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#383444 - 09/28/12 08:58 AM Sounded like Neal had a great idea until...
Murph Offline
axiomite

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6832
Loc: PEI, Canada
until I read on and realized that I would have to buy another media player.
Neal Young's venture to deliver quality audio

I would have been interested in re-purchasing some of my music library in uncompressed formats, but I'm not going to buy a new portable media player to do it. Sorry Neal.

Now if the media ends up to be playable in my home system, we may have something.
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#383445 - 09/28/12 09:00 AM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
Ken.C Offline
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Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17781
Loc: NoVA
Which will undoubtedly come with horrendous software and a worse UI. Seen this sort of junk before...
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#383481 - 09/29/12 09:07 AM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
ClubNeon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/06/09
Posts: 3448
Loc: Western Maryland, USA
He doesn't even have a good idea to start with:
http://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html

If you want quality audio, buy CDs that are well mixed/mastered, and rip them yourself to a lossless format your current player does support. And get a better pair of headphones.
_________________________
Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K, PDP-5020FD, DV-79AVi
Axiom M22s, VP150, QS8s
Sony PS3, surround backs
-Chris

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#383512 - 09/30/12 10:25 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: ClubNeon]
pmbuko Offline
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Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16277
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
I found another post that takes on the bit-depth portion of the hi-res audio debate. I found it quite interesting. http://www.head-fi.org/t/415361/24bit-vs-16bit-the-myth-exploded
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"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#383520 - 10/01/12 08:10 AM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: ClubNeon]
Murph Offline
axiomite

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6832
Loc: PEI, Canada
Originally Posted By: ClubNeon
He doesn't even have a good idea to start with:
http://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html

If you want quality audio, buy CDs that are well mixed/mastered, and rip them yourself to a lossless format your current player does support. And get a better pair of headphones.


True enough. I was assuming he was also going to maybe get permission to remaster from the original masters. However, now I realize this was just my optimism and lazy skimming of the article.
_________________________
With great power comes Awesome irresponsibility.

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#383523 - 10/01/12 09:13 AM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: pmbuko]
Boltron Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/18/11
Posts: 171
Loc: Toronto
Originally Posted By: pmbuko
I found another post that takes on the bit-depth portion of the hi-res audio debate. I found it quite interesting. http://www.head-fi.org/t/415361/24bit-vs-16bit-the-myth-exploded


I've also seen that write up. IMO, this is a case where the theory doesn't reflect the reality. I have been listening to quite a bit of HD music lately and have even compared CDs I have ripped at 320Kb mp3 to HD versions. I do notice a difference. Another consideration is that when you get an HD version of an album, many times these are remastered from the original tape.
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For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert.

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#383525 - 10/01/12 11:50 AM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
ClubNeon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/06/09
Posts: 3448
Loc: Western Maryland, USA
You're last thought is on the mark. Even CDs that are bundled with the DVD-A version of an album were usually from different masters.

The only way to judge is to take a 24-bit wave, and dither it down to 16-bits and compare those two. I've done that, and can't tell the difference. In fact taking the 24-bit wave, encoding it with Lame using the "extreme" preset, and then turning it back into a 16-bit wave, I can't tell the difference from the original.

We don't need better distribution, we need better mastering.
_________________________
Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K, PDP-5020FD, DV-79AVi
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#383526 - 10/01/12 12:10 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
ClubNeon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/06/09
Posts: 3448
Loc: Western Maryland, USA
In fact, here's a test I made for someone on another forum who was claiming to have golden ears...they never replied to me.

http://www.scuzzyeye.com/tests/track-01.wav
http://www.scuzzyeye.com/tests/track-02.wav
http://www.scuzzyeye.com/tests/track-03.wav
http://www.scuzzyeye.com/tests/track-04.wav

One of these files is the original 24-bit version. One has been truncated to 16-bit (not even dithered). One has been converted to a 320 kbps CBR MP3, and back into a 24-bit wave using MADplay. And another an "extreme" VBR MP3, then simply decoded with Lame to a 16-bit wave. They've all been padded back up to 24-bits, so the file sizes are the same.

