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Are there any benefits to SNR higher than 110 dB?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by chongky, Sep 29, 2014.
  1. Strangelove424
    Deviation from the input signal correlated to the input signal is distortion, not noise. The SNR addresses a different facet of playback, and I wouldn't want to mix variables if I ever got the chance to try this. The point is not to find a pleasing sound sig or to trick people into thinking they hear tubes by introducing even order/inter-modulation distortion into a clean signal (though I think that would be a fascinating experiment on its own too) but rather to explore what SNR people really need for enjoyment.
    It's worth noting that these super high SNR ratios (110db+) are not found in any natural environment with a natural acoustic source. Classical symphonies have a typical dynamic range 50-60db, with a fairly high ambient noise floor due to the audience. I won't get into rock concerts because those can be artificially amped into hearing damage levels, and an electric guitar is not a completely acoustic instrument... but even rock concerts (within safe SPL levels) have dynamic range limits well within the range of CD, and also have relatively high ambient noise levels. Let's say a person hypothetically wears isolating headphones that bring the noise floor to 15db, and then listens to an amp with 120dbSNR and HD material with 120db+ of dynamic range, is that a truly realistic depiction of any naturally recorded material? No symphony you ever attend would yield such an experience in either DR or noise floor. The ability to accurately reproduce live music was achieved a long time ago. We've become obsessed with technical numbers that have no correlation to reality anymore, assuming the bigger the numbers the better the experience. It's the musical equivalent to pixel peeping, and does very little good to expose the greater or more realistic picture of what you are looking at.
     I bought an assortment of Louis Armstrong records. My CDs of him are often fatiguing, and I think the higher noise levels and limited dynamics of vinyl might actually help. And, after all, those albums and songs were originally distributed on vinyl anyway. I'm curious to see how the experience goes.     
  2. AnAnalogSpirit
    I'd have to find myself agreeing with the point about "as long as we listen to crap masters", though i do find the merits of the test intriguing.
  3. castleofargh Contributor
    and how many amps actually offer that at normal listening level? ^_^
  4. Strangelove424
    Depends how many listeners want their ears to be bleeding. It's just a matter of turning the knob till you scream bloody murder. The excuse for such high SNRs is a black background at any reasonable listening level. But that's what I'm curious of... how black of a background do people really need, or even more curiously, how black of a background do they really want in practice without reference to ideal specs? I'd bet the answer would surprise alot of people.  
  5. headdict
    Just found this post on 24-bit noise:


    I wonder if these have a good SNR. You wouldn't want to listen to noise with an audible noise floor, or would you? It might add a greyish tint to an otherwise perfectly pink noise. I'm pretty sure that nasty things can happen if you burn in your headphones with imperfect low-res noise.
  6. castleofargh Contributor

    so that's how you color a signature
  7. kraken2109
  8. Soused
    Pink Noise? is that her new album?
  9. ieee754
    I think the main reason to not bother with expensive amps/dacs is that headphones/speakers are always the weakest link in audio systems. For example typical harmonic distortion levels for high-end headphones are between -40 and -60dB. Lets say that our headphone has a first order harmonic of 100Hz at -60dB, and amp at -90dB. If we sum these harmonics we will finally get distortion at about -60.01dB, and we know that even trained listeners can't tell difference between volume levels below 0.3dB, so it doesn't matter if our amp distorts at -90dB or -130dB, as it's always masked by headphone distortion. Same thing applies for other properties such as SNR.
  10. mikeaj
    Just in case this was a real question (at least in the first part), pink noise is a technical term for a specific type of noise, the kind having equal energy in every octave. So equal energy between 20 and 40 Hz as between 40 and 80 Hz and so on. This is as opposed to white noise (equal energy per hertz) and other types of noise encountered in many systems.
  11. Soused

    Thanks. It was a joke.
  12. AnAnalogSpirit
    HILARIOUS! I like P!NK when she gets raw. Those are good tacks n albums. BTW. Pink Noise is just one of the many various noise spectrum types, useful for many things.
  13. AnAnalogSpirit
  14. AnAnalogSpirit
    I like it DARK. But I will put up with classy fine grained analogue sound and oversample. Its counterintuitive, but it works if you have various material, sources, cans, and moods. Call me a clutterbug if you will, but the best I've gotten to so far is a finely remastered ambient techno track, digital SPDIF, FiiO E17 on lowest gain highest volume, with artificial widening via treble at +10dB, treble at +10dB, as preamp to my SENSE OTL tube amp with quiet Amperex tubes, from a PC source, Auzen X Meridian with a good chip in the front channel that leans to the organic coloration.that tube amp is one of the quietest I have heard, through MDR-MA900
  15. Soused

    Clutterbug is not the word that comes to mind, don't worry.

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