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LOUDNESS WAR - is there anything we can still do ?!

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by headlover, Mar 31, 2009.
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  1. deaconblues
    Haha, I love that CD vs Guitar Hero comparison for Metallica's Death Magnetic. It's a sad day when we have to turn to video games for the higher quality version of an album.
     
  2. Acix
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by LFF /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    Please elaborate. [​IMG]



    I try to share my experience with the Phonitor, which makes it easy to detect sound above 20kHz. It's important to go from experience instead of telling people what they theoretically can and can't hear. After all, it's the personal experience that makes the difference.

    So I don't know if you can call it "schooling", but they can take the recommendation before they give their opinion.
     
  3. LFF
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Acix /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    It's important to go from experience instead of telling people what they theoretically can and can't hear.



    Then we are on the same page. I don't tell them what to listen for. I never tell them what they can or can't hear. What I do tell them is that compressing the crap out of music is bad and that I will not do that. Messing around with the dynamic range to the point where there is a brickwalled waveform on my screen is something I refuse to do. When they ask why - I just show them that youtube video. If they insist - they can go elsewhere. [​IMG]
     
  4. gregorio
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by haloxt /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    When I said DSP on 44.1khz I mean some really crazy DSP inside the source/dac that'll take 44.1khz and add ultrasounds into it.

    Higher than 24khz may be inaudible, but what happens to my headphone drivers when they try to play it? Won't it affect its ability to play the audible frequencies etc. And by modding headphones I mean making the earcups so screwed up that they can produce ultrasounds when only 22khz max is coming from the drivers. Why, you might ask? I don't know, just wondering if Ultrasone headphones are called Ultrasone for such a reason [​IMG].




    If the sampling rate is 44.1kFs/s there is not and cannot be any frequencies above 22kHz. So there are no DSPs which can or could introduce frequencies higher than 22kHz. Once this digital audio has been converted to the analogue domain, then yes, frequencies above 22kHz could and probably are introduced by the electronic components in your amp and drivers. This has always been the case with analogue audio and if it does affect what you can hear, it has always affected it and always will. In the days of analogue recording, a quite strong signal at 40Khz-150kHz was always added to the recording (tape bias). No one ever complained about it and in fact many people still feel that analogue recordings sound better than digital ones.

    So to answer your question; no, the higher frequency content will not affect what you can hear in your cans.

    G
     
  5. haloxt
    A winamp DSP could take 44.1khz and turn it into 192khz with random ultrasounds before feeding it into the dac. And it's interesting what you said about analogue injecting tape bias, maybe that is what made analogue so pleasurable.
     
  6. gregorio
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by haloxt /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    A winamp DSP could take 44.1khz and turn it into 192khz with random ultrasounds before feeding it into the dac.



    True but then of course it wouldn't be 44.1kFs/s anymore. And random sound in digital audio means noise. So, if you appreciate additional inaudible noise in your recordings, then 192kFs/s would be the way to go.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by haloxt /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    And it's interesting what you said about analogue injecting tape bias, maybe that is what made analogue so pleasurable.



    Adding tape bias during recording had the effect of energizing the magnetic particles on the tape which resulted in better noise and distortion characteristics. However, the tape itself was not able to physically record the high frequency bias, so although it was there during recording it was not there on playback. It's generally assumed that random inaccuracies in frequency and transient response along with tape saturation artefacts is what creates the "warm" sonic signature of analogue recordings.

    G
     
  7. haloxt
    Wow we got three recording pros in one thread ^^. It would be a great service to mankind if someone could figure out a way to convert 44.1khz music to have the same kind of "hypersonic effect" effect as 192khz. Assuming, of course, that the hypersonic effect is real. It would be a mighty blow against the loudness wars (without even having to lift a finger against recording companies) and you would deserve a nobel prize.
     
  8. gregorio
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by haloxt /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    Wow we got three recording pros in one thread ^^. It would be a great service to mankind if someone could figure out a way to convert 44.1khz music to have the same kind of "hypersonic effect" effect as 192khz. Assuming, of course, that the hypersonic effect is real. It would be a mighty blow against the loudness wars (without even having to lift a finger against recording companies) and you would deserve a nobel prize.