Tell me which is which.
_________________________
Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K, PDP-5020FD, DV-79AVi
Axiom M22s, VP150, QS8s
Sony PS3, surround backs
-Chris

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#383527 - 10/01/12 12:35 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
medic8r Offline
axiomite

Registered: 02/05/06
Posts: 6396
Loc: Fredericksburg, Virginia
I gave them a listen and cannot tell a difference over my Grado SR-60 headphones.
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"The Universe is the game of the self, which plays hide and seek forever and ever" - Alan Watts

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#383530 - 10/01/12 01:42 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: medic8r]
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16277
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
Same here. I just send this to a friend who's trying to convince me otherwise. smile

EDIT: The friend says track 1 is the original. How'd he do? (Feel free to PM me if you don't want to reveal anything here.)
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"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#383534 - 10/01/12 02:29 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17781
Loc: NoVA
He's wrong, it's the third one.


At least htat's my vote. :-P


Edited by Ken.C (10/01/12 02:30 PM)
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#383537 - 10/01/12 02:47 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: ClubNeon]
Kruncher Offline
devotee

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 484
Loc: Maple Ridge, BC
Wow, that's a good demo of the sampling Chris.

To me, only track 2 seemed not quite as full as the others, which (1, 3, and 4) were pretty well, no, not pretty well, but in fact entirely indistinguishable to me.

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#383538 - 10/01/12 02:55 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
ClubNeon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/06/09
Posts: 3448
Loc: Western Maryland, USA
I actually tried to make these worst case, so it'd be easiest to tell them apart. I'll make another challenge that's designed to be difficult this evening.
_________________________
Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K, PDP-5020FD, DV-79AVi
Axiom M22s, VP150, QS8s
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#383539 - 10/01/12 03:03 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
ClubNeon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/06/09
Posts: 3448
Loc: Western Maryland, USA
Oh, and PM me if you do want the answer.
_________________________
Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K, PDP-5020FD, DV-79AVi
Axiom M22s, VP150, QS8s
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-Chris

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#383540 - 10/01/12 03:03 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
Ken.C Offline
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Posts: 17781
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I like that. We've got no consensus on which one is which, and you tell us this is the EASY one. Heh.
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I am the Doctor, and THIS... is my SPOON!

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#383541 - 10/01/12 03:09 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
ClubNeon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/06/09
Posts: 3448
Loc: Western Maryland, USA
Designed to be easy, from the track selection (those high pitched sounds should have been a give-away for poor compression), to the poor depth reduction. I really wanted to be able to hear the difference myself, but alas I couldn't.
_________________________
Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K, PDP-5020FD, DV-79AVi
Axiom M22s, VP150, QS8s
Sony PS3, surround backs
-Chris

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#383542 - 10/01/12 03:15 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: ClubNeon]
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4829
Loc: western canada
Originally Posted By: ClubNeon
In fact, here's a test I made for someone on another forum who was claiming to have golden ears...they never replied to me.

http://www.scuzzyeye.com/tests/track-01.wav
http://www.scuzzyeye.com/tests/track-02.wav
http://www.scuzzyeye.com/tests/track-03.wav
http://www.scuzzyeye.com/tests/track-04.wav

One of these files is the original 24-bit version. One has been truncated to 16-bit (not even dithered). One has been converted to a 320 kbps CBR MP3, and back into a 24-bit wave using MADplay. And another an "extreme" VBR MP3, then simply decoded with Lame to a 16-bit wave. They've all been padded back up to 24-bits, so the file sizes are the same.

Tell me which is which.

That was neat but listening to those made my ears ring.
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#383545 - 10/01/12 04:19 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: chesseroo]
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 10899
Loc: Central NH
But which made your ear feel golden before the ringing?
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#383546 - 10/01/12 06:51 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
Boltron Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/18/11
Posts: 171
Loc: Toronto
I pick 4 then 3 as the best. Man we are all over he map wink
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#383547 - 10/01/12 08:04 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
ClubNeon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/06/09
Posts: 3448
Loc: Western Maryland, USA
OK, the easy test is over. Time for the difficult one. This one is just about bit-depth, not lossy compression.

