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Edgar

Outcome of the HD-Audio Challenge II

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I participated in this. For most of the tracks, I could tell no difference.

For the couple ones I thought I could, (and my choice was confirmed by Mark), the difference I heard was in the highs. Could be coincidental. I’m almost 54, and I don’t think my hearing above 17k is very impressive.

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2 minutes ago, codewritinfool said:

I participated in this. For most of the tracks, I could tell no difference.

For the couple ones I thought I could, (and my choice was confirmed by Mark), the difference I heard was in the highs. Could be coincidental. I’m almost 54, and I don’t think my hearing above 17k is very impressive.

I doubt that any of our hearings are impressive above 10 khz.!!

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"As I’ve often stated in these articles, it is the production path that establishes the fidelity of the final master. Things like how a track was recorded, what processing was applied during recording and mixing, and how the tracks were ultimately mastered. If all of these things are done with maximizing fidelity as the primary goal, a great track will result. However, it’s very easy to destroy fidelity at any number of steps in the process."

The continuation of the quote that Edgar stated above.

What good is 24 bits over 16 bits of quantization if you're only using 6 of 'em:)

And clipping the schiit out of it.

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With Stereophile being the worst offender at spreading audio MARKETING BS...........I'm glad I chose to listen to PWK when I was 23 and joined the Audio Engineering Society, where the best people are doing true innovations.

 

As an offshoot of that, there was a group called the Southeast Michigan Woofer and Tweeter Marching Society that INVENTED the AB/X box, and I was there for the initial demonstrations. This CLEARLY was a great tool to determine, with science and statistics, whether a DIFFERENCE could be heard between 2 components (usually amps, pre-amps, cables, etc.) but mostly they got criticism from the "golden ears" people that claimed they could hear a picoBEL drop across a relay contact!!!

 

So over 4 decades ago, I became fully aware of the BS factor in the industry, which is worse than ever today.

 

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On a side note, anybody got Mr. Waldrep's book/Blu-Ray?

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26 minutes ago, babadono said:

What good is 24 bits over 16 bits of quantization if you're only using 6 of 'em

The same is true is Digital Photography, which I've been involved with as a Pioneer since 1986. In the case of RGB values in a digital file, they speak of 14-16 bit resolution of DYNAMICS, which as ANALOG value that should be expressed as D ECIBELS, so it's a misnomer to begin with.

 

Since there are 3 colors and 256 values to the 3rd Power is 16,777,216 different colors in and 8 bit/color typical situation, now offering 16 bits per color to yield over 281 TRILLION colors which is totally ridiculous overkill, since no printer or monitor can resolve more than about 6 bits per color!!! Same is true for Kodak's Pro Photo RGB color space where no device in the world can put out such a wide color gamut.

 

Even a 320 VBR MP3 file is hard to tell from a Redbook CD file!! I met Mark Waldrup about 5 years ago at AXPONA, the man knows his $hit, and even he feels that 96/24 Modern mastering is almost overkill and proved that CD's had way more "space" than required for handling anything ever done on analog tape masters at any speed!!

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3 minutes ago, babadono said:

On a side note, anybody got Mr. Waldrep's book/Blu-Ray?

Got a discount code to buy it but it's NOT working and giving the 50% off.

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45 minutes ago, ClaudeJ1 said:

I doubt that any of our hearings are impressive above 10 khz.!!

 

 

At least, none of us that are married... :emotion-14:

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If the world keeps ignoring the production quality of albums (especially the kind of production methods used on pop/rock tracks since 1991), and continues to pay so little attention to directivity and phase response of their loudspeakers (in addition to SPL response), the results that were posted above won't change. 

 

I have a particular bone to pick here: it seems that there is an assumption that all music is in stereo format nowadays.  This isn't a very good assumption, and the sound quality effect of moving to 5 surrounding channels is fairly dramatic.  Lots of people own 5.1 or greater sound systems in their home theaters (whether dedicated HTs or not), but apparently do not choose to upgrade the sound quality of these systems to match or exceed the quality of typical "audiophile" stereo systems. 

 

If audiophiles continue to pay so much attention to the format of stereo music tracks, then nothing much will change.  I think Waldrep pretty much was okay with posting the results of the study because he is doing music production in a way that's a cut above, i.e., he doesn't do "mastering" of his AIX recordings, etc., and is marketing basically the "mixdown" tracks to 5.1.   What he produces reflects that fact.  I've got ~10 of his albums and I can say that the production quality is outstanding--and all of it is in 5.1 format as the first format encountered. It's interesting that the difference between DVD-V (16/48) and DVD-A/Blu-Ray (24/96) is audible on his discs (...try his Lowen & Navarro recordings, for instance...) but only in a subjective way and only if everything is dialed in carefully on the Jubs/K-402-MEH/AMT-1-Belles.  It's impossible to hear these differences on any other system that I've listened to.  What you're listening to in terms of the loudspeakers, their setup, and the room acoustics is the major limiting factor, I've found.  Old ears can be a limitation above 15-16 kHz, but there's not a whole lot of music above that point (and very few notes on the keyboard)...

