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Technical question, sort of.

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by old tech, Nov 25, 2018.
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  1. old tech
    On some CDs I can hear a glitch at random points but usually at higher frequencies.

    It is sort of like a bird chirp, or the sound when you hit the FF/scan function on a CD player but just one chirp for a fraction of a second rather than a series of them.

    The chirp sound can be heard on rips of CDs (so not a decoding error from a specific players).

    What is it and what causes it?
  2. Steve999
    I heard something like that on my first two CD players, one from Sanyo and one from Yamaha. That was in the early 1980s. My third CD player, a cheap Pioneer (still works!), never ever did that. The storebought discs i was using then work fine to this day on computers and more modern playback equipment.

    I don't know if this is what you are hearing or what causes it. Sorry that all I have to lend is this sliver or experience. I do remember finding it very disappointing and irritating.

    Can you try a store-bought CD associated with the problem on another playback device? That's where I would start.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2018
  3. old tech
    I don't think it is related to the CD player. I sometimes can hear it on rips downloaded from the net and with various playback devices. I used to sometimes hear it on FM radio too, though that was some time ago.

    Just to be clear, I only hear it occasionally and even so, it is usually just one or two tracks that may have this and it is only for a split second. The chirp is more noticeable on vocals (particularly higher pitched vocals) than instruments.

    I'm just wondering if it is a glitch on the actual CD or the ADC in the studio.
  4. Steve999
    Can you identify a spot on a store-bought CD where it happens? If so, if i don't have it, I can likely get it from Amazon and a free rip as well (which you often get from Amazon). I'm willing to sink $20 or $30 into trying to replicate your experience, especially if it means I get to dig in to some unfamiliar music. I still don't see anything in your post that logicaly rules out a faulty CD playback device in the chain somewhere. If you've got a storebought CD and a track and time where it happens every time we are in business. I'll try to replicate it.
  5. old tech
    No worries Steve, but I'll have to get back to you on this as I need to remember which tracks I hear this - I might even come across it when I listen to some music tonight. The reason why I cannot recall a specific track/album is that it is only an occassional fleeting blip, though I probably will now remember specifics as I am thinking about it - for example "Poor Boy" on the Split Enz End of an Era CD on the 'when she speaks to me, high frequency'. It is almost like a digital version of the sibilance that is sometimes present on vinyl - but obviously not the same thing.

    I rarely play CDs these days but I do occasionly hear the chirp when playing music from the streamer (that's another reason why I don't think it is necessarily a CD player issue), but rather embedded in the CD or the digital transfer.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2018
  6. Steve999
    I'll check out the track if I can find it on Apple Music or Spotify tomorrow. :smile_phones:

    I've very occasionally heard what i thought to be digital clipping on streaming services.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2018
  7. bfreedma
    Clearly, you have a small bird trapped in the wall...

    More seriously, I’m interested to see if I can replicate this. When you have the chance, please post a couple of titles and the time that you hear the “chirp”

    Could be something technical. Could also be something with your specific physiology.
  8. Steve999
    Okay, so the null hypothesis is that there is a small bird trapped in the wall. So we don't need to test that. That's our fallback.

  9. bfreedma

    Yes. Obviously...

    And it saves old tech from having to call pest control services and open his wall to test the theory unless all other testing is inconclusive or disproves other possibilities. Everyone wins!
  10. bigshot
    My guess is that since it is on CDs as well as rips as well as streaming, it is probably a frequency imbalance in the peak vocal range that is causing overdriving or perhaps some sort of freak distortion in your amp or headphones. If you can find a track that does it consistently, you should be able to apply a notch filter to tame it using an equalizer. Does it always happen with the same amp or set of headphones?
  11. old tech
    Given that I occasionally hear this irrespective of what room I am in, I think the small bird must be trapped in my head.

    Seriously though, I am surprised no-one else hears this occasional chirp.
  12. old tech
    The thing is that I have noticed this for decades now, over many different amps, speakers, players, rooms, situations etc.

    I have never given any thought to taming it because it is so occasional and fleeting. In othe words, if I spend a whole afternoon listening to a variety of music from digital sources I might hear it once or twice and only for a split second. I always believed it was some low level decoding error due to the CD production and just curious what causes it.

    I listened again to that Split Enz track again and it definitately sounds like hitting the FF/scan button but with just the one chirp.

    I'll post that track later on.
  13. bfreedma
    So you admit to being a serial bird wall trapper :)

    Kidding aside, it could be something physiological. Perhaps a certain sound sequence is being perceived as a chirp. Post some examples when you get the chance so we can see if others hear the same and can check to see if it shows up on a spectrogram.
    old tech likes this.
  14. Steve999
    Listening on Spotify now. Never heard this song before!

    In some ways I have replicated and corroborated your listening experience! I am listening to the track Poor boy on the album "True Colors."

    To my ears there is major major major major major sibilance on that track to my ears listening on Spotify. Major major sibilance on the word "speaks" in the phrase "she speaks to me" that you pointed to, at about 17 seconds in. Same with I never see her face at about 1:10. Same with message in the evening sky at about 0:58. There are also synth sounds that kind of resemble birds chirping around 1:57 and 3:10.

    My guess is your ears are really sensitive to sibilance one way or another. That is among the worst sibilance I have ever heard so if your ears are sensitive to that kind of thing I wouldn't be surprised at all if it was messing with you.

    Now I gotta check out the music!
  15. old tech
    Thanks for doing this Steve.

    That track must have the same mastering as the Enz of an Era CD, which is good beause the Enz CD is a desirable early 80s release, long out of production and doesn't have any of the loudness wars treatment. Good music too.

    And yes, I never see her face is another part that the chirp is heard.

    Anyway, I agree it is a sort of sibilance (and indeed I am sensitive to sibilance) in the sense it is usually heard on the vocals where one might get some sibilance. However, to my ears anyway, it sounds very similar to the chirp when you ff/scan a CD or the sound you hear on a faulty disc, but not a series of chirps. The other thing, on some music I can hear it but not necessarily on vocals. I'll post some tracks as I come across them during listening sessions.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2018
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