These files are longer, I wanted a full reference of dynamic ranges, since that's supposed to be what 24-bit gains over 16.

http://www.scuzzyeye.com/tests/track-b1.wav
http://www.scuzzyeye.com/tests/track-b2.wav
http://www.scuzzyeye.com/tests/track-b3.wav
http://www.scuzzyeye.com/tests/track-b4.wav
http://www.scuzzyeye.com/tests/track-b5.wav

Two of the files above are full 24-bit. The other three are dithered down to 16-bit with noise shaping. The 8 least significant bits are 0-filled so the files are all the same size. You challenge is to tell me which two files are 24-bit.

Before you had a 25% chance of guessing right, now it's only 10%. But if 24-bit really is that large of an improvement it shouldn't be difficult. smile
_________________________
Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K, PDP-5020FD, DV-79AVi
Axiom M22s, VP150, QS8s
Sony PS3, surround backs
-Chris

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#383550 - 10/01/12 09:02 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
Boltron Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/18/11
Posts: 171
Loc: Toronto
This has been interesting. We looked at bit depth, what about sampling rate?

BTW, I pick 3 and 5.
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For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert.

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#383553 - 10/01/12 10:04 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: ClubNeon]
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16277
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
If I cut out a 20 second chunk from each track, starting from about 1:25, using Audacity, would it negatively affect the samples at all? I want to be able to easily play the same chunk of music from each track quickly back and forth.
_________________________
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#383554 - 10/01/12 10:13 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: pmbuko]
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16277
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
I have another idea. Could you randomly -- and by randomly, I mean assign digits 1 through n to the different versions of the track -- string together 15-second cuts of different tracks so that you're left with a seamless track that smoothly transitions between bit-rates?

The overall goal would be for the listener to identify which 15 second spans are encoded with the highest quality, starting at time index 0:00, 0:15, 0:30, etc. Since you'd assign the parts randomly, you may end up with a few consecutive spans of the same quality. With the chunks only being 15 seconds long, you'd also increase your chances of using all the bit-rates before the end of the track.
_________________________
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#383555 - 10/01/12 10:25 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: ClubNeon]
JohnK Offline
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Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10395
Very good, Chris. Although my previous personal experience and study of other test results didn't leave much doubt that both 320 kbps CBR or the "extreme"VBR(around mid 200s kbps)would be audibly transparent(even with about 80% of the audio data discarded), I listened on both speakers and headphones.

I paid special attention to the first 12 seconds before the singing attempt began, particularly the 9th though 12th notes, which have the sort of content which might demonstrate a difference. After several trials on each of the four samples, nothing was heard would support anything beyond a pure guess.

This might be surprising to some who claim to be able to hear a difference even between pieces of connecting wire, but it's the reality of modern audio technology.
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Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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#383556 - 10/01/12 11:10 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Boltron]
ClubNeon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/06/09
Posts: 3448
Loc: Western Maryland, USA
Originally Posted By: Boltron
This has been interesting. We looked at bit depth, what about sampling rate?

I can try something with sampling rate. But while I'm sure of 0-filling LSBs, in order to make the files the same size. I'd have to take a higher sampling rate, and downsample it, and then upsample it again, and that may not be as clear cut.

I'll play around, and see if there are any extremely obvious tell-tale signs that would make the test inaccurate.
_________________________
Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K, PDP-5020FD, DV-79AVi
Axiom M22s, VP150, QS8s
Sony PS3, surround backs
-Chris

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#383558 - 10/01/12 11:16 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: pmbuko]
ClubNeon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/06/09
Posts: 3448
Loc: Western Maryland, USA
Originally Posted By: pmbuko
If I cut out a 20 second chunk from each track, starting from about 1:25, using Audacity, would it negatively affect the samples at all? I want to be able to easily play the same chunk of music from each track quickly back and forth.

No, nothing wrong with doing that. Of course it's also possible to use Audacity to cheat, but you won't do that, right? smile

As for identifying 15 second segments of one track. I can do that. In fact I was flipping between bit-depths as I was preparing the test. I could identify 8 and 12-bit, but 16-, 20-, and 24-bit all sounded the same to me. I'm just not that sure of how good a test it would be. It's hard to say, "this is 16-bit," without having something to compare against.
_________________________
Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K, PDP-5020FD, DV-79AVi
Axiom M22s, VP150, QS8s
Sony PS3, surround backs
-Chris

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#383559 - 10/01/12 11:23 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: JohnK]
ClubNeon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/06/09
Posts: 3448
Loc: Western Maryland, USA
Originally Posted By: JohnK
I paid special attention to the first 12 seconds before the singing attempt began, particularly the 9th though 12th notes, which have the sort of content which might demonstrate a difference. After several trials on each of the four samples, nothing was heard would support anything beyond a pure guess.

