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"Characteristics of Sound" Teacher?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I've been wondering if a product/app/website exists that teachers the user about sound qualities and quality.

In particular, I wanted to show someone what "warmth" sounds like, and all of these other terms that we use

to characterize sound.

Maybe something to play with phase shifting between stereo channels in order to play with soundstage.

Also, to train a listener to hear the difference in bitrates/resolution.

 

Is there anything out there?

thanks for your time

 

    -devin

post #2 of 13

Search for a program called "Golden Ears Training".

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

nice! that is what I was looking for. Thanks

are there any interactive programs that aren't cd based?
 

edit: to answer my own question, I found:

http://harmanhowtolisten.blogspot.com/

between these two, I am on the right path. Thanks for the help


Edited by dwalker2020 - 7/10/12 at 1:05pm
post #4 of 13
The downloadable program from Harman that you found is very good for training you to hear differences and distortions you could not previously detect. It might even help in your quest, but some of the things you speak of are either undefineable audiophile terms with no basis or place in sound science, or sound science has consistantly found them to be inaudible. So ear/ perception training will not help. An oscilloscope might, but your hearing, no matter how well trained, will not. The tool already mentioned might flunk sound science, but it appears useful for what you want to do.
Edited by Clarkmc2 - 7/10/12 at 1:22pm
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clarkmc2 View Post

The downloadable program from Harman that you found is very good for training you to hear differences and distortions you could not previously detect. It might even help in your quest, but some of the things you speak of are either undefineable audiophile terms with no basis or place in sound science, or sound science has consistantly found them to be inaudible. So ear/ perception training will not help. An oscilloscope might, but your hearing, no matter how well trained, will not. The tool already mentioned might flunk sound science, but it appears useful for what you want to do.

Could you explain how ear/perception won't help? What terms don't have a definition in audio terms? Warmth? No basis in sound science? Are you serious?!

 

You are sorely mistaken my friend!

 

All the terms he mentioned are definable and are often in reference to the Carnegie Chart and it's modern variations. Audio Engineers use them all the time and they use them properly on a day to day basis. If I tell my intern that his master has too little warmth and is lacking an edge, he knows exactly what I am talking about. Likewise, an engineer in New York, whom I have never met, completely understood when I told him his masters were lacking in air and were too muddy.

 

This is NOT new either. Engineers have been referencing this stuff since the 1940's and it is recognized as part of the art and SCIENCE of this industry.

 

 

 

The Carnegie Chart:

Miniaturechart.lowres.jpg

 

Modern example with the terms OP used.


Edited by LFF - 7/10/12 at 3:46pm
post #6 of 13

How exactly does an app which trains people to hear sonic differences (with EQ, panning, and reverb) flunk sound science?

 

To the OP:

 

If you want to learn how differences in bitrates sound like, try the Foobar2000 ABX comparator (and/or listen to samples for extended periods of time). Start with a CD rip, and re-encode in various bitrates (128, 192, 256, 320, lossless, etc.) and formats (mp3, aac, FLAC, etc.) and see if you can hear a difference. Similar thing can be done with with hires 24/96 tracks if you have any. You can use Foobar to resample and convert down to 16/44 and use the ABX comparator.

 

Don't let anyone discourage you from learning how to listen and training your ears because such endeavors supposedly have no "basis in or place in sound science."

post #7 of 13

Quote:

Originally Posted by LFF View Post

Could you explain how ear/perception won't help? What terms don't have a definition in audio terms? Warmth? No basis in sound science? Are you serious?!

 

Thermometers determine warmth, not your ears or silly sound baloney! Duh! wink.gif

 

In all seriousness, though, I did not know these types of programs existed. I might have to check them out.

post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by LFF View Post

Could you explain how ear/perception won't help? What terms don't have a definition in audio terms? Warmth? No basis in sound science? Are you serious?!


This is NOT new either. Engineers have been referencing this stuff since the 1940's and it is recognized as part of the art and SCIENCE of this industry.