    I'm not sure what you mean by "hypersonic effect" in 192kFs/s. There is no hypersonic effect that I am aware of. Also, higher sample rates and/or higher bit depths have nothing to do with the loudness wars. In fact, the more compressed the signal the fewer digital bits are required to encode it. You have to realise that in general on a CD, probably at least 6 of the 16bits contain nothing more than noise. When looking at a completely brick walled CD, probably more than 10 of the 16bits contain nothing more than noise. So all 24bit is going to give you is another 8bits of noise. 192kFs/s is theoretically capable of capturing frequencies up to about 90kHz (as opposed to about 40kHz using 96kFs/s). The only thing which is in those higher frequencies is noise, as no studio microphone can pick up anything anywhere near 90kHz and no consumer speakers or cans can reproduce frequencies in that range either. 192kFs/s is a real red herring!

    G
     
  9. Acix
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by gregorio /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    I'm not sure what you mean by "hypersonic effect" in 192kFs/s. There is no hypersonic effect that I am aware of. Also, higher sample rates and/or higher bit depths have nothing to do with the loudness wars. In fact, the more compressed the signal the fewer digital bits are required to encode it. You have to realise that in general on a CD, probably at least 6 of the 16bits contain nothing more than noise. When looking at a completely brick walled CD, probably more than 10 of the 16bits contain nothing more than noise. So all 24bit is going to give you is another 8bits of noise. 192kFs/s is theoretically capable of capturing frequencies up to about 90kHz (as opposed to about 40kHz using 96kFs/s). The only thing which is in those higher frequencies is noise, as no studio microphone can pick up anything anywhere near 90kHz and no consumer speakers or cans can reproduce frequencies in that range either. 192kFs/s is a real red herring!

    G





    Some of the studio monitor speakers will go easy above 20 Khz.
    Like the ADAM and the Yamaha monitors. Most of the hp's in the last ten years will go above 20Khz too.


    High end analog device has a good potential to go from 20Khz to 50Khz, and higher than 50Khz. If in the device specs, there is no reason to believe that they are big fat liars. So yes, there is equipment that goes above 20 kHz and even if you don't hear the frequencies up there, you still benefit from it by hearing much more smooth and pleasant sound.
     
  10. gregorio
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Acix /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    Some of the studio monitor speakers will go easy above 20 Khz.
    Like the ADAM and the Yamaha monitors. Most of the hp's in the last ten years will go above 20Khz too.

    High end analog device has a good potential to go from 20Khz to 50Khz, and higher than 50Khz. If in the device specs, there is no reason to believe that they are big fat liars. So yes, there is equipment that goes above 20 kHz and even if you don't hear the frequencies up there, you still benefit from it by hearing much more smooth and pleasant sound.




    I didn't say that no equipment goes beyond 20kHz, I said that no studio or consumer equipment goes up to 90kHz. Frequencies up to about 40kHz can be captured using a sample rate of 96kFs/s, so I see no benefit in doubling that sample rate to 192kHz. The other point to bare in mind is that the vast majority of studio microphones do not record beyond 20kHz and when mixing, I don't want much in my recordings beyond 20kHz anyway. How am I going to mix or manipulate frequencies which I cannot hear?

    One final point you made, that analogue devices can record up to 50kHz is rather mis-leading. Analogue recording systems are very inaccurate and random in the way they cope with frequencies above 20kHz. So although the potential may be there (which is disputable), it can't really be used and was not used in the '80s or earlier when analogue recording was still the norm.

    G
     
  11. mbd2884
    All I know it's quite amazing that even for Classical music, the Karajan Beethoven released in 1963 sounds better than Barenboim's recent 2005 releases. I'm not talking that I prefer Karajan's style, it's the recording itself also.

    Seems to me the issue over recording is widespread across all genres, not just pop and rock.

    Although my Trance stuff continues to be decent quality it seems.
     