Yeah. smile And as I've said, that first test was really absolutely worse case, and I couldn't tell the difference.

Did you check out the second set of tracks? (You might like the music too.) I'm glad that I had the option for 8- and 12-bit output, or I would have never believed that the dithering software I was using was even doing anything (actually, I can see it doing something on the VU meter at the higher depths, but I can't hear it).
_________________________
Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K, PDP-5020FD, DV-79AVi
Axiom M22s, VP150, QS8s
Sony PS3, surround backs
-Chris

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#383560 - 10/02/12 12:10 AM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
ClubNeon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/06/09
Posts: 3448
Loc: Western Maryland, USA
Oh, and a fun fact. I was going to use a track from R.E.M. for this second test, but as I was processing it, my digital clip indicator came on. This is why we can't have nice things, the engineer was given 24-bits and he still slammed it into a brick wall. (Although it's no were near as bad as The Flaming Lips', At War with the Mystics.)
_________________________
Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K, PDP-5020FD, DV-79AVi
Axiom M22s, VP150, QS8s
Sony PS3, surround backs
-Chris

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#383562 - 10/02/12 02:46 AM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: ClubNeon]
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10395
Okay, I listened to the Carmina Burana samples(Thielemann?). Quite dynamic, but nothing that can't be handled easily with 16 bits. The dynamic range on all was about 50dB, from the upper 50s to a max of 106dB on my SPL meter, and sounded identical.
_________________________
-----------------------------------

Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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#383569 - 10/02/12 09:53 AM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
ClubNeon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/06/09
Posts: 3448
Loc: Western Maryland, USA
The dithering raised the noise floor up to -80 dB, but that's still well below the audible threshold.

And yeah, it was Thielemann. I actually quite like that disc.
_________________________
Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K, PDP-5020FD, DV-79AVi
Axiom M22s, VP150, QS8s
Sony PS3, surround backs
-Chris

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#383571 - 10/02/12 10:00 AM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: JohnK]
medic8r Offline
axiomite

Registered: 02/05/06
Posts: 6396
Loc: Fredericksburg, Virginia
Originally Posted By: JohnK
I paid special attention to the first 12 seconds before the singing attempt began

I see what you did there, JohnK. You da man. laugh
_________________________
"The Universe is the game of the self, which plays hide and seek forever and ever" - Alan Watts

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#383581 - 10/02/12 12:43 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: ClubNeon]
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4829
Loc: western canada
Originally Posted By: ClubNeon

No, nothing wrong with doing that. Of course it's also possible to use Audacity to cheat, but you won't do that, right? smile

Peter doesn't have the audacity to cheat does he?
DOES HE????
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#383588 - 10/02/12 09:58 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: chesseroo]
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16277
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
I never cheat unless I have something to gain. And then, only if the chance of being caught is slim. And then, only if it's easy. And then, only if I can live with myself. And then, only if I get rid of all the mirrors in the house. And then, only if I buy a lot of sleeping pills first.
_________________________
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#383945 - 10/10/12 03:11 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
Andrew Offline
Axiom Engineer
veteran

