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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.

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Accepting Pluto's Challenge.

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  • Accepting Pluto's Challenge.

    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!
    Originally posted by Pluto View Post
    …If I can convert your DSD SACD to 16/44 and you cannot distinguish the two, my point is proven..

    You are suggesting that no matter what the Hi Rez is it will sound identical to the 16/44 down sampled copy of it. Therefore, I should be hearing the same sound from a true SACD player and a CD player.

    Let’s take one step at a time. You can download the free version of either the 16/44 (Copy A) and/or 24/96* (Copy B) from BlueCoast (quick registration required). I would suggest Keith Greeninger & Dayan Kai’s Looking for a Home from the CAS 2010 downloads under the free download header. Let’s analyze this two formats to see if you can find any manipulation to make one to sound better than the other.

    Thereafter, let’s make one copy of 24/96 in 16/44 format (Copy C). According to you, Copy B and Copy C should sound identical. However, my player is limited to 16/44 (no upsampling or other fancy things) and therefore for a valid comparison I suggest that you redo Copy A to another copy of 16/44 using the same method that you used to create 16/44 (Copy C) version of 24/96. Let’s call it Copy D.

    Once again:

    Original downloaded 16/44 is Copy A
    Original downloaded 24/96 is Copy B
    Original 24/96 to 16/44 downsample made on your PC is Copy C
    Original 16/44 to 16/44 downsample made on your PC is Copy D

    According to you: Copy C and Copy D should sound identical. Let’s see if we (most likely it is going to be myself) can tell any difference. Though I prefer a much higher resolution but let's stick to what we have now.

    ST

    {* This is a huge download: 199MB}

  • #2
    Being objective when scrutinising technology

    This sounds like an interesting challenge.

    I'd like to make one important point though before we get stuck into a full analysis. This forum is that of the Harbeth speaker company, and whilst we here are highly motivated to find real, pragmatic and affordable ways to improve the fidelity of our systems, we must take care to remain objective about third-party products and services. So, if we are going to proceed to analyse in fine technical detail the offerings of another company, can we take care to present our findings in a way that leaves final interpretation up to our readers. I'd suggest that, in the interests of fairness, we individually download and analyse, and present our findings after a few days of deliberation.

    The first step, following your suggestion, is to register and download your recommended track. Bearing in mind the recent fiasco surrounding hi-def CD recordings which were apparently nothing more than standard recordings with a different printed label, may I suggest that a sensible starting point is to evaluate the high frequency bandwidth extension. 44k sampling sharply cuts-off at 22kHz (half sampling frequency) so if a recording truly is 96k sampling, assuming that there is energy in the performer's instruments beyond human hearing, there should be no evidence of cut-off at 22kHz - the limit should be half of 96k = 48kHz. That's twice the audio band width of standard CD.

    If that cannot be proven, then I suggest no more effort is expended.

    Here is a free audio editor/analyser that can be used to make a frequency analysis of the audio. Be sure that the Project Sampling Rate (bottom left corner) matches the claimed sample rate of the wav file before analysing. It supports 96k sampling.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

    Comment


    • #3
      Different readings

      After starting this thread, I realize that my player is limited to 16bit 44.Khz. Logically, I shouldn't be hearing any difference with the 24bit/96 KHz recording!

      OK, now about the Audacity and Spectro I find the readings to be confusing. Since Audacity cannot read WMA files I have converted all the original files to WAV using Switch Sound File Converter. In Audacity graph the frequencies end somewhere near 25kHz but in Spectro it is far beyond that.

      Edit [Attachments removed.]

      ST

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by STHLS5 View Post
        Original downloaded 16/44 is Copy A
        Original downloaded 24/96 is Copy B
        Original 24/96 to 16/44 downsample made on your PC is Copy C
        Original 16/44 to 16/44 downsample made on your PC is Copy D

        According to you: Copy C and Copy D should sound identical. Letís see if we (most likely it is going to be myself) can tell any difference.
        Right - I've downloaded A and B, and I've made C. I don't understand what you want me to do for D - what do you want me to change? I can confirm that B has a surprisingly large amount of content above 20kHz but I'm confident that my C will be indistinguishable from B by listening alone. Spectral examination will, of course, reveal the truth. The provider's A has a clearly visible drastic anti-aliasing low pass filter; my C does not exhibit such.

        Where do we go from here?

        Of course, all this has nothing to do with DSD but, as I've said before, I'm confident that DSD per se is indistinguishable from PCM at sensible sampling rates.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Pluto View Post
          Right - I've downloaded A and B, and I've made C. I don't understand what you want me to do for D - what do you want me to change? I can confirm that B has a surprisingly large amount of content above 20kHz but I'm confident that my C will be indistinguishable from B by listening alone. Spectral examination will, of course, reveal the truth. The provider's A has a clearly visible drastic anti-aliasing low pass filter; my C does not exhibit such.

          Where do we go from here?
          Thanks. I want A to go through the same process of conversion that B has undergone. I want to see if the orginal 16/44 file and your 16/44 file file sounds the same. BTW, how are we going to get the file uploaded? I have MYBOOK LIVE where you can upload the file but I need some time to set it up. Ideally, it should be uploaded here but I think the file is too big. Not sure if we can upload it to Window Live.

          ST

          p.s. [I don't really understand how these files work!. I just downloaded to my laptop (W7 64bit) and after extracting the file I get WAVE files but earlier with my old desktop XP I got WMA files!?]

