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Accepting Pluto's Challenge.

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  • #16
    Originally posted by STHLS5 View Post
    I can download and use the password to open the folder but cannot extract. The message I am getting is

    ! C:\Documents and Settings\xxxx\Desktop\File C - Pluto conversion - 44.1kHz.7z: Unknown method in Keith & Dayan - File C - 44.1kHz.wav
    ! C:\Documents and Settings\xxxx\Desktop\File C - Pluto conversion - 44.1kHz.7z: operation failed

    ST
    Thanks Pluto. It can be extracted using 7Zip but not Winrar. Ok will update you tonite but still need to find the best way to burn it to the CD-R.

    ST

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by STHLS5 View Post
      still need to find the best way to burn it to the CD-R.
      Why? Surely the best thing to do is play it using exactly the same method as you would use to play the 96kHz download - otherwise you are simply not comparing like with like which renders the whole exercise pointless.

      For burning WAVs to CD, use the free ImgBurn

      Comment


      • #18
        Interim Report.

        *I used the ITunes to play Pluto's and the original 24/96 using my simple Dell Inspiron Laptop connected to NDS-1 which was connected to my old 16/44 Theta Pro GenIII DAC. After spending about half an hour I accepted defeat. I couldn't tell any difference though I feel Copy C appears to be "faster" somewhere near 3' 30 but couldn't find a way to just listen to that segment instantaneously to do comparisons with my ITunes.

        Then I used the Laptop's soundcard analogue output and connected to the PreAmp's analogue input. The soundcard was set to 24/196. I listened again and I picked up the slight difference in the first 30 seconds. Proceeded to create a playlist in ITunes consisting of the original 24/96 and Pluto's Copy C. I used shuffle to pick up the tracks randomly.*

        The results:-
        27Mar2012, 9 12pm .

        1) Yes - correct answer.
        2) No- correct answer.
        3) No- correct answer.
        4) Yes- correct answer.
        5) Yes- correct answer.
        6) No- correct answers.
        7) No- correct answer.
        8) No- correct answer.
        9) Yes- correct answer.*
        10) Yes- wrong answer.

        Note: Yes means 24/96 file.*

        I stopped after getting No 10 wrong and took a break. Unfortunately, I lost concentration and couldn't get it right after that. The easiest way to tell the difference is to stop listening for differences and let yourself enjoy the music and you will 'feel' the difference. Will try again and see if I can get it as close as the first results.

        This is going to be controversial. ;)*

        ST

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by STHLS5 View Post
          ...Then I used the Laptop's soundcard analogue output and connected to the PreAmp's analogue input. The soundcard was set to 24/196...
          Do you mean 96kHz or 192kHz?

          Either way, you were asking the laptop's sound card to sample rate convert my file. Having created that file using SRC resources worth $$ four figures, do you really think that having a PC sound card re-convert amounts to a realistic test?

          The only way of conducting this test fairly correctly is by playing the digital data from either file directly into a DAC equally capable of handling either sampling rate*. All you have actually proved is that the sample rate conversion in your laptop's sound card isn't transparent. I hardly think the analogue output of a laptop is a useful source when discussing cutting-edge sound quality.

          * Actually, in the above scenario, to attempt to eliminate the possibility that the DAC performs differently at 44kHz and 96kHz, having completed the down-conversion from 96 to 44, I should then have re-converted the 44 back up to 96 so the playback DAC was always operating at 96k, but the file size would have been twice what it is already.

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by STHLS5 View Post
            *I used the ITunes to play Pluto's and the original 24/96 using my simple Dell Inspiron Laptop connected to NDS-1 which was connected to my old 16/44 Theta Pro GenIII DAC. After spending about half an hour I accepted defeat. I couldn't tell any difference ...
            ST
            I'm confused. If your DAC is limited to 16/44.1 how could you possibly hear a difference between the 16/44.1 signal and the 24/96 signal? Everything's going to play back at 16/44.1, isn't it?

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by EricW View Post
              I'm confused...
              I'm confused too. There does appear to be an awful lot of unwanted Sample Rate Conversion (SRC) taking place which, given that we are fundamentally testing the (in)audibility of (my) SRC, seems to be missing the point.

              Comment


              • #22
                Recap please for the average reader ....

                Back in 2010 I clearly laid out a standardised process (subject of course, to review and improvement) to handle the preparation and presentation of experiments like the one postulated in this thread.

                I am completely confused as to what we are aiming at, and considering the hourly charge rate that industry professionals like Pluto and EricW (and I) charge, I really think we've used up all the goodwill we dare. Would someone bring this experiment back on track and explain for the benefit of the average dispassionate reader, what we're trying to prove and to whom in simple language? I sincerely hope that we are not trying to prove to a single individual what common sense told me was obvious from the start, namely, that if your hearing doesn't even extend to 16kHz or so then generating audio at two or three times that frequency is just daft.