Registered: 12/18/01
Posts: 176
Thanks to Murph for starting this intriguing thread, ClubNeon for his sample tracks, and to everyone else that has participated so far. This is a really interesting topic, and one that can easily foster heated debates similar to those discussing the efficacy of different cable dielectrics ad nauseum! *cough* The entire topic of what is and what isn't audible when it comes to digital audio is fraught with complexities and involves serious math, signal processing, and communication theory. To be an expert on this topic is something few can claim, and I'm certainly not one of them. What I do know is that the simple task of taking ClubNeon's sample files and playing them back over headphones plugged into your laptop is probably not going to give you the goods. Why? Simply because most computer systems are not designed for bit-perfect audio playback, which is the first requirement of trying to compare audio files at different sample rates or bit depths. Just because you can play the file does not necessarily mean that it isn't being trans-coded to another format before it gets to your headphones. As an example, if you're casually using iTunes for playing back your music files, there is a slim chance that you are hearing them played back correctly. Then there is the issue, as has already been pointed out, that most commercial material in standard and high-rez formats have been mastered differently, or were created from differing original sources. As a die-hard analogue guy, I am intrigued by the world of high-rez digital, but have never taken serious steps towards educating myself and putting my own ears to work. The first path down this road has been to investigate the idea of home music servers and the various playback and software options that this entails. To say I have repeatedly pulled my hair out is an understatement. The next step has been to talk to people with far more knowledge than myself on the topic and attempt to devise a test that can be performed blind, in a similar manner to our loudspeaker listening tests. Interestingly enough, Ian has also been thinking about this very topic, and we have decided to embark on a research project in the new year which will allow us, and anyone else who's interested, to compare various digital formats in a repeatable manner. To that end we are going to setup a state of the art digital playback system, with the assistance of our friends at Bryston, which will ensure that all of the source material is being passed in a bit-perfect manner. For source material we are going to obtain recordings that were originally created at various resolutions and then down-sample, up-sample, or decimate as required.

Feel free to add your own suggestions and stay tuned!

Andrew

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#383949 - 10/10/12 03:48 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Andrew]
fredk Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 7047
Loc: Canada
Cool stuff Andrew!! Its nice to see some original research being instigated in a market (hell a society) that has become more about hot air than facts.
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#383961 - 10/10/12 05:23 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4829
Loc: western canada
I like research.

Go figure.
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#383967 - 10/10/12 07:21 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Andrew]
Boltron Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/18/11
Posts: 171
Loc: Toronto
Originally Posted By: Andrew
Just because you can play the file does not necessarily mean that it isn't being trans-coded to another format before it gets to your headphones.


Great idea, I learned much in this thread myself.

Regarding your comment about files being trans-coded, this definitely is an issue on Windows as the Windows mixer will usually intercept audio playback and muck about with it. I know of two ways to avoid this, either set you AVR to bitstream (ie. no A/D is done, just send the digital stream) or better yet use a great media player such as JRiver Media Center 17. It can (painlessly) use WASAPi - Event Style to bypass the Windows mixer completely and let the output device pull data as required instead of Windows just feeding data dumbly.

If you are going to do any testing on Windows for music playback, JRiver Media Center 17 (18 coming soon) is to my knowledge the best player out there.
_________________________
For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert.

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#383978 - 10/11/12 12:09 AM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Andrew]
CV Offline
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Posts: 11208
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
That sounds pretty cool, Andrew. Just one more reason to make a pilgrimage to Axiom headquarters.

So are you guys going to be recording a lot of your own material for the sake of the research? It seems like the best way to be sure of what you're working with. You could make your own data bank of samples that theoretically should be prime candidates for showing off higher-resolution formats. Of course, this would mean making a state of the art recording studio to go along with your state of the art digital playback system. Ha ha. Or maybe you have connections to people with an appropriate recording studio already. If you record your own stuff, then you could offer what you ultimately end up with as your demo selections as downloads on your site, for end users to play around with themselves.

Are you going to be researching surround formats as well, or is this strictly stereo, to keep things simple?

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#383981 - 10/11/12 07:33 AM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
Boltron Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/18/11
Posts: 171
Loc: Toronto
There is a great site that has a variety of hi res multichannel lossless master samples, mostly classical. These are the production originals used for SACDs and Bluray, many in the raw DXD format.

I particularly like: "Bridge Over Troubled Water (Simon & Garfunkel) Iver Kleive (church organ)". It's starts out very soft and just gets louder and more powerful as it goes, it scared me the first time I heard it smile

http://www.2l.no/hires/index.html
_________________________
For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert.

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#383986 - 10/11/12 09:43 AM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Boltron]
ClubNeon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/06/09
Posts: 3448
Loc: Western Maryland, USA
Originally Posted By: Boltron
Regarding your comment about files being trans-coded, this definitely is an issue on Windows as the Windows mixer will usually intercept audio playback and muck about with it.

That is true, but all my listing tests were done from within an audio production program, that uses ASIO drivers instead of Windows. That does guarantee bit-perfect playback. I still can't hear a difference.

