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What is "sound quality"? - Page 4

post #46 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by haloxt View Post
Nonetheless I think people can come to a working compromise if they acknowledge perfect sound quality is just an unachievable ideal.
Not unless the ego's get in the way. Ego appeasing demands an objective base on which to justify its position. So we will strive to turn this into an objective issue and in the same way, have very little regard for the subjective part.
post #47 of 65
I think a live/studio performance is a good definition for "sound quality". But it's hard to measure objectively because there are psychological cues that can be put in to make music sound more life-like than real life (lol reminds me of the old tv ads about more real than real life), and what these cues are and to what degree they work is different with every individual, and different again in each listening session, how can you quantify something as complex as the perception of "real life performance"?

Well, if you know enough about measuring brainwaves I guess you could figure it out, but that's not the point what I mean is you can't measure it just by measuring the music data itself.
post #48 of 65
Lets not get into the sound quality of two identical instrument types from different manufacture. Dearer acoustic guitars and violins tend to have a subjectively better quality. You can reproduce a cheap guitar perfectly, however, I dont think such a sample would have sound quality - quality of reproduction, perhaps.
post #49 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guidostrunk View Post
Putting the red paint chip into the same context, the red paint chip, to some it might be to red to others it might not be red enough ,even though the color is red.
If you are blindfolded and put into a room where someone plays a violin and there is also a recording of a violin and not one time in 100 can you tell the difference, are you going to tell me the playback has "poor sound quality" because you only like drums?

The question is not whether or not you like red, the question is how closely it matches the original.

I really don't think we are where we are today in the A/V world by just saying "It's all subjective."
post #50 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by eucariote View Post
Um, me. Unlike a steak, a violin, voice, guitar, etc. once had a true and original sound. The bow, strings, body, wood of a string instrument all create a very particular set of sound waves that moved through a hall/room/studio and impacted a microphone, as they did the ears of the musician and audience. Let's call that perfect. Did that all exist in the inspired mind of a chef? Would you put Dynamat in Yo Yo Ma's cello?

oh, I give up.
So everyone in the audience who heard exactly what your saying thought it was perfect? I think not. It might be sound quality, but what quality . you call it perfect , but some people in the audience might disagree.It might be the perfect transfer of sound from point A to B, but in the end when it is heard by an audience opinions of the quality will differ. maybe you should give up.
post #51 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDDL-UP View Post
If you are blindfolded and put into a room where someone plays a violin and there is also a recording of a violin and not one time in 100 can you tell the difference, are you going to tell me the playback has "poor sound quality" because you only like drums?

The question is not whether or not you like red, the question is how closely it matches the original.

I really don't think we are where we are today in the A/V world by just saying "It's all subjective."
But i might think that the violin that is playing whether I'm blindfolded or not or whether its live or recorded, i might think that the Sound quality of whats being played is terrible when you think its perfect. Even if its reproduced identical to whats being played live without hearing no difference between the 2. So intern your point is perfect reproduction of sound, but the sound quality part is for me or you to decide if it sounds good or not with neither opinion being wrong because we perceive things different. It has nothing to do with DRUMS ,Don't for get I'm listening to a violin and if i don't think what I'm hearing is good who is to tell me different. Just as you think what your listening to is the greatest thing you ever heard. What if the violin is being played in a PORTAPOTTY live and i hear the recording of it and there's no difference in what I'm listening to, when me and you both listen to it we both make a decision if the quality of sound is good or not, you saying its good because you cant hear a difference between the 2, and me saying its bad because i don't like what I'm hearing.Probably because there playing in the sh**ter. Who's wrong? Neither of us. WE PRECIEVE THINGS DIFFERENTLY!
post #52 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guidostrunk View Post
..maybe you should give up.
I really am done with this discussion, but from what you say, you might want to check out this book, which is probably the most systematic attempt in modern philosophy to ground judgement, reason and science on human experience.

A brilliant critique (which is by no means 'objectivist'):

To see what people mean by 'signal', 'reproduction' and 'degradation':

And if you're curious about what is happening on the other side of the tympanic membrane:
post #53 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by eucariote View Post
I really am done with this discussion, but from what you say, you might want to check out this book, which is probably the most systematic attempt in modern philosophy to ground judgement, reason and science on human experience.

