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Educating yourself about audio?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi all. I'm relatively new to the audio community, and have already spent up on some great equipment. What I'd like to do is educate myself so I am better able to describe what I'm listening to, what I like, and understanding the different sound signatures produced by my equipment. Is there some sort of list of sample tracks that are good for demonstrating different sound qualities?

So far I've found this excellent post about Describing Sound, I'm looking to better match those terms with example tracks.

I'd eventually love to be able to actually look at the equaliser, and know what I need to tweak to bring out the best sound in both the track and headphones that I'm listening with.

(Apologies if this has been asked before, I wasn't sure what search terms to use for this type of question).

Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 11

Well...it depends how much you really want to learn and how much in depth knowledge you wish to have.

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Excellent! Thanks for the quick and detailed reply. smily_headphones1.gif
post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by severim View Post

Excellent! Thanks for the quick and detailed reply. smily_headphones1.gif


Of course, my pleasure!

 

Hope you find what you are looking for in those books. They are all excellent!

 

post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by severim View Post

 What I'd like to do is educate myself so I am better able to describe what I'm listening to, what I like, and understanding the different sound signatures produced by my equipment.


LFF has already provided many excellent links. If I can make an additional suggestion, it would be that you focus more on the scientific aspects of the hobby (both electrical and psychoacoustical) than merely describing sound. Learning how components will interact with each other and how to read measurements and specs is very important when assembling a system. So is knowing which products do something and which do nothing. There are a lot of audio "products" that simply do nothing except look good and cost a lot. It's easy to be misled in this hobby because all of the major audio magazines and web sites give these products glowing reviews. You can think of it like medicine. If you want to learn about medicine, go to medical school, not a homeopathic healer. 

 

The signal to noise ratio on Head-Fi is terrible as well. A lot of posters here just don't know what they are talking about. If you wanna find the people who do, they are mostly the people who can build their own audio equipment. Knowing how equipment works really blows away the BS aspects of this hobby.

 

This is another site I found helpful: http://sound.westhost.com/articles.htm

post #6 of 11
A big +1 to LFF and tvrboy.

I don't know much (yet) about recording and mastering. I need to read LFF's links; he knows what he is talking about.

As for the gear, I've stuck my nose a little deeper in that.

Most of what you read here is nonsense, lies and fraud. I'd like to use stronger language. Skip the descriptive language and instead learn about circuits and their practical applications. Visit pmillett.com and browse his (free!) library. Norman Crowhurst's books will put you on the right path. Very accessible and though published in 1959 are still relevant and excellent. They are the best intro to audio I've seen. And keep going. Tonight, I read an excellent writeup about how caps, resistors and inductors work in crossovers. I learned a lot about how heat changes their values and much else. With formulas, graphs and hands-on tests. That is real audio. Talking about additional "soundstage" from some questionable cable isn't.

I'd also strongly recommend building some gear. Start with a CMoy. It'll teach you how to build more things. When you build, you'll begin to understand what is and isn't important. You'll learn from direct experimentation and hands-on experience. That's the best there is.
post #7 of 11
seem LFF already put the best info up. for electrical concepts of audio equipment on how it works i would look into some older radio electronic books if you can find them. best to read up on old radio electronic cause they explain how every component in the audio chain effects one another. i have some old radio books my aunt gave me to read up on that gets you prepared to take your FCC certification test for ham radios. it's called ''First Steps in Radio'' by Doug Demew from 1980-1985. it has everything from teaching you every component and how to read schematics so you can successfully start building and fixing stuff yourself. great also to study if you ever want to start designing your own topology designs.
post #8 of 11

while inactive, Headwize is archived, accessible: http://gilmore2.chem.northwestern.edu/library.htm quite a lot of good info in the Library, project threads

post #9 of 11

Lots of wisdom in this thread.  The idea of building an amp or any piece of electronic gear for that matter is really exciting.  I may delve deeper into this hobby than I expected to in the first place.  If I would have stayed with amateur radio operation and progressed beyond the technician license then perhaps I would already have a good understanding of this stuff.

post #10 of 11
The simpler designs shouldn't be too hard for you - you'll pick it up as you go along.

Also prepare to learn a few things about casework. You'll spend more time gettig the case right than you will spend soldering. It's fun, too. Though I stronglymrecommend picking up an auto-centering punch. About $10. Use it with a T-square and a scribe to get holes to line up correctly on aluminum a d the punch to make a dent that will keep a drill bit from wandering.
post #11 of 11

Great answers from everybody, but just to address the list of sample tracks that you asked for, you should check out Chesky Records' The Ultimate Demonstration disk, http://www.chesky.com/core/details.cfm?productcode=UD095

 

In addition to having a bunch of really nice music, each track has an introduction that describes what to listen for and how to describe it. It's a very cool experience to listen to on nice equipment. 

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