The best comment I've seen on this topic, is that the sampling theorem was not created to explain how digital encoding of an analog wave form works, but the other way around. The theorem existed before it was possible to do the encoding/decoding, and the math is sound. So when electronic technology got to the point where it was possible to test the theorem, the devices were built.
_________________________
Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K, PDP-5020FD, DV-79AVi
Axiom M22s, VP150, QS8s
Sony PS3, surround backs
-Chris

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#384059 - 10/12/12 07:33 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Boltron]
fredk Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 7047
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Boltron
...
Regarding your comment about files being trans-coded, this definitely is an issue on Windows as the Windows mixer will usually intercept audio playback and muck about with it...

I thought they fixed that with win7?
_________________________
Fred

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Blujays1: Spending Fred's money one bottle at a time, no two... Oh crap!

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#384060 - 10/12/12 07:36 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: CV]
fredk Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 7047
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: CV
That sounds pretty cool, Andrew. Just one more reason to make a pilgrimage to Axiom headquarters.

So are you guys going to be recording a lot of your own material for the sake of the research? It seems like the best way to be sure of what you're working with. ...

I heard they've already put the mike in Ian's shower.
_________________________
Fred

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Blujays1: Spending Fred's money one bottle at a time, no two... Oh crap!

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#384075 - 10/13/12 12:46 AM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: fredk]
ClubNeon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/06/09
Posts: 3448
Loc: Western Maryland, USA
Originally Posted By: fredk
I thought they fixed that with win7?

A program in Windows 7 can request not to be messed with "exclusive mode", but the majority don't bother.
ASIO drivers completely side step the issue, by not using the Windows mixer at all. But ASIO is usually limited to professional interfaces, and audio production software.
_________________________
Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K, PDP-5020FD, DV-79AVi
Axiom M22s, VP150, QS8s
Sony PS3, surround backs
-Chris

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#384079 - 10/13/12 09:14 AM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17781
Loc: NoVA
Anyone know how it works on the Mac?
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I am the Doctor, and THIS... is my SPOON!

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#384107 - 10/13/12 11:40 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Ken.C]
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16277
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
Originally Posted By: Ken.C
Anyone know how it works on the Mac?

Apple software uses CoreAudio -- which is billed as professional grade. Here are a few quotes from the doc I linked below:

Most Core Audio constructs manipulate audio data in linear pulse-code-modulated (linear PCM) format.... Core Audio generally expects audio data to be in native-endian 32-bit floating-point linear PCM format.

Supported file and data formats

Here are the developer docs.
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"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#401866 - 03/12/14 08:55 AM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
medic8r Offline
axiomite

Registered: 02/05/06
Posts: 6396
Loc: Fredericksburg, Virginia
So, Neil Young is still at it, plugging his high-res audio player at SXSW this week. I found this old thread and bumped it.

The return of Pono!

http://www.nme.com/news/neil-young/76018

I hear that ClubNeon was an eager contributor to the Kickstarter campaign for this. Good on ya, Chris!!!
_________________________
"The Universe is the game of the self, which plays hide and seek forever and ever" - Alan Watts

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#401870 - 03/12/14 10:48 AM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
ClubNeon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/06/09
Posts: 3448
Loc: Western Maryland, USA
Sometimes I wish there was a Kickstopper. A way to pay to keep things from happening.
_________________________
Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K, PDP-5020FD, DV-79AVi
Axiom M22s, VP150, QS8s
Sony PS3, surround backs
-Chris

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#401871 - 03/12/14 10:52 AM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
medic8r Offline
axiomite

Registered: 02/05/06
Posts: 6396
Loc: Fredericksburg, Virginia
Ha! Good one.
_________________________
"The Universe is the game of the self, which plays hide and seek forever and ever" - Alan Watts

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#401872 - 03/12/14 01:42 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
exlabdriver Online   content
connoisseur

Registered: 09/07/11
Posts: 1027
I wonder if Neil Young is as wrong & biased with his views on this product as he is with the oil industry in Alberta. Like the drivel from Gore & Suzuki, I don't believe a thing that he says.

As for a pilgrimage to Axiom, I did it a couple of summers ago & it was a highlight for me in my generally boring, retirement life. If there is a gathering in Dwight in the future, I will certainly attempt to attend & meet some of the reprobates who hang out here, ha!

