!!!!!!.... I was in love!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know my system is nowhere near that system, but I do like the sound of mine.... it makes me happy.... and I would love to hear what PONO would sound like through my system!!!!.... I just wonder a little now after what has been said, if I would be one of the ones that would hear the difference or not???..... Would love to find out though....

I would think too that ole Neil must have suffered some sort of hearing loss after all the years of playing loud music. I played in a band for 11 years or so, and I'm sure I've done some damage to mine, but great sounding music from my stereo is still there, even after all that.... It's been a long time ago since the band I was in, so maybe some of the damage I may have received, has gone away....

But I'm digressing.....

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Could Neil have been talking about Pono being used as a replacement for portable MP3s, not as a replacement for CDs and DVDs in home use?

As for Linn, they have their own hi-res download business that they're promoting, so that might explain their attitude about Pono.

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I find it confusing that Neil suggests today's recordings only have 5-15% of the original music in them. That would make them unlistenable as I understand those numbers. So I am thinking there is some missing information from what Neil is talking about.

Edited by mark1101

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Unless this is some sort of religious belief subject, i.e., high resolution digital files vs. Red Book CD files, the results of every test that I've seen says that even among "golden ear experts", the ability of every group of listeners to pick out the high resolution files from Red Book CD files being played back using good acoustics rooms and reproduction equipment, has been pretty much 50% random probability--which means that the groups cannot hear the difference. This has been my experience, too.

[Note that ~100% of all new vinyl recordings today are produced from digital recordings, which are then converted to analog output and impressed in the vinyl masters--the last part being a process that also degrades the recording quality that you hear.]

I find that the greatest factor in recording are the recording/mixing/mastering engineers and their practices. And this subject is getting much worse with the nearly 100% squashing of dynamics on all popular music digital audio files. Thankfully, classical and other non-pop genres don't suffer from this disease yet. This has been documented here and here.

Bottom line: I find what Neil Young is saying to be crazy, aimed at people who want to believe what he is saying. I'm sorry to say this but I believe Neil Young apparently doesn't want truth, rather he wants his view on the subject to be true regardless of the facts. Perhaps his hearing has been irrevocably damaged since the 1960s. I didn't attend many rock concerts when I was in my youth and still I contend with age-related declines in hearing performance, like everyone on the planet currently does or will experience (if they survive to middle age).

I do recommend keeping your eye of the DR Database Ratings for each recording and each version of each recording: differences in DR Ratings ARE very audible, and are under the full control of the people doing the recording and producing. Some firms, such as Chesky and HDTracks are going the opposite direction, thankfully. Buy those recordings, But the exact format of lossless audio files that they sell isn't important, rather its the human processes that are involved in the production stream that count. Digital audio files cannot withstand the damaging practices of these people, especially digital files, which are able to be misused much more than analog (vinyl) recordings.

I also find that there are there are many unsophisticated listeners nowadays that actually prefer their music to be squashed so that they can listen to it on cheap earbuds from poorly converted mp3 files and on automobile stereos going down the road--which is a very noisy environment that isn't conducive to hi-fi. They like not having to turn the volume up and down to compensate for the lack of dynamic range in their reproduction electronics/hardware and the noisy environments that they try to listen to music in.

Just my $0.02...YMMV.

Chris

Hmmm...who to take notice of...Chris??...or...Neil Young??...My money is on Neil, he at least is offering hope.

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I finally ran a couple of CDs through the DR utility. A Train CD (like hearing the songs on the radio) that was given to me. Nine of the songs are 'over' clipped flat. It is unlistenable on my system. James Taylor's October Road is very good with an overall DR rating of 11. I can listen over and over again.

Just ran the DR utility on a Mercury Living Presence CD of a 1950s Respighi recording. A DR12 rating. I have listened to this almost every day for weeks. Always pleasant!

Chris and I have disagreed on a number of things, but this one we certainly agree on. I have some wonderful Redbook CDs that are great. However, I also think there are things in a higher resolution recording that, although not heard, provide aural cues and a sense of realism that we can't really explain.

Bruce

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...James Taylor's October Road is very good with an overall DR rating of 11. I can listen over and over again...Just ran the DR utility on a Mercury Living Presence CD of a 1950s Respighi recording. A DR12 rating. I have listened to this almost every day for weeks. Always pleasant!

...I also think there are things in a higher resolution recording that, although not heard, provide aural cues and a sense of realism that we can't really explain.

Bruce

Concur with your assessment of October Road and Respighi Ancient Dances & Airs CDs. Those two discs happen to be favorites of mine also (I acquired the Respighi CD due to your recommendation.)

I find that multi-channel SACDs, DVD-As and Blu-Ray music discs typically have a dramatically enhancing effect over two-channel discs--as long as their dynamics aren't squashed.

Chris

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Could someone explain the DR Database website to me in brief??
Is the higher the number for each of the three categories equal to a better sounding CD??

----J.L.

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Higher numbers mean higher dynamic range on the loudest parts of each track, i.e. better sounding if using horn-loaded drivers with low modulation distortion and driver compression.

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OK...

Thanks Cask05...

I think I know what you mean.... but I can see, there is much to be learned here....

----J.L.

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It's a rare speaker that can only handle 6dB of DR!

But it's not uncommon to find a entire system that would struggle with anything over 6 dB in application.

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When you consider the difference in file size between the same song on CD, DVD, and in MP3 format, you can see that a lot of data, meaning music, is missing from the MP3 file. For playing in a car with the window open, or through earbuds on the subway or on a noisy street, MP3s are fine, but not for listening at home.

As for CD versus DVD, if you have the same recording in both formats, the difference is unmistakable. The DVD sounds much more realistic. To get back to Neil Young, his Live at Massey Hall 1971 recording comes with in CD and DVD discs in the deluxe package (only $2 more to get the DVD), and there are instructions on the DVD for how to set your disc player.

I've mentioned that DVD a number of times in the past, because it's the best recording of an acoustic performance that I've ever heard, and every visitor that has heard it on my system agrees. Until I heard that, I had no idea of the subtleties and nuances in Neil's piano and guitar playing, and the control in his voice. He is really skilled, but in decades of hearing him on CDs, LPs, and over the radio, it was never so obvious as it is on that DVD. It really is a night-and-day difference.

Neil used very little bandwidth for video, since it's grainy and looks like it was shot with an 8 mm camera. Some is home movie footage of his ranch, some is contrasty low-saturation footage of his performance, and some shows just a reel-to-reel deck on a chair with the reels turning. It appears that he maximized what the DVD format could do on the audio side at the expense of the video part. That's a very acceptable trade-off in this instance.

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...As for CD versus DVD, if you have the same recording in both formats, the difference is unmistakable. The DVD sounds much more realistic. To get back to Neil Young, his Live at Massey Hall 1971 recording comes with in CD and DVD discs in the deluxe package ...I've mentioned that DVD a number of times in the past, because it's the best recording of an acoustic performance that I've ever heard, and every visitor that has heard it on my system agrees. Until I heard that, I had no idea of the subtleties and nuances in Neil's piano and guitar playing, and the control in his voice. He is really skilled, but in decades of hearing him on CDs, LPs, and over the radio, it was never so obvious as it is on that DVD. It really is a night-and-day difference.

I you were able to do a DR rating of this CD and DVD, I would bet $5 (US) that the DVD scores much higher on the DR Rating scale. Here is the CD rating from the DR Database, which really isn't a spectacular score: http://www.dr.loudness-war.info/details.php?id=10135. My guess is that this is the difference that you might be hearing - not so much the format difference.

Chris

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