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Testing audiophile claims and myths

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by prog rock man, May 3, 2010.
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  1. Steve999
    Yes, I think, well I know, there are some “objectivists” who churn through gear or spend huge amounts of money chasing measured “technical” superiority that goes well beyond the thresholds of audibility. Some of them are very knowledgeable and will tell you this themselves. I am persuaded that there is some considerable merit to buying an amp or a receiver designed to drive the type of speakers you have and with a good chunk of headroom. That extra headroom might commonly cost an extra $100 or $150 in my experience. Otherwise for my tastes the extra moolah is best spent on good speakers, EQ with room correction, surround sound, and, absolutely, two quality powered subwoofers. :grin: Since they take on a heavy load. i.e., the low frequencies, I would think the subwoofers would be a way of providing for more headroom for the amp to drive the passive speakers.

    Crank this!!! :L3000:

    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
  2. analogsurviver
    There is - in real world - no such thing as "good enough". At least not in audio - yet.

    Referring to the RBCD as being ( quote ) : a format and equipment that is perfect for the purposes of listening to commercially recorded music in our living rooms. Nothing is missing. Nothing is degraded. Our ears are receiving every nuance of sound that they can possibly hear. (end of quote ) is misleading - at best.

    There is a reason why formats with frequency response well past 20 kHz ( tape, analog record, hirez digital ) are gaining traction - and that reason is sound quality. There are many technical whys and hows behind it - but let+s limit ourseves with ther fact that real world filtering of digital recording and playback is still anything but perfect and can introduce more garbage well past 20 kHz than any analog recording ever had.

    SACD is nothing else than DSD64 ( 64 times oversampling of 44.100 Hz used for RBCD ) 2.8something MHz at 1 bit. It is absolutely the lowest "grade" that is usable - and barely at that. Its main drawback is really high levels of ultrasonic noise above 20 kHz. If the recording level is not pushed close to 0dBFS, and god forbid recording peaking at -10dBFS or less, with lesser amps it IS possible to start clipping the amp - with no or really low level music playing in DSD64. It becomes audible as "noise" once you go past certain volume setting on the amplifier - and the setting that does allow for the clipping of the amp in ultrasonics to be avoided is not going to attain normal listening level.

    I did a fair amount recording in DSD64 before switching to DSD128 - which I regard to be as minimal standard for DSD as was/is Yugo the minimal requirement for aN usable car. Although no more recorded information can get retrieved by upsampling a DSD recording originally made in lower sampling frequency, what CAN be achieved is lowering the level of that ultrasonic noise. And that reduction gives one 6dB lower ultrasonic noise for each doubling the sampling frequency. Even Foobar2000 already suports DSD1024 - more or less for this reason, since there are only a handful native genuine DSD512 recordings available at the time and none DSD1024 ( all have been upsampled ) .

    There is a thread about "what frequencies are in HDTracks" ... - mainly used for complaining there are artefacts not contained in music and altogether slamming anything with any output above 20 kHz does not only serve no purpose, but is detrimental to sound quality. And THAT is - partially at least - correct at the time; since downloads available today have been agreed to be made/upsampled from lower resolution recordings using both hardware and software available "at the time". That "at the time" can with advances in digital be measured in ever increasingly ( or decreasingly, whatever you prefer ) shorter amounts of time. One thing IS certain - though; no one is going to use in the future digital gear made in late 80s/90s/00s ( as is common with analog gear ) - not if the best sound quality is the aim.

    Whatever advances in DACs ( and that HAS TO include ADCs of comparable quality, too.. ) in the future, it WILL be also about lowering whatever artefacts ( noise, aloiasing, jitter, etc ) above 20 kHz - in GHz range, if required.

    Only in this way a truly clean audio ( to 100 kHz or so - musical instruments DO contain frequencies that high ) with insignificantly low anything else can bew achieved. And only that can then be - finally - called "audibly transparent".

    Remember one certain thing : from such master that is ship shape to 100kHz or even above, one can make CD ( with all of its audible limitations ) - whreas one can not make a 100 kHz master from a RBCD master. Only improving upon brickwall filtering issues and noise - not the actual content.

    From that is clear - I at least hope so - that throwing all hirez (both upsamplings and true native hirez, regardless if PCM or DSD ) in the same one basket is WRONG.

    One has to use native hirez recordings for listening evaluations. And, no, you can not have (n+1)th remastering of the Dark Side Of The Moon - and think of it as true hirez. It can only be the best digital copy of the analog master tape - with all the limits and limitations of the SOTA studio gear that has been available back in the day.

