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What makes piano sound so hard to reproduce? - Page 3

post #31 of 191
Someone make a thread.....

What makes the drum set so hard to reproduce?
post #32 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post

Someone make a thread.....
What makes the drum set so hard to reproduce?


Same factors that have been discussed here. Add in the high harmonics of the cymbals as well as the HUGE dynamic range and you have a nightmare on your hands unless you know what you are doing.

post #33 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post

Someone make a thread.....
What makes the drum set so hard to reproduce?

 

I think we can say that for all instruments, whether it is the violin, the piano, a drum set, etc.


Edited by Puranti - 12/22/12 at 12:44am
post #34 of 191
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Puranti View Post

 

I think we can say that for all instruments, whether it is the violin, the piano, a drum set, etc.

With other instruments I don't hear people saying it's synthetic sounding. With piano it's the first impression I had with my HD650. Even if other instruments don't sound more realistic, somehow with piano there's a greater sense something is missing. Listening to the high dynamic piano recording posted above makes it clear it's mostly information lost in the mixing process.

post #35 of 191

Being a music lover, most of the time, I complain about the violin, it really amaze me when I ear different recordings where a violin can be really woody and dry and other more lifelike, I'm not a musician, although I've done a bit of singing and piano, but I'm not really bothered by the fidelity of the piano.

 

But the violin ! basshead.gif


Edited by Puranti - 12/22/12 at 2:12am
post #36 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by Puranti View Post

Being a music lover, most of the time, I complain about the violin, it really amaze me when I ear different recordings where a violin can be really woody and dry and other more lifelike, I'm not a musician, although I've done a bit of singing and piano, but I'm not really bothered by the fidelity of the piano.

 

But the violin ! basshead.gif

 

125 % true!

Most recordings with massed violins sound frown.gif and mad.gif to me.  This is one of the reasons I often prefer older analog classical recordings over modern digital recordings.........i.e. some of the old RCAs, some of the old Mercurys.

 

I can take most drum recordings in a synthetic, processed, canned kind of way, but the cymbals often sound like little bits of metal, not like real, full, rich, shimmering cymbals. Just my opinion............but after all this time (i.e over 100 years of recording technology) they often sound like a mere shadow of a true accurate cymbal sound. Hey, I'll just say it, they usually sound pathetic.

Donning flame suit now!

Seriously, just my opinion here, nothing more, YMMV.biggrin.gif

 

 

BTW, I must be sensitive to some type of high frequency "distortion" and aberations.........I often don't like recorded violins and cymbals..........seems to be a pattern here!  LOL!

Cheers,

CJ

post #37 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post

BTW, I must be sensitive to some type of high frequency "distortion" and aberations.........

and

Quote:
This is one of the reasons I often prefer older analog classical recordings over modern digital recordings....

does not compute!

 

That's not just an opinion. tongue.gif

post #38 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post

and

does not compute!

 

That's not just an opinion. tongue.gif

 

I agree that it does sound kind of off the wall.wink_face.gif

But there is just something about some of those old Mercury and RCA classical analog recordings. The Living Presence stuff............Westminister. 

There are a few other companies, but their names slip my mind right now.

Despite the slight tape hiss, slight increase in distortion, etc (hey, this is how I hear it!) I often prefer the sound of a GOOD analogue recording of a jazz quintet or a symphony than some modern digital recordings. It amuses me how terrible some modern recordings sound compared to some of the older analog recordings. Bruce Springsteen, anyone? Compare Magic to Darkness on the Edge of Town.

At the end of the day, if I like then I like it. No apologies.   YMMV.

BTW, Gladiator is a good example of a good sounding modern symphonic recording. The "Reference Recordings" brand digital and analog recordings.

post #39 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by ultrabike View Post


I think Strangelove424 is referring to a recording problem dude. It would sound suboptimal through any decent rig...

 

I had to ask because, as I stated in my post, the same Norah Jones CD was doing that same problem in my car but never in my other systems, which I ultimately solved with time alignment. Basically, I'm just wondering if it really is all a recording issue given I wasn't getting the same clipping on my other systems, but of course I don't crank up the volume as loud as in the car (but then again, my amps there theoretically have more headroom); that or because I bought the CD later on (was using a borrowed copy before I switched to headphones) is it possible the later releases (bought it around 2008, not sure) fixed it?