TAM

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#401874 - 03/12/14 09:55 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: medic8r]
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10395
Yeah, J.P.; advice from a possibly hearing-damaged guy who's one of those who "likes it loud". Grossly exaggerated MP3 condemnation.
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Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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#401875 - 03/13/14 12:45 AM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
ClubNeon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/06/09
Posts: 3448
Loc: Western Maryland, USA
The biggest problem with MP3s in the beginning was the imperfect psychoacoustic modeling. While it may not be computationally possible to build a perfect model of human hearing, things have improved dramatically since those early days. So yeah, MP3s (and other lossy encoding schemes) throw away four-fifths (or more) of the data, but it's stuff your brain can't pick out anyway.

The other part of the encoding, storing the data as cosine coeffecients rather than linear amplitude really isn't that lossy at at all. Considering the reconstruction filter basically plots sinusoidal waveforms between the samples. Plus the signal is band limited to the human hearing range, so there's an upper limit on how accurate the cosine transform has to be.

I still prefer to acquire music in PCM format, but that's just because there are real issues with multi-generational recompressions, and when a better system for compressing audio to take it with me comes along I like to be able to go back to a complete data set for a fresh export.
_________________________
Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K, PDP-5020FD, DV-79AVi
Axiom M22s, VP150, QS8s
Sony PS3, surround backs
-Chris

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#401880 - 03/13/14 04:56 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: ClubNeon]
Murph Offline
axiomite

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6832
Loc: PEI, Canada
Originally Posted By: ClubNeon
Sometimes I wish there was a Kickstopper. A way to pay to keep things from happening.


Like this one that belongs to a brother of a fellow at work here?

How lazy do you have to be before you need a cell phone charger built into your pillow??????
The Power Pillow
_________________________
With great power comes Awesome irresponsibility.

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#402428 - 04/04/14 07:54 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
Serenity_Now Offline
local

Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 211
Loc: PEI, Canada
Hey Guys (especially ClubNeon)

If you have an hour to kill sometime:

What is your take on Allen Sides' interview over at home theater geeks. He addresses pretty much everything talked about here from a recording engineers standpoint.

Interesting (and no doubt controversial) thoughts from a guy in the Biz.

http://twit.tv/show/home-theater-geeks/199

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#402434 - 04/05/14 05:42 AM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
ClubNeon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/06/09
Posts: 3448
Loc: Western Maryland, USA
I stopped watching at the point where he goes into speaker design. I don't have enough background in that to comment with any sort of authority. But I did pay attention to the first half of the video and made some notes.

He mentioned recording at 96 or 192 kHz to avoid the brick-wall filter. I do completely agree with this. Real time, brick-wall filtering is difficult to get correct, and when it is done wrong, it causes audible artifacts. Low-pass filtering can be done better with a dedicated down-sampling process. So yeah, recording at higher sampling rates in the studio makes sense.

But then he goes on to say that the higher sampling rates give more detail at even the audible frequencies. He gives the example of having more samples at 15 kHz. Here he's wrong. I used to make the same mistake, until I actually started doing the math, and understanding how PCM really works. It's simple, the only thing that higher sampling rates give you is the ability to reproduce higher frequencies. Period.

The host brings up inter-modulation distortion from high sampling rates. This is a real problem, but the Allen says he's never noticed it when asked. I'm guessing he has really high quality gear in every location he has the ability to playback 96 or 192 kHz audio. It's less of a issue with well designed gear, because it's purposely worked around, usually by filtering ultrasonics out. Cheaper gear doesn't attempt to do anything, and you can get strange, harsh harmonics in the audible range. If you don't expect everyone to spend 1000s of dollars on studio grade gear for playback, don't give them 192 kHz audio. Do a good down-sampled output, and give them something that doesn't have ultrasonic content.

The story about having different pressings of discs sound different seems familiar. I wonder if I heard it from him before. Back in the 80s there were issues with some pressing houses doing bad jobs at reproducing the master to disc. With today's duplication equipment it doesn't happen anymore. His comment about copies of CDs he's made himself sounding different is likely his personal bias making him hear something that's not there. I'd like to see him prove this with a blinded study. The host is also showed obvious incredulity.

