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DVD-A and SACD may not be audibly distinguishable from 16/44.1 - Page 3

post #31 of 66
Recording in high res also makes sense for archival reasons... you want to record in the highest resolution/quality possible for new storage formats. SACD and DVD-A are the beginning, not the end, of high-resolution audio.
post #32 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HiWire View Post
SACD and DVD-A are the beginning, not the end, of high-resolution audio.
Dunno, according to the RIAA sales figures for 2006 the combined sales for DVD-A and SACD media was 1M units, less even than vinyl but lets not read too much into that.

High resolution audio really does not seem to have caught-on in the seven years it has been available , when CD was released in 1982 it was expensive and there were few titles - by 1988 CDs were outselling records. As of now there are (I think) < 5000 titles on SACD , over half are classical and thus already a niche submarket. Search on Arkiv Music and there are well over 100,000 CD titles, 5000+ for Mozart alone, but only 1520 SACD and 160 DVD-A.

Goodness knows how many "popular" music titles there are in print.

There doesnt seem to be any mileage in creating any new High resolution formats purely for home consumption, a 50K bandwidth and dynamic range of 120db isnt selling itself to music listeners outside of a few specialist forums.
post #33 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by hciman77 View Post
There doesnt seem to be any mileage in creating any new High resolution formats purely for home consumption, a 50K bandwidth and dynamic range of 120db isnt selling itself to music listeners outside of a few specialist forums.
It would help if people could hear the stuff the format is designed to capture. Unfortunately, music doesn't have those sorts of super high frequencies and unlistenable dynamic ranges.

See ya
Steve
post #34 of 66
This is a great study!

I have a research background so I would absolutely love to some audio tests. I am constantly looking for scientific tests related to audio.

One quick note, as an undergrad, and at many many other universities it is well established that if you put two bottles of soda in front of people, on labeled Coca-Cola, and another a generic store brand, people almost always say that Coke tastes better, even if both bottles contain the same liquid, or if you pour the generic in the coke bottle and the coke in the generic bottle.

People love brand names and such, based off that, here is what I would love to do:

Make a setup with the Sennheiser 580, 600, and 650. Swap the drivers so the 580 is in the 650 and the reverse also. See what people say sounds best. Cover up the brand name all together, see what people say

Encode 192k mp3s using the most basic, mp3 encoder, preferably one that hasnt been updated in like 5 years Then have some lossless encoded music. Have many ABX tests and the like.


Do some sound quality tests using the cheapest RatShack/Walmart cables, some "mid range" cables that are like $50 a meter, and some ridiculously expensive $1,000 a meter cables. Have multiple experiments. Tell people how much each cable is, see the results, don't tell people how expensive they are, see the results, lie about which cables are most expensive.

Unfortunately this won't convince people that deeply believe there is a night and day difference between the two. Especially people that have dropped thousands of dollars on either format.

Much like people that claim MP3 is crap and not even worth listening too, then scoff at the notion of doing an ABX test of 320 vs Lossless. Saying "it doesn't prove anything"

Also this leads to the logical question. If source material like this doesn't have an audible difference, even though we know for a FACT that DVD-A/SACD are different than Redbook, then how can a 3 meter interconnect have any noticeable influence on sound quality, when there is no evidence that cables even matter?

Last time I had that discussion I basically was told "the scientific method isn't valid for testing audio" which I think speaks for itself

I cannot remember if it was head-fi or not, but someone mentioned they had a friend with a $50,000 speaker setup. He agreed to an ABX test of mp3s vs lossless and was about 50/50 on guessing. I guess he became really upset, on the verge of tears, and refused to ever speak about it again.

I am sure some simple everyday scientific tests could seriously damage the self image of many self proclaimed audiophiles.
post #35 of 66
Svperstar,

The problem is, we're as much feeling creatures as we are scientific, reasoning ones.

This is very important:

In all areas of life, INCLUDING this audio hobby, science or reason is not more important than feeling or emotions. They are at least equal in importance, and, I daresay, the feeling component is actually much more important in the long run, in terms of what makes any given human being worth knowing and loving.

We aren't Spock. Didn't anybody learn anything from "Star Trek"?

What does this have to do with audio, SACD, Redbook, and the like?

I'll take the guy or gal who was on the verge of tears as a friend, a lover, and a fellow audiophile, before I'll take a pure ABXer. That person not just hears the music, but feels it, processes it, and perhaps even makes it.