 

The one recording I'm sure has clipping is Rebecca Pidgeon's "Spanish Harlem" - even in my sane headphone listening level hints at it and it just gets worse from there and I'm not paying extra for another audiophile compilation just to see if they fixed this one.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Strangelove424 View Post

 

Yep, headphones, DT880s. My speakers kind of gloss it over, but it’s still there somewhat. I hear it on Don’t Know Why on the first piano note, and it pops up a few more times throughout the album. It’s at dynamically challenging points, times she strikes down hard on the keys. Makes it sound like she’s on one of those toy pianos that has steel plates instead of strings - that is truly the best way I can describe it. In general though, that album doesn't sound well mastered or recorded to me anymore, not just the piano instrumentals. Her voice also sounds compressed and distorted on occasion. This was one of those albums that I wanted to dive into detail-wise with my headphones and when I finally got a chance to do that I was a bit disappointed.       

 

That's really weird - the copy I borrowed before was generally normal, save for some added lower midrange bloom (could have been my gear) but absolutely horrible in my car. After I fixed up the car's system to run active on all drivers I bought my own copy, having heard the improvments on a lot of discs, and this didn't have the clipping issue. Just one real problem though - there's no way to test the old set-up, even before I bought new speakers, because even then I'd have been too lazy to take it apart just to rewire the system.

 

But that's just the clipping; reading the more detailed account though I'm listening critically to it right now instead of just her voice, and the piano is a bit off tonally, although not as badly. It just sounds more like a synth than what I'm used to from (I assume she'd use) a grand piano.

post #40 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post

and
does not compute! That's not just an opinion. tongue.gif

Not necessarily. Older classical recordings were much more carefully miked, and much more simply miked. The chain from mike to tape was much more direct, and there was little or no post mixing or processing. The decks they used were state of the art and were perfectly capable of high fidelity. It shouldn't be surprising that they sound cleaner. The main difference is tape hiss, and at high tape speeds, that wasn't much of an issue.
post #41 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post


Not necessarily. Older classical recordings were much more carefully miked, and much more simply miked. The chain from mike to tape was much more direct, and there was little or no post mixing or processing. The decks they used were state of the art and were perfectly capable of high fidelity. It shouldn't be surprising that they sound cleaner. The main difference is tape hiss, and at high tape speeds, that wasn't much of an issue.

 

Compare this to a Deutsche Grammophon multi-miked, multi track digital recording I tried to listen to the other day.............I couldn't take it!

von Karajan's last Beeethoven's 9th, decent performance though.

I need to get a better 9th than this one........redface.gif

post #42 of 191
Miking is much more important than recording fidelity in putting across music. Balance is everything.
post #43 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post

Scnr, but instead of going for greatest bandwidth you should concentrate on recording stuff so that it doesn't clip.

 

There's nothing wrong with recording at higher sample rates and it is de facto standard to use higher bit depths, but such formats are not needed for playback. As I've said before, the stuff up there is extremely low in level, easily masked, mostly noise and most importantly: inaudible.

 

How did you determine that these harmonics were not bursts of noise and there was no constant HF noise? Because I just checked a 24/96 recording of a harpsichord and the HF rms amplitude is -80 dB on average to well below -120 dB minimum. It IS constant HF noise plus bursts of noise.

 

You can repeat your claims of the differences you hear between DSD and CD all you want, it's not going to change anything. Again, do you have anything to back up your claims other than anecdotes?

 

Seriously, where are you pulling those claims out of? The dynamic range of concert halls doesn't exceed 80 dB (Eargle, John; 2005; Handbook of Recording Engineering) and all the recordings I checked of Mahler's 2nd do rarely exceed 70 dB.

 

16 bit has clearly enough dynamic range. Again a comparison to vinyl: "Under no legitimate circumstances will the dynamic range of vinyl ever exceed the dynamic range of CD, under any frequency, given the wide performance gap and the physical limitations of vinyl playback."

 

PCM recording is usually done with 24 bits and possibly higher sample rates (88.2, 96 or even 192 kHz). You do not have to record directly to CD-R. All you need is a (quality) resampler and dither for the conversion to the CD format.

 

 

Yes, editing and even recording is done at higher bit depths than 16 bit (DSP uses as high as 80 bit floating point). Yes, you can hear stuff below the dither noise floor, you can for example hear a 1 kHz sine wave at -100 dBFS quite clearly on a properly dithered 16-bit file.

First things first. Of course I ALWAYS try to record without clipping. That sole extraordinary incident would happen under given circumstances to anybody not familiar with that extreme composition. Some 10 or so  dB above anything Beethoven wrote for piano is REALLY loud - much more so than any other piano music I ever heard. I simply did not know it is possible to play piano so loud.