 

I know these terms have been around forever, so have I, and I am very familiar with the charts you referenced. I have never preferred these terms to the more succinct and precise frequency response equivalents. Chesty is excessive energy in the upper bass or lower midrange. Muffled is rolloff above 2kHz. Aw is a frequency response peak centered around 450 Hz. Thin is attenuation below 500Hz.  So why not just say so? Then someone besides a recording engineer can know where the problem lies whatever the cause, in home playback equipment, earbuds or anything else. It is great to know what wander is if you can change the mike placement, but when there is a FR problem for an actual user of the recording product, the traditional terms are not all that helpful. In sound science, frequency response is the language of description. It is not vague and subject to differing interpretations by different practitioners. "Marv said the track was chesty in the middle eight, but that is not what I heard at all."

 

Your impassioned response to my "transgression" reminds me of computer software designers referring to their customers as "users," a very derogatory term in their hands. If we don't use your terms we are ignorant? Really? They use jargon where I work too, but I don't think those who don't know it are ignorant. "4dB up from 240-290Hz" is a much better description than "A lower mids hump" any day.

 

I'm not upset, just amused. I have taken the Harmon training. The Golden Ears Training seems Interesting. If I take it maybe I will better understand what the goofballs talking about cables are trying to say, in addition to whatever positive things I may learn.

 

Edited by Clarkmc2 - 7/10/12 at 9:53pm
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clarkmc2 View Post

 

I know these terms have been around forever, so have I, and I am very familiar with the charts you referenced. I have never preferred these terms to the more succinct and precise frequency response equivalents. Chesty is excessive energy in the upper bass or lower midrange. Muffled is rolloff above 2kHz. Aw is a frequency response peak centered around 450 Hz. Thin is attenuation below 500Hz.  So why not just say so? Then someone besides a recording engineer can know where the problem lies whatever the cause, in home playback equipment, earbuds or anything else. It is great to know what wander is if you can change the mike placement, but when there is a FR problem for an actual user of the recording product, the traditional terms are not all that helpful. In sound science, frequency response is the language of description. It is not vague and subject to differing interpretations by different practitioners. "Marv said the track was chesty in the middle eight, but that is not what I heard at all."

 

Your impassioned response to my "transgression" reminds me of computer software designers referring to their customers as "users," a very derogatory term in their hands. If we don't use your terms we are ignorant? Really? They use jargon where I work too, but I don't think those who don't know it are ignorant. "4dB up from 240-290Hz" is a much better description than "A lower mids hump" any day.

 

I'm not upset, just amused. I have taken the Harmon training. The Golden Ears Training seems Interesting. If I take it maybe I will better understand what the goofballs talking about cables are trying to say, in addition to whatever positive things I may learn.

 

You are now switching camps here. Preference for a word/definition is vastly different than denying its very existence. First you say it's undefinable and now...by some sort of who knows what...you are able to establish definitions for the undefinable. Good move!

Your initial response was also very discouraging. Apparently I am not the only one who thought so. Now, you encourage the spread of knowledge to precisely define the undefinable and remove such "jargon" for more precise terms. Sounds like a flip-flop but you might know more since you have been around for ages.

 

Had your initial response been more coherent as it is now, I would not have had such an impassioned response to what seemed like a mentally challenged post. Every singe term the OP mentioned is definable and is certainly audible. The terms mastering and audio engineers use are by no means derogatory but merely language of the trade. Anybody is free to learn this "jargon" and it is not difficult to learn! Should doctors stop using the term myocardial infarction because a vast majority of people don't understand it? Maybe we should vanquish the word "coitus" because children have no idea what is.

 

Also, how is saying that a recording has too much edge and no air in any way derogatory? I did not believe the OP to be ignorant for asking his questions, in fact, I applaud that he asked his questions. In my mind, no question is ever stupid. I was happy to have provided a suggestion which would help him. Certainly, most people would agree, a positive suggestion is much more worthwhile than a discouraging response like yours. I think the vast majority would also agree that my response was not derogatory in any manner whatsoever.

 

Those who know me on these boards KNOW that I never condescending and I am always happy to help anyone who is interested in the arts and science of audio engineering....be it simple recording techniques to more complicated matters like acoustic design or spatial localization from binaural cues.