I think the problem with SACD and other hi-res is that, like any given piece of equipment, it takes living with it for awhile, not a fast listen. How does it make one FEEL after a month or two?

I know that feelings make a lot of people uncomfortable, but music is feeling.

If someone feels as if SACD sounds better, it does. Period. No more evidence is needed. That doesn't make that person a scientific cripple, it makes him or her a more complete, healthier, better-functioning person.

And a better listener and audiophile.

I think the most damnable thing about the test crowd is their smug yet truly inhuman approach to what is fundamentally a human matter - music and the art (art!) of its reproduction. Fortunately, as emotionalists, we're capable and, even more importantly, comfortable with shoving the test crowd out a tenth floor window. As such, emotion will always win out....
post #36 of 66
Quick reply before bed, anyway going to sleep now Will respond tommorow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greggf View Post
I think the most damnable thing about the test crowd is their smug yet truly inhuman approach to what is fundamentally a human matter - music and the art (art!) of its reproduction. Fortunately, as emotionalists, we're capable and, even more importantly, comfortable with shoving the test crowd out a tenth floor window. As such, emotion will always win out....
Um ok, you DO realize where this line of thinking goes right?

So say some company releases a pill that they claim makes you happier, better looking, and will live 10 years longer. They charge $500 a month supply.

Many people run out, even people that cant really afford it, and take this pill simply to feel good an live longer. They see people on TV talking about how it changed their lives blah blah blah.

So then someone takes these pills and looks at them, the contain nothing but sugar. This person then reveals to the world that they are paying $500 a month for what is basically a teaspoon of common household sugar.

Based off what you just said this person is a smug jerk that is ruining everyones fun, not a person that is saving everyone $500 a month, but a villian?!?

Everyone loved smoking back in the 1950s, I mean it was a great way to get instant gratification. Basically you are saying that when all the evidence linking smoking to cancer came out, the people saying this were just ruining a good time???

The logical extreme of what you are saying is this:

Say tommorow, someone came out with a little black box, just a 6" cube that had RCA ins, and RCA outs, and claimed it analyzed the signal and cleaned up your audio. All the sudden Audio magazines rave about how much it increases the clarity of highs, mids, and adds a little umph to the bass. People start talking on internet forums about how much it has improved their system.

Company charges $500 for this black box.

Well one day someone just breaks open this box, and the only thing inside is a loop, signal just goes from RCA in to RCA and nothing actually happens. They also check and the people that initially said that this black box really helped their system, had the same ip address as the manufacture of the box.

Basically you would be mad at the person that "blew the whistle" and pointed out that the box does nothing?? You would gladly waste money as long as it made you happy even if it was a placebo??

One anyone says that you can't tests a claim to see if its valid, they have sacrificed what separates us from animals, our intellect.
post #37 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by greggf View Post
Svperstar,

The problem is, we're as much feeling creatures as we are scientific, reasoning ones.

This is very important:

In all areas of life, INCLUDING this audio hobby, science or reason is not more important than feeling or emotions. They are at least equal in importance, and, I daresay, the feeling component is actually much more important in the long run, in terms of what makes any given human being worth knowing and loving.

We aren't Spock. Didn't anybody learn anything from "Star Trek"?
Hey I completely agree with you. See my avatar? That is a picture of my old kitten, loved that cat I don't see anything in my post that would even remotely lead you to believe I think people should be unfeeling like spock(hehe).

You don't even know anything about me so I don't know how you made that leap. All I said is I would love to run some experiments pertaining to audio.


Quote:
Originally Posted by greggf View Post
What does this have to do with audio, SACD, Redbook, and the like?

I'll take the guy or gal who was on the verge of tears as a friend, a lover, and a fellow audiophile, before I'll take a pure ABXer. That person not just hears the music, but feels it, processes it, and perhaps even makes it.

I think the problem with SACD and other hi-res is that, like any given piece of equipment, it takes living with it for awhile, not a fast listen. How does it make one FEEL after a month or two?

