Originally Posted by ab initio
Please take a look at this sample of one of my favorite King Crimson tracks, 'Lizard," which was on their aptly named album, "Lizard":
Here, I walk you through the math to calculate the different recorded amplitudes at different points in the music. there are parts at -44dB FS. One of the things I really like about this track is it's dynamic range. And pretty much everything else about it .
Not all music must be a live recording nor does it have to be dynamic rangeless uber-compressed in the studio.
Just because rooms might be a bit noisy at ~30dB SPL, doesn't mean that the inside of a good pair of isolating headphones is. It's one of the things I like about my headphones vs my speakers.
This is certainly an interesting example. Unfortunately I don't own the track and I can't exactly analyse it through youtube. The question is, are you hearing the noise floor of 16bit digital audio or are you hearing the noise floor or the studio it was recorded in or perhaps the noise floor of the microphones or other recording equipment used? I'm not sure how we'd find out.
With modern dither the noise floor of 16bit audio is even lower, so I wonder what it would sound like if that track was recorded today.
Out of interest, I used Audacity to generate a 30 second 16bit WAV of silence. I'm not sure whether Audacity applied dither to this, and if so I don't know whether the dither in Audacity is a good one anyway, but I thought i'd share the file for those interested.
Playing this file on my Denon receiver and AKG headphones, I have to turn the amp up to -10dB before I can just about hear noise. However, I can't tell you whether that noise is the noise floor of the track or the noise floor of something else in my system. I'd be interested to see how this track sounds to others.
What I can say though is I tried listening to that king crimson track (sadly through youtube) at that volume level and it while the quiet opening was listenable (fairly loud), the louder sections were almost painful.
EDIT: In an attempt to see if the noise was my system or 16bit, I generated another 30 seconds of silence and exported in 24bit. Even at 0dB on my receiver I can't hear noise with this one.
Edited by kraken2109 - 5/5/14 at 12:25pm