          Comment


          • #6
            File format

            Originally posted by STHLS5 View Post
            ... p.s. I don't really understand how these files work! I just downloaded to my laptop (W7 64bit) and after extracting the file I get WAVE files but earlier with my old desktop XP I got WMA files!?
            WMA is a compressed file format. That will introduce another unwelcome variable.

            Incidentally, I had some difficulty opening the 96k file in Audition. Either it or I was trying to be too clever and it couldn't or wouldn't accept the file structure. After three attampts at recognising it, it automatically opened correctly.

            I'm tempted to plump for the Pluto Super Prize and suggest that neither the 44k version nor the 96k version can be distinguished by human ears from a 256k MP3 file made from the 96k clip (or the 44k clip if you prefer).

            Pluto commented ....

            I can confirm that B has a surprisingly large amount of content above 20kHz
            I agree. But as I mentioned a few posts back, if your hearing cuts off well below the CD top-cut at 22kHz (I doubt that there is a human anywhere on earth aged 50 who can hear over about 16kHz at normal levels) can you illuminate the advantage of a frequency response that extends to 25k, 30k or even 50k when the ear cannot detect those frequencies even if the speaker could generate them (which it can't and shouldn't).
            Alan A. Shaw
            Designer, owner
            Harbeth Audio UK

            Comment


            • #7
              Transmitting the files

              I suggest that all files transmitted in the course of this experiment be sent in 7zip format. This is a free, multi-platform compressor that provides a useful amount of data compression but, more important, it wraps the file so that any corruption on the journey will become readily apparent. In order to prevent any other software from interfering with the contents (as the 7z format is open-source), I suggest that all packages be assembled with the password Harbeth - upper-case H, lower-case arbeth.

              The files are likely to be too large for normal private e-mail, so we need to find somewhere to host these files short term (the duration of the experiment). It needs to be somewhere discreet because the material is not our property so therefore must be treated with respect.

              Comment


              • #8
                Round 1. Pluto 1 ST 0

                Originally posted by A.S. View Post

                I'm tempted to plump for the Pluto Super Prize and suggest that neither the 44k version nor the 96k version can be distinguished by human ears from a 256k MP3 file made from the 96k clip (or the 44k clip if you prefer).

                ).
                What a coincidence! I burned the 16/44 and 24/96 and another wav and a 256K MP3 of a Steinway recording downloaded from here to make an audio CD using WMP. Played them random and tried to guess which track was playing. Out of 25 or so guesses the result was just about 50% correct guesses.

                I must be doing something wrong.

                ST

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by STHLS5 View Post
                  ... Out of 25 or so guesses the result was just about 50% correct guesses. .... I must be doing something wrong. ST
                  I'm just quietly wondering to myself if you have learned more about human hearing acuity and psychology than about grading audio recordings.

                  Far from doing something wrong, wearisome as it is to repeat this mantra yet again, have you considered that maybe you're doing something right?! The ear is an unbelivevably poor scientific tool because it is hard wired to a heap of water and emotions. Instruments should not be part of us: they should be outwith our own bodies, cold and objective.
                  Alan A. Shaw
                  Designer, owner
                  Harbeth Audio UK

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                    The ear is an unbelievably poor scientific tool because it is hard wired to a heap of water and emotions.
                    You know, that is nearly as depressing a point of view as the possibility, unlikely though it may seem, that humanity is alone in this vast universe.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Pluto View Post
                      You know, that is nearly as depressing a point of view as the possibility, unlikely though it may seem, that humanity is alone in this vast universe.
                      And why just pick on the ear? Presumably one could add the eyes, the tongue, the nose, the skin ... they have their abilities, but are fatally limited by the sad heap of water and emotion they're attached to. Maybe there's nothing we can do that a scientific measuring instrument can't do better.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Something was wrong

                        Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                        I'm just quietly wondering to myself if you have learned more about human hearing acuity and psychology than about grading audio recordings.

                        Far from doing something wrong, wearisome as it is to repeat this mantra yet again, have you considered that maybe you're doing something right?! The ear is an unbelivevably poor scientific tool because it is hard wired to a heap of water and emotions. Instruments should not be part of us: they should be outwith our own bodies, cold and objective.
                        After decades of chasing high fidelity, it is difficult for one to be turned over with one or two uncontrolled self tests. I need to be convinced.

                        Back to the topic. Today I ripped the audio CD tracks form the CD-R to identify the tracks.

                        Something did go wrong. It is now obvious that when I burned the the files to the CD-R using WMP it did not write the full resolution. Please see the images below:-


                        You can see HF content above 20kHz in the original 2496 files.





                        Now, I presume track 1 is the original 1644 files that was burned to the CD using WMP in audio cd format which was ripped again using WMP. You will notice that the HF contents missing significantly.






                        This is track2 extracted form the CD and I believe it is the original 2496 file. (I didn't mark the files when I burned them to avoid being influenced with HiRez label attached to it.)




                        I think we need a better way making the audio-CD to preserve the original files integrity.


                        To Pluto,

                        We cant use Skydrive of Window live because it limits the size to 100MB per file. Zip file is okay with me since the original files came zipped but we are looking at 300 to 400MB storage.

                        The second issue is how and what software to use so that the actual files get transferred to the CD-R without any modification. Obviously, WMP is altering the files. Any IT experts here can help us?


                        ST

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          File download

                          For ST and anyone else interested, my 16/44 conversion of the 96kHz track we discussed is available to

                          download here

                          If I've done it right

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            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

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Try the download again - it works for me!

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