 

The dynamic range of concert halls is - rather vague. What do I mean by that? It is no problem at the loud extreme, it is loud as it is loud. Today, it is very problematic to find QUIET place - lighting system(s) hum ( 50 Hz in Europe, 60 in USA ), air conditioning is not totally quiet, etc, etc. I have constant trouble with musicians who for some reason always turn on every electric light available - and a single humming/buzzing light can drop your dynamic range by 20 dB ! During recording, I try to put out each and every light that is not absolutely necessary for the pereformers - yet, there are so called "fire lights" that have to be on because of safety all the time - and they do buzz. Since I record mainly from distance, this humming/buzzing unfortunately is a factor; close miking does not have this problem, but simply does not sound natural to me.

 

Mahler's 2nd: you said you were comparing/measuring RECORDINGS, not the real thing. Recordings of 2nd to date have almost all been subjected to

some kind of compression - either with mike positioning not to capture that much of tympani in the finale ( it IS louder than everybody else combined - live, not on compressed recordings ) or by compressors. Depending on hall, it can approach ear pain level - that is about 120 dB - and there are moments of total silence, which should be equal to the noise floor of the hall. Even if that is 40 dB (really loud/bad hall), that still makes dynamic range of 80 dB. One recording I know that does stand out as far as dynamic range is concerned is Telarc's 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Mahler-Symphony-Minor-Resurrection-incomplete/dp/B00006879J

 

but even this has troubles with resolution of 44,1/16 and intelegibility of softly sung chorus as a result. I am sad Benjamin Zander's version with Philharmonia Orchestra is not available - most others are

 

http://benjaminzander.com/recordings/philharmonia,

 

DSD recordings available as SACDs.

 

It is true that LP, as GENERALLY known, does not meet or exceed dynamic range of CD. The maximum dynamic range of conventional LP is 78 dB, under best possible conditions - that is to say having master lacquer with - 60 dB ref 0 dB noise ( unfortunately VERY rare ) and cutting at the absolute upper limit of + 18 dB. Very few, if any, LPs have achieved this - or even approached these figures. There is one aspect of performance in which LP can exceed the capabilities of CD - rise/fall time, or in other words, frequency response. Half speed mastering, developed initially for quadrophonic systems requiring HF carriers up to 45 kHz, can put flat response up to at least 50 kHz on disc - making change of loudness per specified amount of time twice faster than possible with CD. Recent developments have reached even better figures - and top styli and cartridges have no serious problems with that frequency range. Which means LP can reproduce sudden bursts much better - CD can have greater dynamic range on paper, but can realize that only with slower sound sources - on percussion, properly done LP will always win. 

 

While working briefly at Benz Micro Switzerland back in the early 90s, I was able to measure the probably fastest phono cartridge ever made - prototype for what later became known as Benz Ruby. Its rise/fall time, using CBS STR 112 test record, was 3 usec ( in words - three microseconds ). That is about three times faster than most other, regularly available Benz included, phono cartridges. The cartridge had far too low output to be deemed useable for general public - 0,03 mV/5cm/sec. One listen to this cart in the reference system used ( Maggies with ribbon tweeters good to 40 kHz and Class A ultra low noise amplification good to ??? KHz ) would change your opinion regarding LPs for good.

 

Reasonably achievable dynamic range on conventional LP is 70 dB - which are available at twice the loudness change per amount of time compared to that of the CD. Just compare once a good CD and good LP version of the same analog recording on the system that overall supports at least 40 kHz bandwidth.

 

There was a very short lived compressor/expander system called CX for LPs developed by CBS Columbia - it allowed for 20 dB reduction of noise and rumble compared to conventional LP record. Ultimately, 90 dB dynamic range is achievable from LP using this system. For all practical purposes, this equals the dynamic range of CD on loudspeakers, slight vestiges of noise/rumble compared to CD are audible with headphones. Unlimited analog resolution, of course. CBS shot itself in the foot by insisting to claim CX encoded LPs can be played without appreciable sound change without cx decoder - there are even reports artists demanded and achieved withdrawal of CX encoded discs from the market due to this incompatibility. It would be fair to say this compatibility does not exist - and system might have had a chance. Needless to say, immediately after Sony acquired CBS, they pulled back from the shops each and every record bearing CX designation they possibly could - for the fear of system catching on and delaying or even preventing adoption of CD. Getting any CX encoded LP record today borders on mission impossible as a consequence - it is both sad and ironic that massed background violins accompaniying Julio Iglesias on 

 

http://www.discogs.com/Julio-Iglesias-Momentos/release/928092

 

when played with appropriate cx decoder are among the best sounding violins on any recording yet made - whereas serious classical music playing is marred by vynil noise and rumble in conventional LPs. Those few releases of serious stuff really border on mission impossible these days as far as availability is concerned.