In addition to that Allen didn't answer the question. The person writing in asked why a demo pop song distributed with Logic didn't sound like the mastered CD. He wanted to know what mastering magic is performed. It seems like Allen is a mixing engineer, not a mastering engineer, so it wouldn't be a topic he'd have much to say about. Plus it is a bit larger than can be covered in an one hour podcast.

Toward the end of the first half Allen talks about dynamic range. He mentions recording two tracks one 10 dB hotter. He says the louder track will clip during the louder parts, so he'll use the quieter one there, but uses the hotter to use the higher bits. Again he's wrong. This is a belief left over from analog days, when the noise floor of the media was a real thing. So you'd want your signal to be as loud as possible to give you the largest signal to noise ratio. SNR is fixed with digital, there's no benefit of "using the upper bits." The only place that the a hotter signal matters is in the analog chain, but studio gear has such a low noise floor that it isn't worth mentioning.

So of the five big topics of the talk he was right once. For the most part he doesn't know how digital audio works, and is hearing what he's expecting to hear based on his misunderstanding. He probably has a great ear for mixing, and obvious lots of connections from the number of names he drops, and his good business sense got him where he is. None of those things needs an understanding of how the bits are working behind the scenes.
_________________________
Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K, PDP-5020FD, DV-79AVi
Axiom M22s, VP150, QS8s
Sony PS3, surround backs
-Chris

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#402442 - 04/05/14 07:06 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Murph]
Serenity_Now Offline
local

Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 211
Loc: PEI, Canada
I'm farther towards the formats can matter camp than some. But in parts of this I was even raising my eyebrows.

I think you hit he nail on the head when you said he is not strong with current digital tech. He is definitely an analog mixing specialist. No doubt, with a keen ear for detail.

I just don't understand how copies that are "bit perfect" can possibly sound different... regardless if copied, streamed, burned, etc. Not with current tech anyway. There are so many processes going on in the "black box" world we live in nowadays, who knows.

I like to periodically check into the HTGeeks shows to see what's new. Most are snoozers, or very basic, but this one was so on topic I had to share it. smile

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#402449 - 04/05/14 09:47 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: Serenity_Now]
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10395
I'll discuss a key flaw in his interview, which Chris has also pointed out. When he claimed that higher sampling rates allowed for more samples(especially at high frequencies)and therefore better "resolution", I almost stopped listening because this indicated a complete misunderstanding of the digital sampling process, regardless of his experience in the industry. It was proved mathematically by Nyquist and others over eighty years ago that as long as there were at least two samples at a given frequency that the analog waveform could be reproduced precisely, not just approximated. This has of course also proved to be true in practice, including military and industrial processing where accuracy is a bit more crucial than in audio reproduction.

Some who lack an understanding of the basis of the sampling process view the samples as if they were involved in a sort of "connect-the-dots" procedure where the more dots you had, the closer you got to the original analog waveform, but you never could get there with full analog completeness. Again, nothing of the sort is going on; only two samples are necessary to establish unambiguously the precisely frequency involved at that instant. The perhaps 2000 samples available around 20Hz(at a 44.1Kb/s sampling rate)in no way add more accuracy than the as little as 2 samples taken around 20KHz, and the 20KHz wave is reproduced just as precisely(rather than being simply a straight line connecting 2 dots).

With his misunderstanding coloring his subjective views, this doesn't allow me to take seriously any of his claims about "amazing", "unbelievable"(at least as he intended the term), etc. results he experienced.
_________________________
-----------------------------------

Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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#402455 - 04/05/14 11:06 PM Re: Sounded like Neal had a great idea until... [Re: JohnK]
ClubNeon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/06/09
Posts: 3448
Loc: Western Maryland, USA
Originally Posted By: JohnK
The perhaps 2000 samples available around 20Hz(at a 44.1[kHz] sampling rate)in no way add more accuracy than the as little as 2 samples taken around 20KHz...

In fact if you have a band-limited signal, those extra samples are completely wasted. Part of MP3 encoding process is to split the full audio spectrum into multiple bands, and only allocate as many coefficient values as are needed to reconstruct the upper frequency of each band.
_________________________
Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K, PDP-5020FD, DV-79AVi
Axiom M22s, VP150, QS8s
Sony PS3, surround backs
-Chris

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