 

Chris

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25 minutes ago, ClaudeJ1 said:

Got a discount code to buy it but it's NOT working and giving the 50% off.

Write to him directly.  He's been very responsive to my emails.

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55 minutes ago, babadono said:

What good is 24 bits over 16 bits of quantization if you're only using 6 of 'em:)

Amen to this.  One of my nephews (a college student) was over the other day and always wants to listen to various audio tracks on the Klipschorns.  I always oblige.  Granted, what he wants to hear I don't own, so it comes from Spotify.  So, I find the track and play it and he just cringes.  "It sounds awful", he says.  "It sounds compressed as sh*t", I say.  Before you call a strike there (and you'd be right in doing so), I then bring up a few choice tracks on Spotify and show him what dynamics can do.  Night and day.  When I tell him that "That's from a streaming service...  It gets better!" he is floored.

 

He's a believer.  I told him that most systems can't play the better stuff to the point of making any difference, and that most younger people hit "loudness" and turn it up and call it great, all while asking the scholarly question, "How many watts is that?"

 

He was truly shocked by the fact that a LARGE part of music out there is recorded poorly / compressed.  He loves the Klipschorns, but wants La Scalas for his house.  That young man has a good future in front of him.

 

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1 hour ago, ClaudeJ1 said:

The same is true is Digital Photography, which I've been involved with as a Pioneer since 1986. In the case of RGB values in a digital file, they speak of 14-16 bit resolution of DYNAMICS, which as ANALOG value that should be expressed as D ECIBELS, so it's a misnomer to begin with.

 

For so many years I shot film, mostly B&W, Panatomic X at ASA 25, developed my own film and printed myself.

 

Several years ago I bought my first digital camera, a Canon T3i. "Only" 18 Mpixels and if I remember correctly "only" 10 bits per color channel. In my very first shooting session with the Canon, my results were so far superior to anything that I ever got with film that I immediately retired all of my film equipment and never looked back.

 

So it has become with digital audio. The equipment and the formats have gotten so good that the quality of the end product is entirely up to the talent of human being turning the knobs.

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34 minutes ago, codewritinfool said:

"How many watts is that?"

Acoustical? or electrical?

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Unless you've got a room that's got 96 dB noise-floor-to-loudest-output, adding another 8 bits to 16 bits does absolutely nothing if looked at in terms of reproduced dynamic range, defined from the digitization noise floor.

 

However, if you look at the difference in adding bits to the music decays using much less than 96 dB of actual dynamic range playback levels in-room (in effect--inserting more bits per dB quanta of reproduced loudness), then you might recognize the effect of adding bit depth in the recordings, something that I've detected myself, but the recordings have got to be absolutely outstanding.  Classical music recording halls are limited to much higher background noise levels than 96 dB, or even 60 dB of dynamic range, as measured from the ambient noise floor to a nominal loudness level (i.e., "83 dBC") is difficult to find nowadays, and the probability is pretty much zero for pop/rock music recording studios.

 

That's in fact what I hear--a more "solid" decay of transients on the best recordings--going from 16 bits to 24 bits--but it's difficult to say when you've got it and when you don't (i.e., being able to detect added bit depth in A-B fashion).  But you're not going to hear that on any pop/rock recording, unfortunately.  It will necessarily have to be on a recording having much greater dynamic range than anything produced for online streaming or typical popular music CD albums. 

 

Most rooms have something like -40 dBA noise floor.  I'm listening to Ravel's Bolero as I type this, and have just turned it down once due to that dynamic range of the recording being too great for casual listening with someone else in the house trying to concentrate on what they're doing.

 

Chris

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By the way--I forgot to add this:  24 bit music has a maximum of 144 dB of dynamic range.  There aren't any microphones that have that kind of dynamic range... :biggrin:

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11 minutes ago, Chris A said:

By the way--I forgot to add this:  24 bit music has a maximum of 144 dB of dynamic range.  There aren't any microphones that have that kind of dynamic range... :biggrin:

 

The EV RE20 used to carry a self-noise spec of -138 dB. Does that mean it had 138 dB dynamic range?

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It means the 144 dB figure of merit dynamic range isn't a good way to look at the added 8 bits to a digital word for 24 bit PCM recordings. 

 

It means that all you can hear in those added 8 bits is (perhaps) different music decays (as I alluded to above)--if the quality of the recording can reveal those differences.  99% of the recordings that I've come across can't do that.

 

Additionally, this throws into some question the notion of "HDCD" recordings--the added bits of effective bit depth are bogus--unless...

 

Chris

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3 hours ago, Chris A said:

If the world keeps ignoring the production quality of albums (especially the kind of production methods used on pop/rock tracks since 1991), and continues to pay so little attention to directivity and phase response of their loudspeakers (in addition to SPL

 

they would need to invent an entire new technology -

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