I know that feelings make a lot of people uncomfortable, but music is feeling.
Not sure who you think is uncomfortable with feelings, you at one point I seriously wanted to be a therapist and I have worked as a social worker. Hardly someone uncomfortable with feelings

However back to the person that almost cried over not being able to tell the difference between high bit rate mp3s and lossless......don't you think thats weird? I mean seriously, if you are so wrapped up in this hobby, that not being able to pass an ABX test would make you almost cry and be unable to speak about it, then you are taking it far to seriously. That isn't normal by any standard I know, and I would think that person had rather serious mental health issues.

I'm not even sure what you mean by "pure ABXer" Who is a pure Abxer? I've never met one.

Also the study that started this thread, this isn't just 1 or 2 people, but 500 people that couldn't tell the difference, that is hardly an anomaly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greggf View Post
If someone feels as if SACD sounds better, it does. Period. No more evidence is needed. That doesn't make that person a scientific cripple, it makes him or her a more complete, healthier, better-functioning person.

And a better listener and audiophile.
This is really odd, once again, do you realize the logical conclusion of this statement?

What if I say I can fly. Can I? No evidence needed?

Back in the early 90s people claimed drawing around the edges of a CD with a green marker increased sound quality. Today people laugh at it...........tell me do your cds all have green marker on the edges.

If I am willing to say something works great, with no evidence whatsoever to even explain why.....you think this is some kind of a virtue, and the mark of a healthy person?

Should we even discuss the inner workings of headphones and amplifiers? After all, I mean if facts don't matter, if you think something sounds better, it does, period.

How about someone that says "I already have 5,000 cds, what will this SACD standard give me over cds?" You think that this person is thinking like Spock simply because they want more information?

Quote:
Originally Posted by greggf View Post
I think the most damnable thing about the test crowd is their smug yet truly inhuman approach to what is fundamentally a human matter - music and the art (art!) of its reproduction. Fortunately, as emotionalists, we're capable and, even more importantly, comfortable with shoving the test crowd out a tenth floor window. As such, emotion will always win out....
You know your post is so out of left field I actually find your hints of violence against anyone that simply wants more information to be very creepy and dare I say emotionally unhealthy.

You actual think it is inhuman to test something? Where do you draw the line? Is it just audio that you think shouldn't be tested?

What about consumer reports? Based off your standards that must be the single most evil publication in the world, simply because they want to see if products work as advertised before you go spend your money on them.

I can't believe you would just arbitrarily divide audio fans into unfeeling people like Spock, and "emotionalists". Two sides. Black and White. Good and Evil. Almost like a religion.

Honestly I think posts like yours are what gives this whole audiophile hobby a bad name.
post #38 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by greggf View Post
In all areas of life, INCLUDING this audio hobby, science or reason is not more important than feeling or emotions. They are at least equal in importance, and, I daresay, the feeling component is actually much more important in the long run, in terms of what makes any given human being worth knowing and loving.
It's important to know where emotions are important and where they aren't. When you listen to music, your emotions should be up front, guiding your experience. When you're wiring your stereo or deciding what amplifier to buy, you would do a LOT better to trust your powers of reasoning than your emotions.

Salesmen play on emotions all the time. They try to invoke feelings of pride of ownership, confidence in their opinions and superiority over inferiors. None of these are going to help you spend your money wisely. The fact that some people go away from a sale totally convinced of the sales pitch is astounding to me. Critical thinking is a skill that I don't think many people exercise much. It's every bit as important as emotions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greggf View Post
I think the problem with SACD and other hi-res is that, like any given piece of equipment, it takes living with it for awhile, not a fast listen. How does it make one FEEL after a month or two?
If the differences are so subtle, it takes you months to discern them, then they aren't much of a difference.

Conceptual memory (remembering ideas) is very long. We can remember things like that our whole life long. But auditory memory (the ability to remember and compare subtle differences in sound) is extremely short. You've got ten to fifteen seconds of memory to work with. All a long term comparison is going to do is to blot out the differences. You'll be listening to the music, not the sound.

I doubt though that you are even hearing a difference by comparing like that. Imagine if you painted two rooms on opposite ends of your house. One was painted a pale green. The other was painted pale green with just the slightest tinge of blue to it. To compare the two rooms, you would have to walk from one end of the house to the other.

It doesn't matter how long you lived in that house, you would never be able to really know which was which. The lighting differences from time to time and the physical distance between the rooms would make it impossible.

But I bet if you held a paint chip from one room up to a paint chip from the other you could see the difference! That's what A/B comparison is really good at... discerning subtle differences.