    Most of the "no difference" stems from this fact - not from the inability of currently available equipment to deliver.

    There is no denying that the level of musicianship achieved in many "old, non hirez" recordings is unlikely to be ever witnessed again - and I to prefer good song on portable radio to superbly recorded audiohile covers on multimillion equipment.

    Just don't compare apples to oranges; the history of recorded sound only spans some 125 years or so - and there have been serious improvements made with each modernization. Unfortunately, RBCD has been the first time at least some aspects of performance were worse than its predecessors. Now is the level of technology high enough to allow for digital to become free of the most glaring drawbacks - without havingto cost an arm and a leg.

    For the meaningfully large selection library of good native hirez recording by good>great artists, at least some 20 years will be required. Most of us on this thread will probably no longer be around to witness this happening. But I most certainly do not want to be viewed as somebody who wanted to prevent that from happening.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
  3. TheSonicTruth

    Name at least three of those aspects in which you claim RB to be "worse than its predecessors".

    (Besides those crappy brittle jewel cases which can be difficult to open or close, crack constantly, lose sections of the spider that holds the disc inside, etc)

    Crimey, you audiophiles make CD out to be worse than cassette tape, for cryin out loud!
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
  4. analogsurviver
    1. Frequency response limited to 22050 Hz - by which there should be absolutely no output. At least in theory.
    2. Severe phase shift in the treble due to brickwall filtering required.
    3. Interchannel phase problem I have already described ( when it happens, one channel lags behind the other for the exact rise time of the sampling frequency chosen ) ; it can creep up even today, with certain combinations of hardware and software,
    NOBODY can test all devices and all software that in practice can be used together. And it can sound really ugly with good recordings.

    Using decent noise reduction, analog tape ( reel to reel ) can meet or exceed 100 dB S/N - which is better than RBCD.

    Set, game and match to - analog.

    Not to mention hirez - either PCM or DSD - done right.
  5. bigshot
    Inaudible problems. I wish all of my problems in life were impossible to perceive.

    This is a good illustration of my point though... unnecessarily high sampling rates, unecessarily low noise floors, phase shifting slightly above the absolute bleeding edge of hearing (which isn't the treble range by the way)... Without the context of the limits of human perception, it's easy to drift off into the lala land of "more is better". With human ears, it's a waste of time though. If you want to justify all of this auditory excelsior, you are going to need an ear upgrade first.

    The irony is that with about $50 worth of equipment and a friend to help you, a blind test will tell you that you don't need all of the things you are pumping up as vitally important. It's so easy to know the truth, hard to defend the lie. It takes jumping through hoops to continue to support a blatant misconception after all of the arguments and evidence that has been presented to you. But I guess you have enough leisure time to devote to that.

    I don't think you care at all about sampling rates or noise floors or binaural recordings. I think you just like the reactions you get from standing in the middle of the forum and shouting silly things with a completely straight face. You're just thirsty for attention.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
  6. analogsurviver
    It only goes to highlight you never got to experience really good recordings on really good equipment. Does not have to cost an arm and a leg, but it does require eschewing practices most often followed.

    Filter this, limit that, compress everything, send it couple of times trough mixing desk, ... then there is actually little or anything really good left worth preserving on any type of recording.
  7. bigshot
    You WISH you had access to the equipment I've had access to over the years.

    Don't try pulling the old trick "either your equipment sucks or you're deaf" because I'll wipe the floor with you on that argument.

    As for filtering, you just said that you need to apply a noise reduction filter to analog tape to get it to perform better than redbook. Tape has generation loss, mixing consoles don't. If you're worried about the sacred purity of recorded sound, you won't get that with analog tape. You don't talk as if you have any real experience recording professionally. You talk like a duffer.
  8. gregorio
    1. As opposed to say vinyl, which has accurate freq response to about 16kHz and then it's mostly noise/interference/distortion. Whereas CD has no noise, distortion or anything else above 22.05kHz. Winner - CD, easily!
    2. Brickwall filtering on CD has absolutely zero phase shift in the treble or anywhere else, hence why it's called a "linear phase filter"! Analogue on the other hand, all over the place. Winner - CD, by an infinite amount!
    3. Which was impressive the first time because you tried to describe a problem that you've just invented but does NOT exist! There is absolutely zero interchannel phase on CD, again, unlike analogue. Winner - CD, by an infinite amount!
    4. No, they can't. However, that doesn't matter with CD as bit perfect can be easily achieved. Not true with analogue of course, thermal noise for example is cumulative. Winner - CD, easily.
    4a. Yes, analogue thermal noise and distortion can eventually sound ugly, CD however can't, unless it's been made to sound ugly! Winner - CD, as there is no thermal noise or distortion with CD it wins by infinity again!
    5. No it can't, around 90dB is the most that can be achieved with analogue tape and that's before generational loss. CD on the other hand can manage 120dB dynamic range. Winner - CD by roughly 100 times over good reel to reel tape. BTW, you do know that noise reduction is a set of filters? Ever seen what filters in the analogue domain do to the signal's phase? Oh dear, that blows your #2 out of the water!
    6. Only if you're playing "suicide chess", otherwise it's a complete whitewash to CD!

