Help the poor sonic amnesiac
May 22, 2002 at 4:00 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

Joe Bloggs

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I just found out that my auditory loop lasts for only about 30s. This means that I can only hold 30s of music in my working memory reliably to compare with the same music played out of a different system.

Now, this may be acceptable with testing earphones (where you pull off one pair, put on another pair and immediately notice the difference; at worst you just need to rewind 30s), less so with auditioning amps (pull out one amp, plug in another, pull out headphone plug, plug into another) but how the heck can I audition sources with a memory like that??
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For example, as an experiment I just practised comparing my Senn HD580 and Sony EX70 EREQ playing Ghost of the Navigator (song) by Iron Maiden. Playing through 4 min. of music, I thought at the end that the EX70 (EREQ!) reproduced the cymbals particularly well. Noting the track position (4:15-5:15) I switched over to the HD580 and listened to the same part again--and damned if the HD580 didn't have louder cymbals and it's own unique (and very good) musical interpretation of said cymbals!
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The problem is, with extended listening, I may be paying attention to one thing at a track position in the first listen and another thing at the same track position in the next listen--and I can't compare anything!
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I'd just end up thinking that a setup was better at reproducing that part of the music I was paying attention to when I was listening to that setup.
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I see 3 possible 'solutions' to my problem in auditioning sources:
1. Stick only with players that the salesman can fast forward!
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(it seems that very few players can do this without a remote control, and they *never* have the remote controls with them
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)

2. Stick with auditioning only the first 30 seconds of any track. This sucks because the first 30s of a track is unlikely to contain much audition-worthy material.
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3. Burn CDs with track marks thrown in all over the place, so a 10-track CD becomes a 100-track CD and I can jump to any place I want. Doable, but lots of hard work, and I'll be stuck listening to CDRs.
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Any better ideas?
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(you can tell I'm in a bad mood tonight
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)
 
May 22, 2002 at 4:42 PM Post #2 of 15

dhwilkin

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Write your observations down, and try to be as descriptive as possible about them. Not perfect, but much better than nothing.
 
May 22, 2002 at 4:54 PM Post #3 of 15

slindeman

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I've tried doing the A/B thing with CD players and it doesn't really work for me unless there are large differences, i.e. portable cd player vs. nice standalone cd player. What I do instead, is listen for awhile (20-30 min) then switch to the other for awhile, then the differences become more apparent to me. I've only found quick A/B useful for verifying things I've learned after spending a good amount of time with the components. I usually prefer to take much more time (i.e. days or weeks) before making a hard decision about what I prefer. This is for headphones, sources, or cables. I gave my Grados a good 3 months of every day listening before I decided I still preferred my HD545 to them. Same thing with my Cambridge D500SE vs. Marantz CD63SE. For me, these things can't be decided in an evening of A/B unless something is so obviously inferior about one component. I listened to my new Outlaw cables a week before deciding they were keepers, and I had given my DIY cables a week before that to supplant my Straightwire.
 
May 22, 2002 at 5:27 PM Post #4 of 15

grinch

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your solution number three really isn't that tough to pull off. you could make a nice compilation of all the tracks that you want to use to audition, and spread them over a bunch of tracks on a cd-r. use cdrwin to accomplish this with extreme ease. just rip all the songs you want to use to audition. open cdrwin, choose add tracks and add all the files you want in the order you want, then save the cuesheet. then just edit the cuesheet. it's not rocket science to figure out how a cuesheet works, and the help files have great examples of what you want to do.

i accomplished a very similar thing before when i wanted to duplicate the "hidden track 69" on tool's album undertow. just add up to 69 tracks and make each track ten frames each. making each track thirty seconds long or something shouldn't take as much time as you think it will. i'd even edit the cuesheet for you if you want.
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May 22, 2002 at 5:49 PM Post #5 of 15

Beagle

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This is where I find my MD recorder comes in handy. You can record the same track with different equipment (CD players, 'tables/cartridges etc) and simply jump instantly from one to the other while the memory is still fresh. I did this last night and was able to spot the differences in two turntable mats that I would not have a hope in finding if I was relying on an A/B swap and my memory. I am also breaking in a new MC cartridge and I recorded some stuff out of the box and I will record same tracks after a 40 hour break-in and see what the differences are.
 
