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DAP'S - Is there really any difference in the sound reproduction?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by astropin, Sep 26, 2016.
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  1. Raketen
    i wonder, has there been experimentation on that... like just what degree of minute differences people can pick up? like by using music that has been altered to varying degrees aproximating certain types of quantization errors? or slightly modifying dynamic range etc... sort of in the vein of hi-res tests I guess (i.e. do inaudible frequencies affect audible frequencies peceptibly?)
  2. castleofargh Contributor
    stuff that audiophiles report as audible are usually a magnitude or 2 below what the same people under a blind test will show to be audible. I think that happens for about any variable discussed on the forum.
    within the possible explanations we have: 
    - people worry about insignificant stuff, and then really believe it makes a difference.
    - blind tests are bad.
    - both.
    take your pick ^_^.
    CraftyClown likes this.
  3. gregorio
    1. Yes, in regards to pretty much any minute type of difference you can think of, plus many you can't. How much experimentation depends on the specific difference but some of it has been done numerous times over a span of up to 9 decades. Also, the reliability of that experimentation can sometimes be questioned, especially if the funding for the scientific study/experiment has come from those who have a financial interest in the outcome.
    2. Yes, this has been done but this is an example of not really needing to do a study/experiment or of just confirming the obvious. Quantisation errors are heard as random (white) noise when converted back to analogue and the amount of quantisation error is a known statistical quantity. In other words, we have a certain amount of unwanted (quantisation) noise which even using just 16bit is at least 10 times and typically over 100 times lower than the almost identical unwanted noise on the recording itself.
    3. The dynamic range of commercial audio recordings are orders of magnitude lower than the dynamic range of which 16bit is capable. Slightly (or even significantly) increasing the dynamic range of the recording will still easily fall within the dynamic range capabilities of 16bit and therefore will be identical at 16bit as at 24bit (hi-res). This is another case of where studies have confirmed what is obvious (given all the correct facts!).
    4. Again, yes and in this case quite a few studies, although the answer is not as clear cut because of some special circumstances, IMD for example. Allowing for those special circumstances, the answer is "no" but this answer has been obfuscated to a certain degree by flawed experiments/studies being published by those with an ultrasonic product to sell.
    With regards to my last post, my response to TheoS53's assertion of digital timing errors (jitter). Experiments indicate that with music, most people can't discern less than 500ns (nano seconds) of jitter and no one can discern less than 250ns of jitter. The jitter expected of even a cheap consumer converter is about 500 times less than even the 250ns figure!
    Astropin and Raketen like this.
  4. gregorio
    Deleted: Double post.
  5. cnocbui
    Anyone interested in a little experiment?
    I have a WAV file I made some years ago.  It consists of sections of a track recorded from the output of a Micromega Stage 2 CD player which has individual DACs  for each channel, interleaved with sections from a recording of the output from an Apple iPod 3rd Gen which has a Wolfson DAC, playing an Apple lossles version of the same track.  The idea is to see if you can hear any obvious change in sound quality and nominate the time codes where the edits are.
    If anyone's interested, I can upload the file and provide a link and people can download it and have a listen.
    I can't hear a difference and I don't really hear a difference between the outputs of digital media players.
  6. TheoS53
    I'm up for it. Not due to any sort of arrogance and belief that I'd "easily" be able to tell them apart. But simply out of genuine curiosity 
  7. cnocbui
    Ok, here is the file: https://mega.nz/#!IA4ylRDA!usKCklNl39TfmjhEoI_g0CqYRcUEYbD6pLOJdbTLiaM
  8. TheoS53
  9. Samueru Sama
    I would like to have the two files separated so I could perform an ABX test on foobar2000. That's the method I use.
    I actually have a Samsung Galaxy Ace (the first one) recorded driving an 80 ohm load, and the original file had to be converted to AAC in order to record it (Cuz the phone can't play lossless files xd). Here it is (with the original flac file for comparison) so anyone can try to perform an ABX test with ABX comparator for foobar2000.
  10. cnocbui

    I have to say you were close enough I think you are picking the transitions, which are at 0:23, 1:00, 1:46, 2:36, and 3:26.

  11. spruce music

    Well downloaded last night and listened this morning.  Didn't expect to see results revealed so soon.  I picked most of them within a few seconds of your numbers.  Missed the 0:23 transition.  What I heard using Sony MDR 7610 phones was an image shift and change in the reverb quality at the transition points.   Maybe TheoS53 could describe what he heard. 
  12. cnocbui

    Here you go: https://transfer.sh/zps84/mazmicipod.zip
    There is possibly a slight difference in level between the two files due to the vagaries of doing analogue recordings from sources with different line level outputs so you might want to try and level match one against the other if that is the case.
  13. spruce music

    Yes, the iPod file is around .6 db higher in level.  While not obvious as a loudness difference, it is enough to cause one to hear a quality difference.  That likely was what allowed us to hear the transitions. Very possible if you drop that ipod level by .6 db in a sound editor and reposted with different transition points no one would hear it.
  14. TheoS53

    What I heard was when the tracks switched over, there would be a little 'pop', or in the case of 03:50 I could hear a little 'pop' and 'beep'.

    In terms of the actual sound, though, I didn't hear a great deal of difference other than that the stage sounded larger on the one. By that I mean that one sounded more like a large hall, and the other a smaller room.... There Just seemed to be a longer decay with 1 of them
  15. Samueru Sama
    Add a 0 dB tone to your music, that way you can perfectly match volume before recording. Once done, remove the tone before uploading the files.
    And the tone also tells you if you're clipping the input (going over its max input voltage).
    For example, it seems I was drunk when I recorded the dac of a motherboard.
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