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Since its inception ten years ago, the Harbeth User Group's ambition has been to create a lasting knowledge archive. Knowledge is based on facts and observations. Knowledge is timeless. Knowledge is human independent and replicatable. However, we live in new world where thanks to social media, 'facts' have become flexible and personal. HUG operates in that real world.

HUG has two approaches to contributor's Posts. If you have, like us, a scientific mind and are curious about how the ear works, how it can lead us to make the right - and wrong - decisions, and about the technical ins and outs of audio equipment, how it's designed and what choices the designer makes, then the factual area of HUG is for you. The objective methods of comparing audio equipment under controlled conditions has been thoroughly examined here on HUG and elsewhere and can be easily understood and tried with negligible technical knowledge.

Alternatively, if you just like chatting about audio and subjectivity rules for you, then the Subjective Soundings sub-forum is you. If upon examination we think that Posts are better suited to one sub-forum than than the other, they will be redirected during Moderation, which is applied throughout the site.

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The Moderators' decision is final in all matters regarding what appears here. That said, very few Posts are rejected. HUG Moderation individually spell and layout checks Posts for clarity but due to the workload, Posts in the Subjective Soundings area, from Oct. 2016 will not be. We regret that but we are unable to accept Posts that present what we consider to be free advertising for products that Harbeth does not make.

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Hi Def Recordings? Are they worth it?

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  • #31
    Replies

    Originally posted by A.S. View Post
    On this very point, I'm not sure about the age of the listening panel (and hence, how extended their high frequency hearing was - I assume it was checked before any testing was undertaken: true?) but I suggest that most 'audiophiles' who could be interested in buying 'hi-def' recordings at a price premium are over 35 years old. Probably over 45 years old.....

    The convention paper 6086 concluded by saying "Consequently it could be proposed that neither of these has a scientific basis for claaiming audible superiority over the other."

    Why they reach the conclusion was because the 110 particpants couldn't pass the critical probabilty threshold except for the 4. So scientifically there wasnt any basis for claiming DSD to be superior. It didnt say conclusively that no individual could hear any difference. The fact is that some individuasl could. Many individuals scored over 60 percent but unfortunately it wasnt scientifically accepted because it was within the balance of guessing probability.


    The individuals who scored a perfect 20 over 20 was between 25 -28 years old. And the recording sample was W.A Mozart - Le nozze di Figaro, Susanna's aria, Deh vieni, non tardar". And shouldnt vocal's frequency stop well below 8 or 10kHz. So it wasnt the HF audibility. IMO.

    The next individual who scored 18 over 20 was guitar music of Eric Clapton - Signe

    The other individual scored 17/20 with speach recording of Russian A. Puskhin - from Eugen Onegin

    And the last individual 15/20 with an Oboe recording,



    Once again HiEnd is not about the 99 percent it is about the small percentage of people who hear and want more realistic sound. We the Harbeth users are within the small group. We want to hear the amazing micro details that the RADIAL output. Havent we seen some individuals who couldnt hear these amazing quality. I am not saying DSD is a must but a well recorded DSD such as DMP does DSD indeed sounds better. But you must have a real SACD player that plays in DSD mode in order to know the difference. Not all SACD sounds better than CD and some can sound worse than CD.

    And the SACD sound is only marginally better than the CD so do not expect a miracle. But better nevertheless.


    you display an naivety about how business actually works!

    I always thought the industry wanted one chip that could play CD and DVD and that the higher bit rate and sampling rate was developed for that. Perhaps, that wasnt the case..need to look up when, who and why started this HiRez format.


    Originally posted by Pluto View Post
    If you can get these two SACDs sent to me I am willing to wager that I can convert them to 16/44 and you will find such conversions indistinguishable from the originals - and that includes the conversion from DSD to a PCM-based format!

    NO dont do that. Make a live recording using pure DSD like what DMP did and one with the standard WAV and I bet some still could tell the difference. I want the signal to remain in DSD domain.

    Originally posted by EricW View Post
    Do you mind quoting and providing a pinpoint reference to the part of the paper you're referring to? I've read it, and it seems that we are interpreting it very differently.

    Maybe, we are reading different papers otherwise you would have spotted that it wasnt 145 but 110 individuals. The paper is available for download from the AES website . The author spend one full page on these 4 individuals.

    ST

    Comment


    • #32
      Originally posted by STHLS5 View Post
      NO dont do that. Make a live recording using pure DSD like what DMP did and one with the standard WAV and I bet some still could tell the difference. I want the signal to remain in DSD domain.
      I don't see what you are driving at - in any case, I don't have access to DSD recording equipment - very few do these days as 24/192 is considered better quality and easier to work with. If you made two recordings with entirely different technologies I would be very surprised if it was not possible to detect a minute difference between them if you listened carefully enough, as the two A to D converters are likely to have slightly different sonic characteristics. But how do you determine which is the better?