Edited by LFF - 7/10/12 at 11:12pm
post #10 of 13
No switching camps here. My second post was a response to your post. My first post was a two part response to to the initial post. Some of what was mentioned in the initial post is not in the category of recording industry jargon, but rather phenomenon of dubious audibility. See Ethan Winer on the audibility of different commonly encountered bitrates. This is not a settled or cut and dried issue. Likewise for most phase shift and its audible relation to soundsrage. The physical dimension of soundstage is partially subjective to each listener because it is created in the mind of the listener; it does not exist in real space any more than the binocular illusion of three dimensional scenes created by the eye/brain does.

I mentioned o scopes because distortions like those caused by some commonly encountered bitrates and phase shifts are often inaudible but real. They are inaudible but can be demonstrated to exist with scope traces. Your field of endeavor understandably deals with what can be heard far more than what cannot, and its jargon tends to deal with the audible. So again, separate issues. If you don't agree with what I say about that, fine with me. But I was not addressing you or your jargon with half that first post, so no switching camps.

This has drifted off topic and to be fair to the thread starter, if you want to discuss what you feel my shortcomings are further please take it to PMs. He deserves our respective answers and suggestions, not our debate. I am not going to take this thread further off the rails.
Edited by Clarkmc2 - 7/11/12 at 3:01am
post #11 of 13

Why don't you let the OP discover these "phenomena of dubious audibility" for himself?

 

It seems you already took this thread off the rails when LFF recommended (and the OP found) two good EQ training apps, and you couldn't resist going off on this tangent of how these apps may flunk sound science despite the fact that you have never used either of them. 

 

As for bitrates, most people can differentiate between 128, 192, or even 256kbps encoding with the original. That's fine if you want to dispute it. But all you've done is bring a know-it-all pseudo-authority attitude to this thread rather than actually suggest to the OP tools to help him hear (or not hear) these things, which was the OP's request in the first place. I think you would be surprised if you realized how much audiophilio BS which LFF does not buy into. But his stance is to give people the right tools and point them in the right direction to let them find out of themselves. 

 

BTW, phase shifting between two stereo channels (another OP inquiry) does seriously mess with soundstage. Just get a pro EQ or digital x-over and find out for yourself.


Edited by purrin - 7/11/12 at 8:28am
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clarkmc2 View Post

Some of what was mentioned in the initial post is not in the category of recording industry jargon, but rather phenomenon of dubious audibility. See Ethan Winer on the audibility of different commonly encountered bitrates. This is not a settled or cut and dried issue.

I'm a fan of Ethan Winer. A very cool objective troll with balls! I think even Mr. Winer will agree that there is a difference between a 128kps MP3 and a 24/96 Wav file. That is not dubious.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clarkmc2 View Post

Likewise for most phase shift and its audible relation to soundsrage.

Phase shifting is audible if the shift is large and it is not dubious either. See here.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clarkmc2 View Post

The physical dimension of soundstage is partially subjective to each listener because it is created in the mind of the listener; it does not exist in real space any more than the binocular illusion of three dimensional scenes created by the eye/brain does.

While the precision might be a bit subjective, it's subjectivity does not negate it's existence. It's existence is merely relative to the dimensionality of the wave and the way it is propagated through space and it's subsequent reception by the ear. It does exist much like three-dimensional objects exist. We are not flat-landers.  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clarkmc2 View Post

I mentioned o scopes because distortions like those caused by some commonly encountered bitrates and phase shifts are often inaudible but real. They are inaudible but can be demonstrated to exist with scope traces. Your field of endeavor understandably deals with what can be heard far more than what cannot, and its jargon tends to deal with the audible. So again, separate issues.

So now they ARE real. rolleyes.gif

 

The phase shifts you are referring to are extremely small and are indeed inaudible to the vast majority of people. I do not understand how the inaudibility of certain things v. the audibility of others are separate issues. The both encompass the physics of sound.

 

 

Not trying to stray off topic...just responding to your post. Also, I fail to see how this is off topic as this provides a very real topic to the OP as he might find it useful while training his audibility skills.

post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by LFF View Post

I'm a fan of Ethan Winer. A very cool objective troll with balls! I think even Mr. Winer will agree that there is a difference between a 128kps MP3 and a 24/96 Wav file.

 

Thanks. Yes, 128 kbps lossy compression is usually audible on most types of music once you know what to listen for. Higher bit rates can be excellent.

 

--Ethan

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