A brilliant critique (which is by no means 'objectivist'):

To see what people mean by 'signal', 'reproduction' and 'degradation':

And if you're curious about what is happening on the other side of the tympanic membrane:
I guess we have 2 different opinions on this topic. And thats the point i have been trying to make all along key word OPINION. I have no more to give to this thread either. at least we all have a love for music here.Cheers.
post #54 of 65
"Poor sound quality" isn't used to describe something that sounds bad in real life, unless it's something like instrument amplifiers messing things up. Real life is what people usually use as the benchmark for "good sound quality". If you think someone playing a violin in real life isn't as good sounding as another person playing the violin in real life you just say "it sounds bad", not that "it has bad sound quality".
post #55 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by haloxt View Post
"Poor sound quality" isn't used to describe something that sounds bad in real life, unless it's something like instrument amplifiers messing things up. Real life is what people usually use as the benchmark for "good sound quality". If you think someone playing a violin in real life isn't as good sounding as another person playing the violin in real life you just say "it sounds bad", not that "it has bad sound quality".
I thought this thread was about " What is sound quality". I'm not comparing people in a real life situation playing the violin, I'm simply deciding what I'm hearing from the violin thats being played whether or not the quality of sound is good or not. If i build a violin out of cardboard and play it in REAL LIFE , I guess the benchmark USUALLY means Good Sound Quality, Not the fact that the quality of sound coming from the cardboard violin might sound terrible, but on the flip side beings that its real life , I guess its a benchmark that usually it has to have "good sound quality" because its real life even though the violin is made of cardboard and the quality of sound coming from it is terrible IMO.
post #56 of 65
Fidelity is the characteristic of whether the playback matches the input.

There is no subjective component to this and it can be measured with significant precision.

A recording/playback chain with perfect high fidelity will be virtual indistinguishable from the original.

If all music were live and extremely well recorded, I doubt there would be as much division as we have about what sound quality means. But not all music is "live," much of the music we hear is painted by musicians and recording engineers (and, one could argue, then fouled up by the producers). The gold standard then becomes the aural vision in the head of the recording engineer. Sadly, even that gets polluted over time by the mastering and duplicating process.

So as not to ramble, the truth is that the recordings we get to listen to vary widely in their fidelity to either a live event or the aural vision of the artist. For example: the Django Reinhart recordings I love so much have miserable fidelity. So while I'd like to say that sound quality is simply a matter of fidelity, it's not practically the case.

This whole hobby is about people having some set of favorite types of recordings and their typical lack of fidelity, which provide us the opportunity to editorialize by selecting certain reproduction equipment that will be pleasing to our own ears. One can somewhat characterize that gear and the typical characteristics of the music we listen to in terms of their 'sound qualities' such as 'lush' or 'fast' or 'punchy', and these terms would be meaningful mostly in a subjective way.

While I would love to believe sound quality is fairly narrowly and issue of fidelity and can be objectively measured, practically speaking, it's not.


I need to add here that if the people who produced the music would get out of the way of the people who create and record the music, we might be quite a bit closer to being able to deal with sound quality in a more objective manner.

I'll also contend that when we do find a recording with very high fidelity, it is the gear with the highest measures of objective performance that will deliver the most natural listening experience.

Gear with good objective measurement will offer you the best fidelity to the original signal.

Gear that editorializes in accord with your taste will tend to make recordings more pleasing to your ears, but may degrade the intended experience of extremely high fidelity recordings.
post #57 of 65
Well said, Tyll.

This discussion has seemed to bounce between the quality of sound in its original environment (such as the acoustics/projection/PA interaction in a live performance, which everyone knows can sound good or bad, even in simple environments such as a solo unamped acoustic performer in a small room) and the quality of sound reproduction, which Tylll appropriately describes as "Fidelity" to the original.

Fidelity is composed of accuracy of frequency response, and freedom from distortion, noise, and timing errors. There are, of course, sub-components to each of these areas, and some are easier to measure than others, but what constitutes fidelity is well established.
post #58 of 65
Well said Tyll & islewind

I do not understand why I have been unable to communicate this effectively - Fidelity. It has nothing to do with whether or not you like the sound it is whether or not it is true to the original source. Loving the sound or hating the sound has nothing to do with "sound quality" (fidelity).

Some people seem bent on insisting that "sound quality" is only what sounds good to them. Why someone would want to argue, essentially, about "What sounds good to me?" I have no idea.
post #59 of 65
English isn't my native language, but isn't sound quality how you, uhm, qualify sound? That makes it entirely subjective. Fidelity is a separate issue. While it usually improves sound quality, it doesn't define it, because then you'd quantify sound instead of qualify it. Right?
post #60 of 65
Fidelity can be defined as signal transfer accuracy.
As sound is definitely a signal, we can speak about sound transfer accuracy. "Quality" on the other hand is where the trouble lies. What is the definition of quality? I'd say the definition of quality is subjective. So if we want to talk scientifically about sound quality, we should be actually talking about sound transfer accuracy (fidelity). Or we can dwelve into philosophy or psychology. Which might or migth not be a suitable topic in "Sound science". Depending on the subjective definition of "Sound science", of course
Tyll stated, that the recordings of Django Reinhart have lousy fidelity. I totally agree. But these recordings are nowadays the only source of his music. We have to decide what is the best way of reproducing these records. Most of us would probably say that the best way is to reproduce the signal on those records as accurately as possible. But can we perhaps alter the signal so that the perceived sound would match the man with the guitar live, lets say year 1930? Possibly.
I think my point is that the definition of sound quality is too vague to really account for a meaningful discussion.
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