      If I can convert your DSD SACD to 16/44 and you cannot distinguish the two, my point is proven. I'm afraid that DSD had something going for it compared to the conversion technology as it was 15 years ago, but these days, when compared to a modern PCM converter running at 24/96+, it's largely pointless.

      Comment


      • #33
        Audible difference in converters?

        Originally posted by Pluto View Post
        ?.... If you made two recordings with entirely different technologies I would be very surprised if it was not possible to detect a minute difference between them if you listened carefully enough, as the two A to D converters are likely to have slightly different sonic characteristics. But how do you determine which is the better?

        ...
        That means you do accept there could be difference between DSD and PCM, don't you? Contrary to the earlier posts you are saying that difference between DSD and PCM should be audible because of the different AD converters but if you convert all the different formats to 16/44 then they should sound identical, correct?

        So am I wrong to say that a true DSD recording sounds different from the conventional CD? In this case the difference sounds better to me and it is recognizable under DBT.

        I am sure you are aware that it is possible to make DSD recording for as little as US700 with the portable Korg MR2 recorder. DSD now is cheaper and easily accessible to everyone.

        ST

        Comment


        • #34
          Originally posted by STHLS5 View Post

          Maybe, we are reading different papers otherwise you would have spotted that it wasnt 145 but 110 individuals. The paper is available for download from the AES website . The author spend one full page on these 4 individuals.

          ST
          Hey ST:

          In your post #22 above, you gave the number 145. How about if you're going to refer to a paper, you provide a link to the one you're talking about, or post a PDF. Otherwise, how is anyone to know what you're referring to? There's more than one paper on the AES website.

          After checking, I've now determined that AES paper 6086 (the number you give in post #31, above) is in fact the Meyer/Moran paper that is linked to in post #1 of this thread. However, I don't see any reference in that paper to the number of participants being either 110 or 145, nor do I see reference to the pieces of music you describe. Are you referring to a different paper? Can you please provide an accurate pinpoint reference and a verbatim quotation, with a citation of page and line number? We can't have an intelligent discussion if we're not talking about the same thing.

          Comment


          • #35
            Originally posted by STHLS5 View Post
            That means you do accept there could be difference between DSD and PCM
            The DSD A to D converter might sound different from a PCM converter, just as some PCM converters sound a little different from other PCM converters. Once converted and safely in the digital domain, I doubt there is any sonic distinction of significance between PCM and DSD.

            Originally posted by STHLS5 View Post
            So am I wrong to say that a true DSD recording sounds different from the conventional CD?
            You are comparing apples with oranges and an answer cannot be given. Had you asked "... am I wrong to say that a true DSD recording sounds different from a true PCM recording?" then I would have given the same answer as I gave in the previous paragraph. Once in the digital domain, it is possible to transcode between PCM & DSD & back to PCM with total transparency. I don't know if it would remain transparent after lots of transcoding between the two domains, but I'm sure that half a dozen or so such transcodes remain undetectable by the human ear.

            If the output of the same mastering system is converted simultaneously to DSD and PCM (and the job is done properly), you are unlikely to be able to distinguish the two. These days, you are better off mastering at 24/192 and converting to DSD as necessary rather than the other way about. This was possibly not the case five years ago, and definitely not the case ten years ago.

            Originally posted by STHLS5 View Post
            I am sure you are aware that it is possible to make DSD recording for as little as US700
            While these units are extremely good toys, I rather doubt that I would entrust a serious session to its 3.5mm analogue input.

            Comment


            • #36
              Many of the reviews I read in audio publications contain a lot of jive. What especially sets my BS meter off is any audio reviewer using an expression such as "blows away" to describe performance gains over competitors which most assurredly discounts the reviewers credibility to my mind.

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by Pluto View Post
                If the output of the same mastering system is convertedsimultaneously to DSD and PCM (and the job is done properly), you areunlikely to be able to distinguish the two. .....
                This is interesting. You may have found flaws in the procedures adapted in the convention paper 6086. What they have done there was, I quote the paper

                "As previously stated, one fundamental requirement foran objective, technically valid listening comparison is that the source material which is to be compared must be completely identical and“unprocessed”—it must not be altered in level, subjected to artificialreverberation, edited or otherwise “treated.” Since such material, if it existsat all, was not available, original samples in both two-channel stereo andfive-channel surround were recorded by the authors before the start of thelistening tests. This was done with the help of instrumentalists from theUniversity of Music in Detmold (Hochschule für Musik Detmold) in the “NeueAula” concert hall, under optimal conditions and with the air conditioning system deactivated.