                In situations like this where engineering seems to be in the driving seat I'm reminded of a conversation I had with Dudley Harwood, our founder. I proudly showed him the great lengths we went to to sort and pair match drive units. He mulled over the piles of the good, bad and the ugly and shocked me saying 'that's bad engineering practice you know'. Quizzing him he explained that the essence of good engineering was to build up to but not beyond the functionality needed for an electro-mechanical system to perform its job. Every penny of cost, complexity and effort expended beyond that point was a waste of natural resources, which included engineering and assembly labour time. In a situation like this, where we are considering precisely these issues of 'where to draw the line', I refer you to another conversation with him in which we explored the technical measurability but complete inaudibility of resonances within speaker cabinets. He was very firm about this and he told me 'If it's inaudible, it's inaudible. End of story. Design complete. Absolutely good enough regardless of the measurements'.

                Would it help if I was converted these source files to high bitrate MP3 and placed them in the time honoured way as player applets in a post? That strikes me as by far the simplest way of presenting A v B comparisons which is, of course, why I designed the applet player system here on HUG.

                As a point of order for the future, I really don't think we should be quite so open to publishing audibility experiments that do not make a serious effort to understand and control variables. Experiments need thinking and planning time - and that shouldn't be done on the hoof in the glare of public scrutiny. Otherwise the Harbeth User Group cannot add worthwhile value to a subject (which is the sole reason that we exist) and we are no better than hundreds of hi-fi talking shops on the internet. We can do much better than that.

                Frustrated of southern England.
                Alan A. Shaw
                Designer, owner
                Harbeth Audio UK

                Comment


                • #23
                  A simple Peasant

                  Originally posted by Pluto View Post
                  Do you mean 96kHz or 192kHz?.
                  That was a typo. Set to 24/192kHz.

                  If I really believed in HiRez equals better sound then I would have upgraded to HiRez DAC years ago. As I have stated, I couldn’t hear any difference using my DAC. Just plain 16/44 DAC. DSD is another story.

                  Whatever difference I and many more heard and hearing maybe due to other factors in their playback chain. Getting 9 out of 10 doesn’t prove a thing. Try flipping a coin hundred times and there is good chance you getting heads (or tails) 10 or more times in a row.

                  Did I hear the difference every time even when using the Laptop's analogue output? The answer is No. Is it possible to hear a difference using 24/96 DAC to hear a 24/96 HiRez recording and another 16/44 DAC to hear a 16/44 recording? I don't know.

                  Thanks for your time. It was very kind of you to go through the trouble to create the file.

                  Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                  ....considering the hourly charge rate that industry professionals like Pluto and EricW (and I) charge...

                  What a condescending remark! That would make me….. ahh..nevermind.

                  ST

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    My dear chap, everything in life has a cost and I'm well aware of the status of key contributors here. I have already indicated in previous postings how much time I have devoted specifically to pulling subjects back onto track. This can only be a free service if it is actually working towards the final goal. I cannot work for nothing. I have a mortgage, bills to pay. Family life has no calculatable price - work does - but you cannot contribute effectively here if you are sitting with the family watching TV: you have to isolate yourself to concentrate. That is a real opportunity cost. My accounts department advise me what my time actually costs, and this has to be factored into travel plans, show attendance, time working on newsletters, designing new speakers .... that's normal business thinking. In fact, I am obliged to contribute mostly in the evenings here to escape the 'hourly rate' issue which accounts would surely draw to my attention if they caught me typing away every time they peeked into my office with the pithy comment 'What cost code are you charging that project to ?'.

                    We are not a chat forum run as a leisure passtime disconnected from any brand. We are not independent. We are the communication arm of the Harbeth speaker company. We exist to sell speakers. I am, more than anyone as I have proved and will continue to prove, willing to make a supreme effort to present what I hope are logical, thought-out contributions. I cannot count the cost of preparing them, but it would be equivalent to employing a full time dedicated professional proxy. Indeed, someone recently presented himself to me as 'the solution to your on-line presence with an easy monthly retainer'. The cost was five figures/year which for the first time put a price on time.