May 22, 2002 at 7:47 PM Post #6 of 15

Calanctus

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Quote:

Originally posted by slindeman
I've tried doing the A/B thing with CD players and it doesn't really work for me unless there are large differences, i.e. portable cd player vs. nice standalone cd player. What I do instead, is listen for awhile (20-30 min) then switch to the other for awhile, then the differences become more apparent to me. I've only found quick A/B useful for verifying things I've learned after spending a good amount of time with the components. I usually prefer to take much more time (i.e. days or weeks) before making a hard decision about what I prefer.


I'm in the same boat. The $600 cans I bought on the basis of a 5 minute in-store AB (and C and D and E) audition turned out not to be what I like best, but this really became apparent after months of listening.

Of course, this is not much use if you are trying to do quick in-store auditions, and sometimes that's all you can do--but I suggest taking maximum advantage of friends with audio equipment, of retailers with good return/exchange policies, and of special listening opportunities such as shows/tours. All of these will allow you to take more time in listening, sometimes much more time.
 
May 23, 2002 at 4:24 AM Post #8 of 15

Joe Bloggs

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Quote:

Originally posted by grinch
your solution number three really isn't that tough to pull off. you could make a nice compilation of all the tracks that you want to use to audition, and spread them over a bunch of tracks on a cd-r. use cdrwin to accomplish this with extreme ease. just rip all the songs you want to use to audition. open cdrwin, choose add tracks and add all the files you want in the order you want, then save the cuesheet. then just edit the cuesheet. it's not rocket science to figure out how a cuesheet works, and the help files have great examples of what you want to do.

i accomplished a very similar thing before when i wanted to duplicate the "hidden track 69" on tool's album undertow. just add up to 69 tracks and make each track ten frames each. making each track thirty seconds long or something shouldn't take as much time as you think it will. i'd even edit the cuesheet for you if you want.
tongue.gif


I'd still be stuck listening to CDRs.
frown.gif
 
May 24, 2002 at 3:46 AM Post #9 of 15

Born2bwire

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I seem to be plagued with a horrible short term memory horrible short term memory. Forgive me for not helping you out, but I just had to ask you about the Iron Maiden cuts. I've got two or three of their CD's, that they've remastered back in 96 or so. On my MG Head DT, they sound kinda bad. A lot of sibilance, I cringe just about everytime I hear an s. Just wondering if you've picked that up or maybe they improved their later recordings.
 
May 24, 2002 at 5:54 AM Post #10 of 15

Joe Bloggs

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What headphones do you use? I don't find sibilance a problem on either the HD580 or the (software) modified EX70. The only gripe I have is that the vocals a somewhat recessed compared with the instruments, but this seems to be a common problem among hard rock recordings and live performances for that matter
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May 24, 2002 at 10:55 PM Post #11 of 15

john_jcb

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Just wondering if by sibilance you mean the sound of a wire wisk on a drum that appears muddled or a general background noise? On some equipment the wisk on a drum can dake on a character like static. Better equipment will let you hear the sound very clearly.

I have also heard tracks that are very noisy, perfect for poorer equipment but almost unlistenable with better stuff.
 
May 25, 2002 at 10:05 PM Post #14 of 15

Born2bwire

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Actually, I think I didn't really have a problem with sibilance when I used the Mullard CV4004. My current tube, Sylvania 5751, is more detailed and I think it's just bringing it to light. I'm using the 580 Jubilees. When I went to the 5751, a couple of my albums just sounded bad to me.
 
May 25, 2002 at 10:34 PM Post #15 of 15

Braver

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Quote:

Originally posted by john_jcb
Just wondering if by sibilance you mean the sound of a wire wisk on a drum that appears muddled or a general background noise? On some equipment the wisk on a drum can dake on a character like static.


just FYI, that phenomenon is called grain.
 

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