                To avoid any influence of a mixer on the sound quality, the stereo music examples were recorded with two microphones and the surround examples with five. All the microphones had extended frequency response to 40or 50 kHz (Schoeps MK 2S, MK 4 and MK 41 capsules with CMC 6-- xt amplifiers,and Sennheiser MKH 800); one microphone was simply assigned to each playback loudspeaker. The microphones were connected to microphone preamplifiers (LakePeople F/35 II) which raised the signals to line level, then these signals were sent to the control room via 50-meter low-capacitance cables (Klotz M1 series).At that point the five analog signals were split via “Y” adapters and converted to digital, with one set of three two-channel dCS 904 units used for DSD andanother such set used for 176.4 kHz, 24-bit PCM. "

                Do you think this method of capturing the sound could haveresulted in the sound difference that some perceived in the experiment? Frankly, I am bit unclear with your statementthat you can find difference at one stage but not once it is in the digital domain.

                Added (26/3/12):- I will accept your challenge. Please see new thread.

                Originally posted by EricW View Post
                Hey ST:................


                I did indicate the paper title clearly in the earlier post.You can get the paper 6086 from here. There is only one Paper 6086. I cannot post the PDF here because that would be infringement of copyright.
                ST

                Comment


                • #38
                  HD recording: what is in it?

                  Archimago, one of my favourite audio bloggers, has just posted some spectral analyses of the HF content of HD recordings in his possession: http://archimago.blogspot.nl/2016/06...-value-to.html There was nothing there to justify a format above 24/96. Most could have been fitted into 16/44.

                  This, of course, is all apart from the question if any of those frequencies can be heard.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Analyzing what? Going backwards.

                    Originally posted by willem View Post
                    Archimago, one of my favourite audio bloggers, has just posted some spectral analyses of the HF content of HD recordings in his possession: http://archimago.blogspot.nl/2016/06...-value-to.html There was nothing there to justify a format above 24/96. Most could have been fitted into 16/44.

                    This, of course, is all apart from the question if any of those frequencies can be heard.
                    No wonder, this guy is analyzing mostly digital remasters done in higher resolutions from magnetophone recordings thus no one realistic can expect miracles. It is extremely difficult to find old tape recordings which could register anything beyond 20 - 22 kHz , not mentioning limited available channel separation, lowest frequencies fidelity, print-through etc. etc.

                    All those very "scientific" deliberations of bloggers about rationality of this or that sampling are really musings. Recording industry had already chosen its path and if there appear next generations of more resolving recording digital devices they will be gradually becoming the next standards regardless how many millions words are posted by audio enthusiasts about what happened in digital solutions one or two decades ago in industry.

                    Per analogiam no one rational will stay with outdated computers and digital accessories in pro activity if one can operate more easily and comfortably with much more powerful newer generations, moreover that they frequently cost less than their predecessors.

                    I understand those recording engineers who choose working in old style in pop industry - it is fancy and trendy now, supported by the most irrational, untechnical and wicked "analog" ideology but brings good cash, pecunia non olet .... *

                    But why people in rational, mainstream recording industry should be self technically restricted and in backwardness compared to their colleagues in other professional activities where digital technology is commonly spread? I truly do not know. Because of wishful thinking bloggers?


                    ATB

                    * True confession of hard working pro:
                    "It's hard to say, because for me, at the moment, I have a real love-hate relationship with tape machines. Tape itself is so inconsistent, and tape machines are so badly maintained, that I'm almost a little wary of tape. I love working on tape, and I love tracking a band on 2-inch tape, because you make decisions, and you move on. There's something great about that, aside from the whole analog/digital debateóand everybody's on both sides of that all of the time. But due to the realities of physically getting the tape machine to work, itís gotten to where sometimes it doesnít sound better."

                    Whole article - http://www.uaudio.com/blog/artist-in...andrew-scheps/

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Sharp filtering - am I missing something?

                      Originally posted by willem View Post
                      Archimago, one of my favourite audio bloggers, has just posted some spectral analyses of the HF content of HD recordings in his possession: http://archimago.blogspot.nl/2016/06...-value-to.html There was nothing there to justify a format above 24/96. Most could have been fitted into 16/44.

                      This, of course, is all apart from the question if any of those frequencies can be heard.
                      Interesting despite the fact that I have set my power amp DSP high pass at 30Hz and low pass at 18kHz, 18kHz is way over what I or my wife can hear, I decided to give my drive units a break.....I wonder if such setting actually make a difference to anything that I will perceive?? I suppose not.

                      Edit: I was also wondering if when I boost say treble by '3dB' is that now also massively boosting any ultrasonic information on the disc (if there is any), could this be bad for a tweeter in the same way as boosting bass will make a woofer work much harder, especially when subsonic signals are amplified?
                      Getting to know my C7ES3

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Pointless engineering objectives

                        Originally posted by pkwba View Post
                        But why people in rational, mainstream recording industry should be self technically restricted and in backwardness compared to their colleagues in other professional activities where digital technology is commonly spread? I truly do not know. Because of wishful thinking bloggers?
                        A reason could be, because (I'm sure you yourself know ) engineering is not about obtaining the best technically feasible result, but the best useful result. Anything beyond this point is a waste of resources (and money).