                    The point is not about cost - that's inescapable - it's about value. And if the value is hidden then who benefits? This should be obvious.
                    Alan A. Shaw
                    Designer, owner
                    Harbeth Audio UK

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      EricW: would you be kind enough to provide a summary thus far for the benefit of the jury? I'm completely lost.
                      Alan A. Shaw
                      Designer, owner
                      Harbeth Audio UK

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                        Harwood .. explained that the essence of good engineering was to build up to but not beyond the functionality needed for an electro-mechanical system to perform its job. Every penny of cost, complexity and effort expended beyond that point was a waste of natural resources, which included engineering and assembly labour time. In a situation like this, where we are considering precisely these issues of 'where to draw the line', I refer you to another conversation with him in which we explored the technical measurability but complete inaudibility of resonances within speaker cabinets. He was very firm about this and he told me 'If it's inaudible, it's inaudible. End of story. Design complete. Absolutely good enough regardless of the measurements'.
                        Philosophically and logically this is hard to argue with. However, there's a premise buried in there, and the premise is that we have a clear and solid understanding of what is and is not audible. Is that the case - is the research that definitive?

                        Also, in some contexts, it may make sense to overbuild, at least to a degree. If I'm flying in a jetliner, for example, I want to know that it's capable of coping with the worst possible known conditions and then some. The latter because it's always possible (even if highly unlikely) that my flight will experience conditions even worse than the worst yet known and measured. I don't mind paying a bit of a premium on my ticket to know the plane's overbuilt: it gives me peace of mind and it could be considered a form of insurance. Likewise with a speaker: I don't mind paying a bit extra (how much extra is the tricky part, I suppose) to know it's engineered some point past my ability to hear, that there's a margin of safety. It may not make a difference to my actual listening experience, but it's peace of mind if nothing else.

                        I suppose at the end of the day it's a judgement call.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                          EricW: would you be kind enough to provide a summary thus far for the benefit of the jury? I'm completely lost.
                          My understanding is that the basic premise that STHL5 is arguing is that he is capable of distinguishing between a DSD signal on SACD, and/or possibly also a high-res PCM signal (24/96 or better), and the same program material recorded at or down sampled to CD resolution, i.e., 16/44.1. Or if he isn't, at least some people are.

                          Therefore, I though the point of the exercise of Pluto preparing high-res and CD-res files of the same material and providing them to ST was to test this hypothesis. Unfortunately, there appear to be at least two problems with ST's methodology (as far as I can tell): (1) as Pluto pointed out, ST in playing the files through his laptop's sound card subjected some (all?) of the files to additional sample-rate conversion, and (2) in sending the high-res and CD-res files in digital form to an external DAC, he used an older DAC that is limited to decoding a 16/44.1 signal, making it impossible (I think) to detect any difference between 16/44.1 and 24/96, because even the latter would be played back at 16/44.1.

                          The Meyer/Moran paper in post #1 is what seems to have sparked the whole thing off. It's a strange paper: it seems to provide very robust and solid evidence that the difference between a higher-res digital signal and 16/44.1 was effectively inaudible to all listeners, but then concludes with a final section saying how much "better" SACDs sound than the same recording on CD, completely negating all the experimental data and conclusions drawn earlier in the paper as far as I can tell. Very odd. But maybe it was that last section of the paper that got ST started? Only he can say for sure.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            An interesting read about PCM versus DSD and a possible explanation why DSD sound "different":
                            http://sound.westhost.com/cd-sacd-dvda.htm

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              EricW - thanks for your summation, which I think hits the target.

                              To ST - we are fundamentally testing the audibility - or otherwise - of sample rate conversion, SRC. I'm sure you appreciate, therefore, that any additional SRC performed on the signal over and above that which lies within the parameters of the test will, at the very least, render the test outcome unreliable. If I have misunderstood or misinterpreted what you believe the purpose of this test to be, I apologise. But for the time being, I believe that EricW has, in his previous post, defined the purpose and parameters of the exercise with quite reasonable clarity.

                              As Alan suggested a few posts back, future such tests need to have the ground rules set in stone before commencement if they are to have any meaning beyond that of simple entertainment...not that there's anything wrong with entertainment!

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Paper 6086

                                Originally posted by EricW View Post
                                .... But maybe it was that last section of the paper that got ST started? Only he can say for sure.

                                http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/s...8212#post18212

                                _________________________________________
                                Originally Posted by Pluto
                                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
                                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
                                ___________________________


                                Read my post # 37. I wasn’t referring to Moran’s paper and may have escaped your attention.

                                A computer analogue output functions exactly as a dedicated DAC. The audio quality may be lacking but there is no difference in the principle behind those two. In any event, it often emphasized here that the soundcard of a computer is good enough for our ears. A statement that I disagree unless it is something like Asus Xonar Essence One.

                                To Pluto, actually you understood me correctly. I was taking one step at a time. That's the reason I titled the topic as Interim Report. Unfortunately, the findings did not sit well with Harbeth's policy.

                                ST

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