On this board, we see all sorts of subjective descriptions of how equipment sounds... words like veil and blacker and quicker, and even words that are totally misused like soundstage. When it comes right down to it, these descriptions are totally useless because they are totally subjective and non-specific... Blacker than WHAT? What does QUICK sound like?

The only person who really understands what the descriptions mean is the person making the description. That doesn't help anyone else. When I listen to my stereo, I don't care how YOU are feeling about it!

Objectivity and critical thinking are an efficient way to define and communicate ideas to other people. Try it.

See ya
Steve
post #39 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by greggf View Post
I think the problem with SACD and other hi-res is that, like any given piece of equipment, it takes living with it for awhile, not a fast listen. How does it make one FEEL after a month or two?
Are you suggesting that the extra 30K bandwidth and 24db dynamic range will only become apparent after a few months, how so ?, burn-in ? or do you gradually acquire the ability to hear 50K tones and bear 155db peaks ( taking ambient noise into account).

If you cant hear the difference between one system and a massively superior one immediately then perhaps under normal circumstances there isnt an audible difference for humans.


Quote:
If someone feels as if SACD sounds better, it does. Period. No more evidence is needed. That doesn't make that person a scientific cripple, it makes him or her a more complete, healthier, better-functioning person.
How so ? - how does a belief that component type A sounds better than component type B do this ?.

Quote:
And a better listener and audiophile.
I have long since stopped calling myself an Audiophile, I call myself a music lover, if being an audiophile involves suspending your critical abilities I am glad.

I dont see how this makes one a better listener either.

Quote:
I think the most damnable thing about the test crowd is their smug yet truly inhuman approach to what is fundamentally a human matter - music and the art (art!) of its reproduction. Fortunately, as emotionalists, we're capable and, even more importantly, comfortable with shoving the test crowd out a tenth floor window. As such, emotion will always win out....
1) I would put myself firmly in the test camp for some things - I see no reason why it isnt valid to ask if a $10,000 CD player really does sound different from a $200 DVD player or if a $7000 run of speaker cable sounds better than a run of Radioshack 14 gauge.

However, my weekends, when I can avoid doing household chores are spent principally in listening to music, I put on the headphones and that is me for 7 hours , no ABXing, no switching components just deep engagement with the music. I daresay I get emotionally involved with it as well.

However there are times when it is best not to suspend your intellect.

2) Playing music is art, mechanically reproducing music is mostly engineering. You can tweak a design and so on but no artistic sensibility alone will allow you to design a piece of Audio kit.

3) Please try to control you emotions when you drive or operate heavy dangerous equipment.

4) Why does the idea of testing bother you so much ? Is it like svperstar's buddy you are worried that some fundamental pillar of your weltanschauung will come crumbling down.

The day that I realised that my NAD CD player and my Philips DVD player were (to me) indistinguishable was a touch disconcerting I admit , but it was also a liberating experience, since then I have just stopped upgrading and concentrated on enjoying music, and nobody had to get thrown out of any windows.

5) Emotions winning out have led to

Burning people at the stake
Starting Wars
Lynch Mobs
Hate crimes
Hockey dad violence

Everything in balance please..


Peace and Love !
post #40 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by greggf View Post
Svperstar,
The problem is, we're as much feeling creatures as we are scientific, reasoning ones.
That, indeed is the problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greggf View Post
I'll take the guy or gal who was on the verge of tears as a friend, a lover, and a fellow audiophile, before I'll take a pure ABXer. That person not just hears the music, but feels it, processes it, and perhaps even makes it.
Depends. The depth of his/her emotions do not give validity to his/her factual claims about differences between audio formats.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greggf View Post
I think the problem with SACD and other hi-res is that, like any given piece of equipment, it takes living with it for awhile, not a fast listen. How does it make one FEEL after a month or two?
You may feel differently but then again you may not. Whether those feelings have anything to do with real audible differences between high-res and low-res is another matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greggf View Post
I know that feelings make a lot of people uncomfortable, but music is feeling.
No it is not. Music may arouse feelings in the listener. It can also reflect the feelings of the composer, performer etc. But it is not feeling. Period.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greggf View Post
If someone feels as if SACD sounds better, it does. Period. No more evidence is needed.
Just like someone who feels he/she has been abducted and abused by aliens is self-evidently correct. Period. No more evidence is needed. Just because I say so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greggf View Post
As such, emotion will always win out....
I am afraid you are right.