 

 

It should be no problem for you to calculate or measure the rise time of a CD. It is what it is - on 20 kHz bandwidth with brick wall filtering required by RBCD that is all that will ever be possible with CD. And that is (too) slow.

 

Of course, one can record digital PCM in greater depths and higher sampling rates than CD's 44,1 kHz/16bit.  The higher the better - but even 192/24

exibits for PCM typical ringing on square wave - DSD, particularly DSD at 5,6 MHz or DSD128, is far better here, presenting square wave response much similar to analog, with uncomparably less ringing. That gives it tremendously precise pulse response.

 

Even DXD, at sampling rate of 384 KHz / 24 (or is it 32 ? ) bit, by the admission of its most outspoken proponent, can not reach full value of pulse - IIRC, figure is 84 %. CD is here far, far worse still - it is simply too slow.. DSD can reach full amplitude of pulse.

 

It is true that DSD recordings are most usually mastered in PCM (at highest sampling frequencies and greatest bit depths with floating decimal possible ) - but that is not inherent incapability of 1 bit DSD system, just hardware and software 

to perform mastering in native 1 bit enviroment is still very expensive and all but commonly available. Vast majority of SACDs available have been mastered in PCM enviroment - but this is now changing relatively fast.

 

What are the prime audible benefits of extended bandwidth ? Recreation of acoustics of the space music was recorded in - those few seconds before actual music starts is all that it takes to convience one that such recordings are simply better, much closer to the real thing. To the listener accustomed to CD these high resolution recordings may well appear as noisy - that is because CD does not have good resolution at low levels and higher frequencies and does not support anything above 20 kHz at all; feed from microphone, analog recording and higher resolutions of digital will always sound more "noisy" than CD version - and that is not CD's quality but actually drawback.

 

Regarding 96/24 recording of harpsichord - yes, noise in PCM is constant, about the amount you stated. 96/24 recording should be pretty linear to approx 40 KHz, depending on the recorder - but first requirement are microphones and mic preamps to be able to capture above 20 kHz sounds.

The lack of harmonics above 20 kHz observed is most probably due to mic set up - should be there.

 

Aichille's heel of DSD is noise above 20 kHz - it starts getting pretty loud just above 20 kHz and increases in amplitude with rising frequency.. It is here that double DSD at 5,6 MHz or DSD 128 shows main advantage over 2,8 MHz or DSD64 - the spectrum of noise is about the same, difference being 20 dB lower noise and therefore by the same amount better S/N above 20 kHz for double DSD.

post #44 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by LFF View Post


Same factors that have been discussed here. Add in the high harmonics of the cymbals as well as the HUGE dynamic range and you have a nightmare on your hands unless you know what you are doing.

+1.

 

Percussion is even harder to get right - only it is less familiar in minds of the listeners due to incomparably more variety it can produce compared to

"simple" piano - and piano by itself is mind bogglingly complex. In other words - piano sound, as much as diversified it may be, is pretty uniform compared to almost limitless possibilities of percussion. One of the best percussion recordings of all time, in "glorious" MP3 samples here :

 

http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/pid/1273246/a/Poems+of+Thunder.htm

 

For the truly "obsessed & deranged" , there is this version:

 

http://www.elusivedisc.com/YIM-HOK-MAN-MASTER-OF-CHINESE-PERCUSSION-K2-HD-GOLD-CD-COLLECTORS-EDITION/productinfo/LIMHD033C/

 

I will have to satisfy myself with the regular Naxos CD.

post #45 of 191

What microphone(s) do you use to record all the bat-frequencies ?

I don't know of many mics that capture ANYTHING above 22kHz

and those that do are generally NOT designed for recording real music !

 

Regarding 'old recordings' :

A REALLY GOOD tape-recorder has/had a dynamic range of maybe 68-72db .

LP's have theoretical dynamic range of 80db .

 

So, I'm not really sure where all those bat-frequencies are ??

 

Check this fex :

http://georgegraham.com/compress.html


Edited by AKG240mkII - 12/23/12 at 3:30am
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