                        Using word lengths and sample rates beyond 24/96 doesn't actually give any useful advantage, neither for editing, mixing and mastering purposes, but does result in waste of storage, bandwidth, energy etc... both to the end user and in larger numbers to labels and various service providers (who try to re-charge the user for this!).

                        And, let me add, it hurts the planet too...

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Philips were right, and remain right

                          I don't think PKWBA gives a fair representation. Archimago clearly begins his analyses with some tracks that were indeed originally recorded at high sample rates. At least those recordings did not have very high frequency content, and certainly nothing that could not be captured in 24/96. Only after that did he analyse some other tracks that he had bought as HD.

                          Quite a few were obviously just upsampled from lower resolutions (even if he had paid the premium price), and did not, of course, have any high frequency content.

                          The argument is not whether HD is a good idea for studio use (it is, up to a point), the argument is whether it also makes sense as a distribution format. For me, the original research at the Philips Physics Lab still stands, showing that 16/44 is all that is needed.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Pointless engineering objectives and reality.

                            Originally posted by Nessuno View Post

                            1. A reason could be, because (I'm sure you yourself know ) engineering is not about obtaining the best technically feasible result, but the best useful result. Anything beyond this point is a waste of resources (and money).

                            2. Using word lengths and sample rates beyond 24/96 doesn't actually give any useful advantage, neither for editing, mixing and mastering purposes, but does result in waste of storage, bandwidth, energy etc... both to the end user and in larger numbers to labels and various service providers (who try to re-charge the user for this!).

                            And, let me add, it hurts the planet too...
                            ad.1 Exactly.

                            ad2. IMHO the length of recorded word (here 24bit) is more important than frequency. In theory 96 (or 88) kHz is minimal for standards of super hi-fi agreed for sacd, dvd-a or cinematic blu-ray, but I heard some multi-bit (20 and 24) surround recordings in 44 and 48 kHz "beat" and they sounded terrific (thanks the masterful recording engineering ).

                            In most web shops of renown labels we buy not wav but flac or alac "hi-res master copies" so I think it hurts planet less. BTW the planet would be much less hurt if we did not waste by extinguishing on purpose so much food, necessary drugs, cereals, harvests, goods, old recordings' stock etc. explaining such barbarism by economic (sic!) reasons ..... Insane.

                            ATB

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Philips were right, and remain right - the truest true.

                              Originally posted by willem View Post
                              I don't think PKWBA gives a fair representation. Archimago clearly begins his analyses with some tracks that were indeed originally recorded at high sample rates. At least those recordings did not have very high frequency content, and certainly nothing that could not be captured in 24/96. Only after that did he analyse some other tracks that he had bought as HD.

                              Quite a few were obviously just upsampled from lower resolutions (even if he had paid the premium price), and did not, of course, have any high frequency content.

                              The argument is not whether HD is a good idea for studio use (it is, up to a point), the argument is whether it also makes sense as a distribution format. For me, the original research at the Philips Physics Lab still stands, showing that 16/44 is all that is needed.
                              To be fully honest and both politically and historically correct we should remind the idea of "high resolution" sound for hi-fi surround listening also originated at Philips Physics Labs and Sony Corporation audio research department. The fruit of their merged hard work efforts was sacd standard, introduced to the market on advent of new millenium.

                              Only "economic" reasons (read mainly greed for cash from enormous profits from selling cds extra cheap in mass production by music releasing corporations in the same years, reluctance of audio industry in introducing new, more elaborated players) stopped and niched the popularity of this modern format. Something being natural consequence of digital audio presentation progress was channelized as "luxury" experience for extra cash, at least for almost first decade.

                              It would be hard to explain the same scientists and researches' groups of world renown recognition from two different countires suddenly gone mad and proposed to the world something irrational .

                              I willingly buy cds with music originally recorded recently in the most modern recording techniques. If the music is recorded well, well mastered and mixed, it sounds great at home!

                              ATB

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Acquired skills

                                There are several audiophile labels that offer free comparison samples. Personally I, if possible, like to have the resolution the music was recorded in.
                                http://www.soundliaison.com/
                                When you compare the files start with the lowest resolution: D (MP3 320 kbps) and move on up through example C and B ending with A.

                                Be careful: If you start with A, and move down through B and C ending with D, your mind will remember the ''Blueprint'' of the higher resolution file, making it difficult to hear the difference even when finally listening to the MP3 file. Don't be frustrated if you can't hear a difference at first. Hearing is as individual as taste but hearing is also something which can be acquired, like the taste of good wine.

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