    It only goes to highlight that either you've only ever experienced the cheapest, oldest, most defective consumer CD recording/reproduction equipment or that you're utterly deluded. I'll go for the latter, as you're describing things "sounding ugly" that don't even exist!!!!

  9. analogsurviver
    True - I wish I had access to some of the equipment ypu may or may not have had over the years.

    Except that I would try to use it for the improvement, not maintauning status quo. And that is a BIG difference.

    Noise reduction is NOT filtering - not in a sense it has to specifically attenuate some frequencies at some predetermined way, such as brick filtering for RBCD. Usually, it is compression on recording and mirroring expansion on playback. Depending on type of noise reduction, it may involve filtering - but these filters need not to be so steep and are therefore muchg more manageable.

    Sorry, there are more pure sounding recordings made using analog tape than whatever RBCD recorded. If you have forgotten, DSD is my choice because it does sound the most analogue-ish of all available digital. Except DSD does not require any noise reduction to meet or exceed RBCD and is free from all analogue artefacts of tape.

    I am well aware of the generation loss in analog tape recording. That is why I tend to use direct to disk analog records for really serious evaluations.

    Remember one thing : being proffessional means just that - nothing less, but also nothing more. It does NOT mean being, wishing to be - or even trying to be - the best.

    Whilst on head-fi, I did get to expand some nice - and some not so nice - vocabulary. Take notice it will get used at the correct time.
  10. gregorio
    1. Ever seen what analogue compression/expansion does to the signal? Obviously not, which begs the question, why not? You've been doing this supposedly for how many years? And, even though the noise filters are not so steep as anti-alias filters, they are in the analogue domain and are therefore LESS manageable, not more!

    2. And indeed you should be "sorry", for keep repeating the same old nonsense without the slightest of evidence!
    2a. Well that's a terrible indictment of DSD!
    2b. Nonsense, DSD requires massive noise shaping, without noise shaping DSD provides only 6dB dynamic range as opposed to the 96dB (un-noise shaped) dynamic range of CD. How does 6dB "meet or exceed" 96dB?
    2c. Hang on, if DSD is free of all analogue tape artefacts, how can it sound "analogue-ish"? Does it have all the artefacts of vinyl instead or maybe the artefacts of a wax cylinder?

    3. So instead of the generational loss of tape recording, you instead go for an even greater loss from converting through a physical disk cutter. That's you trying to make an improvement and be the best is it? How's that going?

    Don't you feel even slightly embarrassed at the nonsense you're spouting?

  11. bigshot
    Is he talking about DBX? Did they use that in studios back in the day, Gregorio? I was never aware of it if they used it on the projects I was working on, but I did see it on consumer gear. And as well as it worked, DBX processing was certainly NOT lossless.
  12. dprimary
    There was bunch of different ones all with artifacts, Dolby A and SR, DBX type 1, Telefunken C4, EMT. SR was the only one that had much acceptance and that was only in film. Then there was all the low performance consumer schemes Dolby B,C and S, DBX type 2 and Telefunken high com.
  13. old tech
    Funny that. If I was aiming for the best possible recording/playback I would not want it to sound analogish or digital (whatever that means), in fact I wouldn't want it to sound anything different than the original recording.

    As far as filtering and phase effects, Asurvivor seems to gloss over the RIAA equalisation required for LP production. A very imprecise EQ curve at both the cutting and playback ends - just one of the long list of reasons why LPs can never approach RBCD for fidelity.

    Off topic, and given your field of work @gregorio why is it that many modern documentaries have background music so loud that it makes it difficult to hear the actual dialogue? Is it because they are designed for flat screen TVs with crappy speakers?
  14. Steve999
    I know I am no @gregorio and it’s probably a dumb question but do you have a center channel speaker?
  15. old tech
    No, just through decent stereo speakers. No issues though with movies or TV broadcast, just a problem with many newer docos.

    One of the reasons I asked whether it is due to being produced for crappy speakers is that those docos are fine to watch on you tube on a PC or tablet's native speakers but again the background music is intrusive when listening through headphones.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
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