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"This Harbeth User Group (HUG) is the Manufacturer's own managed forum dedicated to natural sound, realisable by controlling the confounding variables between tthe microphone and the listeners' ears.

For example, the design of and interaction between the hifi amplifier and its speaker load can and potentially will alter the sound balance of what you hear. To reproduce the sounds captured by the recording microphones, as Harbeth speakers are designed to do, you would naturally select system components (sources, electronics, cables and so on) that do not color the sound before it reaches the speakers.

Identifying components for their system neutrality should, logically, start with the interpretation and analysis of their technical, objective performance, as any and every deviation from a measurably flat frequency response at any point along the serial chain from microphone to ear is very likely to cause the total system to have an audible sonic personality. That includes the contribution of the listening room itself.

HUG specialises in making complex technical matters simple to understand, aiding the identification of audio components likely to maintain a faithful relationship between the recorded sound and the sound you hear. With our heritage of natural sound, HUG cannot be really be expected to guide in the selection, approval, endorsement or even discussion of equipment that is intend to introduce a significantly personalised sound to the audio signal chain. For that you should do your own research and above all, make the effort to visit an Authorised Dealer and listen to your music at your loudness on your loudspeakers through the various electronics offered there. There is no on-line substitute for that time investment in a dealer's showroom.

If you desire to intentionally tune your system sound to your personal taste, please consider carefully how much you should rely upon the subjective opinions of strangers. Their hearing acuity and taste will be different to yours, as will be their motives and budget, their listening distance, listening loudness and listening room treatment, not necessarily leading to appropriate equipment selection and listening satisfaction for you.

Alternatively, if faithfully reproducing the sound intended by the composer, score, conductor and musicians over your speakers is your audio dream, then understanding something of the issues likely to fulfill that objective is what this forum has been helping with since 2006. Welcome!"


Jan. 2018
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Source comparison - listening test: analogue outputs from different CD players

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  • #61
    Originally posted by A.S. View Post
    I'm really surprised. Also the same source disk?

    Did you notice that, upon examination of the audio waveforms A and B, there are significant visual differences in dynamic (transient) range? And also a 3dB difference in level.
    Yes, the ripped file, ie the one that wasn't played and recorded from the CD player shows a better 'definition' for want of a better word. Example, the first 3 seconds of the song, the drum beats, play the rip and the first rapid strikes hit a fraction under -3dB and the following deeper drum takes it to almost halfway to 0dB.

    Play the same clip from the recorded track and the first rapid strikes hit almost halfway to 0dB, and the second beat doesn't advance it any further.

    Examples:

    recording

    rip

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    • #62
      Have you studied the waveforms? Can you see how different they are? Why is that? One shows strong evidence of dynamic range compression.
      Alan A. Shaw
      Designer, owner
      Harbeth Audio UK

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      • #63
        Originally posted by A.S. View Post
        Have you studied the waveforms? Can you see how different they are? Why is that? One shows strong evidence of dynamic range compression.
        You're asking me?

        :-)

        Ok, try this one...

        Excerpt2

        I'll tell you what I've changed after you've confirmed that there is a difference.

        But it does explain why my LP rips have been so good...

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        • #64
          Originally posted by A.S. View Post
          Thanks for feedback.

          Actually, a few years ago when MP3 was a hot topic, I gave a short presentation to a pro audio conference about this very issue of quantisation, and the implications of multiple encode-decode-re-encode. What I did - and I think I'll recreate it again - was to use the multi-track audio editor to place side by side (in a vertical stack actually) the recording at each step in the encode-decode cycle. You could see significant changes in the waveform from generation to generation, so that after about three or four cycles it was really markedly different in appearance.

          I didn't have the technology then to give a demonstration of how the sound changed by switching quickly from one generation to another, but here on HUG we can do that now. I'll add it to the growing heap of things to present: remind me in a month or so please.
          There have been other 'hot topics' here for the past few weeks, but as requested - a nudge further up the pile for this one.

          thanks Alan

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          • #65
            Multi-pass MP3 encoding - listen for yourself

            Originally posted by weaver View Post
            There have been other 'hot topics' here for the past few weeks, but as requested - a nudge further up the pile for this one.

            thanks Alan
            Oops! Sorry - glad you reminded me and I feel a bit guilty now!

            Answer moved here ....
            Alan A. Shaw
            Designer, owner
            Harbeth Audio UK

            Comment


            • #66
              Since we're talking Steely Dan, we should note that, while they were among the first to go digital, they went back to analogue for "Everything Must Go" and Fagen recorded "Morph the Cat" on analogue tape as well. And it seems Elliot Scheiner's opinion on the digital vs analogue recording debate has hardened. It's hard to dismiss Elliot Scheiner's opinion on sound. He engineered the last couple of Steely Dan albums, including the 4x Grammy winning "Two Against Nature", Fagen's "Nightfly" and "Morph the Cat", numerous Dan 5.1 SACD and 5.1 remasters, and worked with Roger Nichols as an engineer all the way back to "The Royal Scam". See his extensive discography here: http://www.panasonic.com/els_surround/Scheiner_Bio.pdf

              From http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/aug0.../steelydan.htm
              ...Donald Fagen's explanation for Steely Dan's return to analogue recording was, typically, more surreal: "Digital sound loosens the fillings in your teeth. I had a lot of work done on my teeth since I started working with digital."

              From http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/aug0...cles/fagen.htm
              ...Still, given the recent improvements in digital sound, and the scores of people claiming that digital has finally come of age with high sampling rates and 24-bit resolution, it's surprising the hear the praises of analogue sung like this. In Scheiner's judgement even vastly improved digital is still no match for analogue, which, notes Fagen, has itself been improved. "Elliot told me that there had been a lot of improvement in analogue tape since the digital age began. He was right."

              "The quality of analogue tape has become better, but I don't think it makes that much of a difference," the engineer retorts. "We had quality tape back then as well. In the early days I used Scotch 3M 250, switched to 3M 26 at some point, and on the last record we used BASF 900. I grew up and learned analogue and I'm an analogue geek. It's not that I'm kicking digital, but analogue has a much better sound. When you are able to A/B analogue and digital, which we could do in this case, there's simply no comparison. The top end is so sweet and beautiful. I've never heard anyone say about digital, even at 24-bit/96kHz or 192kHz: 'Isn't the top end as sweet and beautiful as you've ever heard?' You don't because digital just doesn't sound that way."

              Scheiner stresses that he isn't claiming that analogue gives a more truthful representation of reality. "Analogue changes something in the sound," he elaborates, "but I think it does something good. By contrast, digital is pristine and sterile. On the other hand, it has great things about it. There's nothing better than be able to fly stuff around or tune it in a digital workstation. That's really outstanding. And I don't think every project should be recorded on analogue. You have to look at it on a case-by-case basis. When you consider that the majority of today's music is rather lo-fi, then it's really not that important what you record it on. But there are some projects that command that importance."

              Originally posted by A.S. View Post
              I hold Steely Dan as my favourite rock band and it's interesting to read now, decades later, how hard they worked to achieve technical and sonic perfection. I had no idea in the 70s that their attraction to me was the special combination of the great music plus great sound: I just liked what I heard.

              Seems though that it wasn't all plain sailing .... read here about noise reduction problems from the era of analogue tape. Yo analogue! No wonder they were amongst the first to go digital.

              Also read the reality of squeezing playable music onto a vinyl record.

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