  12. gregorio
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mbd2884 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    All I know it's quite amazing that even for Classical music, the Karajan Beethoven released in 1963 sounds better than Barenboim's recent 2005 releases. I'm not talking that I prefer Karajan's style, it's the recording itself also.

    Seems to me the issue over recording is widespread across all genres, not just pop and rock.

    Although my Trance stuff continues to be decent quality it seems.




    Over compression is not usually a problem with classical music. The chances are, if there is a real quality difference between the two, that a lot more time and effort went into the Karajan recording than for the Barenboim recording. There are excellent recordings/mixes and poor recordings/mixes in every genre and over compression is just one of almost countless ways in which a recording can be made poorer quality.

    G
     
  13. DistortingJack
    The sound of classical recordings is mostly about:
    1. the amount, and nature of the musicians in the orchestra
    2. the acoustics of the recording space
    3. the distance and position of the microphones relative to the orchestra
    4. the characteristics and quality of the microphone used
    Other factors can come into consideration, all of them analog by nature, like tape and mixer noise and distortion, and general mishandling of the sounds before they get to your CD player. I have lots of recordings from the 50s and 60s where the tape noise is at the same level as the quieter parts of the piece. Noise was the bane of analog recording, every single engineer at the time spent their waking hours trying to get rid of it. We have grown to illogically praise old analog equipment as "warmer" and "fatter" than the newest analog equipment. Well, warm and fat mean distorted. And it might be desirable in popular music, but in classical recordings you want the cleanest sound possible. Currently, the cleanest sound recording you can get is through something like the Neumann KM 184 D digital microphone. 2-track compression has never been a problem in classical music, unless you go for "chillout" or stupid background music versions of classical material. If you choose to record with analog equipment, noise and distortion crawl in through every single step of the way, be it cables, preamps, transformers, mixer pots and EQ's. People might like it, but it's not the real sound.
    Also, Karajan was better than Barenboim, and the recordings had a much larger budget.
     
  14. Publius
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by gregorio /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    Over compression is not usually a problem with classical music. The chances are, if there is a real quality difference between the two, that a lot more time and effort went into the Karajan recording than for the Barenboim recording. There are excellent recordings/mixes and poor recordings/mixes in every genre and over compression is just one of almost countless ways in which a recording can be made poorer quality.

    G




    Honestly, I'd be shocked if the 1963 Karajans weren't compressed. Most recordings of the era probably had something, between the tape distortion and whatnot. This is especially true for vinyl masters.

    There's no real consensus on how classical music is mastered. Some people say compression is never employed, some say it's always employed for large orchestra music because of the dynamics involved, etc. And you can find real professions on both sides of the issue.

    I like to direct people to the PSO recordings as a blatant example of unmastered classical recordings. The performances are not great, but the loudness peaks are just startling in places. ie, the recording there of Le Sacre du Printemps just blows my vinyl Boulez/CSO 1968 pressing out of the water, and the PSO recording is in a different sonic league entirely on Schoenberg's "Five Pieces for Orchestra", compared to my MLP Dorati/LSO CD.

    von Karajan was an insanely megalomaniacal conductor who also dictated many aspects of recording, production, etc. I remember hearing about a "von Karajan sound" that is somewhat well known - a relatively sweet, refined production style - that I understand is relatively consistent across his entire recording history.

    That said, did you know that several modern DG releases use extensive brickwall limiting?
     
  15. DistortingJack
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Publius /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    von Karajan was an insanely megalomaniacal conductor who also dictated many aspects of recording, production, etc. I remember hearing about a "von Karajan sound" that is somewhat well known - a relatively sweet, refined production style - that I understand is relatively consistent across his entire recording history.

    That said, did you know that several modern DG releases use extensive brickwall limiting?




    Sad to hear about the DG issue. It's not limiting, that's actually clipping. It's true that small amounts of clipping are usually inaudible, but I don't like the idea of it happening. Yet, if it sounds good, it is good, and that recording, which I own, doesn't sound compressed to me. If it is, I don't care because it doesn't attract attention to itself, which is exactly what we're talking about here.
    I stand by my original post, and compression does not change the sound of an orchestral recording as much as acoustics and miking styles.
     
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