Regards,

L.
post #41 of 66
I just received one of the Everest recordings I mentioned previously. In the package are two disks - one is a Redbook CD and one is a two sided DVD - the first side of the DVD is DVD audio format at 24/192 and the second side is audio in DVD video format at 24/96. The recording notes state that the 16/44 redbook version and DVD versions were mastered simultaneously from the exact same same audio feed supplied by the Westrex 1551 35mm recorder.

They don't however, say much about the 16/44 converter used, but they do tend to rave a bit about the quality of the custom 24/192 converter used for the DVD disk.

For whatever reason, the DVD 24/96 layer sounds much better than the redbook CD (I tried them both through the same DVD player). The DVD has more realistic sounding violins, a bit more definition in the bass and better ambience or "air" around individual instruments. It's especially noticeable with the violins - the DVD sounds more like a section of individual players and you can almost feel the rosin gripping on the bow hair. The redbook version sort of sounds more like one giant violin for want of a better term - there isn't the sense of a number of individual players that I get with the DVD. Also, cymbal crashes and castanets had more weight and definition on the DVD - the cymbal almost felt like it was pushing me back in the DVD but I did not sense this with the CD. Interestingly, I analysed the wav file from the 24/96 side of the DVD - the castanet goes all the way to (almost) 40 Khz and the cymbal to around 35 khz.

I won't try to guess why the DVD sounds a lot better than the CD - it could likely have something to do with the DVD player itself, or the fact that the analogue to digital converter used for the redbook version just wasn't the same sort of quality as the custom one they used for the DVD. Or various combinations of those and other factors. Nevertheless, my feeling is that a certain component of the difference was due to the subtleties afforded by better resolution.

All that said, I have to say that I'm not particularly thrilled with the sound of either the DVD or CD, even taking into the account the age of the recordings (original released in 1960). I've got a Chesky redbook CD from the early 1990s (another early 1960s recording) that sounds much better and some of my redbook Mercury resissues from the early 1990s (again, early 60s) sound better too.

I thnk I will stick to what I have felt previously - that good engineering, microphone placement and mastering are more important in comparison to the resolution of the signal. However, in those cases where a high resolution version of the same recording is available, I am certain I will prefer the sound of it - especially as regards acoustic violin which has always been my pet digital peeve. I had never really been a fan of CD because only a tiny fraction of the CDs in my collection actually sound decent (not great, just acceptably decent). However, as regards high res I haven't actually come across any recording at all yet that I would say sounds good - there's just too few around to even pick from. No one will ever change my mind, however, as regards my belief that the CD standard is deficient and it should have been a minimum of 16/48 from the very beginning. In my live recording experience with DAT for example, there was always a noticeable opening up of the sound at 16-48 that just wasn't there with 16-44.
post #42 of 66
Interesting comments, ADD.

I'm not a musician nor a recordist, but friends who are both seem to be of one opinion--that going from 16 to 24 bit depth at 44.1k is a far more obvious improvement than increasing the sample rate on 24 bit up to 88.2/96k.

Only problem is that the recordings of which they speak exist only as their ProTools projects, not on CD or DVD-A!
post #43 of 66
All going to 24 bit does is increase resolution in extremely low volume passages. At normal listening volumes, my comparison tests using a ProTools workstation have shown no difference.

See ya
Steve
post #44 of 66
The disk I used to compare SACD to redbook was Parvo Jaarvi's Stravinsky on Pentatone. Pentatone only sells SACD hybrids. I would bet that a great deal of their business is selling disks to people who only have redbook playback. This would make them unmotivated to hobble the CD layer.

I had difficulty switching quickly from SACD to CD on my Phillips 963sa, so I ripped a clone of the redbook layer and ran that alongside the SACD and did a balanced line level A/B. They both sounded identical.

See ya
Steve
post #45 of 66
Of course, then we have the Blue Note Records debacle of the "hobbled SACD layer".....the stereo SACD layer of Norah Jones' "Come Away With Me" is only an upsampled version of the 16/44.1 stream that encoded from the original analog tapes--it's not a native hi-rez recording by any stretch of the terminology.

I managed to find the office phone number of the president of Blue Note and left him a nasty message. I got a free Norah Jones concert DVD in the mail a couple of weeks later, so I guess complaining did have a bit of a benefit!
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