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Thread: Hi Def Recordings? Are they worth it?

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by STHLS5 View Post
    Lately, you have been saying that you can’t hear any difference between CD players or amplifiers or Hi Def...
    Not true. Read my (recent) posts with care and you'll find I say no such thing. I just don't take a position one way or another, because although I believe I could probably hear some difference if I tried hard enough (strained hard enough), I no longer believe those differences are significant in a musical sense. They are at best minor and don't much affect my listening enjoyment. So I don't want to be so adamant as to say there are no differences. Perhaps there are. I just no longer care about minor differences and don't want to waste time and money on them.

    As for my old posts waxing rhapsodic about differences between DACs and such, did I hear a difference then? Sure I did. But did that difference really matter? No, probably not. But, conditioned audiophile that I was, I got all excited that I could hear any difference at all, and attributed earth-shattering significance to something that was probably pretty minor.

    So, I don't accept any of the three explanations you propose. My hearing's fine, my speakers work, and technology hasn't changed all that much. What has changed is my attitude, my mindset. As a consequence, I enjoy music even more, fret a good deal less, and save a considerable amount of money. All good things.

    Quote Originally Posted by STHLS5 View Post

    you are going to tell that he who asserts must prove, right?

    ST
    Right.

  2. #22
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    Default Your turn to disprove the AES papers were wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by EricW View Post
    Not true. Read my (recent) posts with care and you'll find I say no such thing. I just don't take a position one way or another, because although I believe I could probably hear some difference if I tried hard enough (strained hard enough), I no longer believe those differences are significant in a musical sense. They are at best minor and don't much affect my listening enjoyment. So I don't want to be so adamant as to say there are no differences. Perhaps there are. I just no longer care about minor differences and don't want to waste time and money on them.

    As for my old posts waxing rhapsodic about differences between DACs and such, did I hear a difference then? Sure I did. But did that difference really matter? No, probably not. But, conditioned audiophile that I was, I got all excited that I could hear any difference at all, and attributed earth-shattering significance to something that was probably pretty minor.

    So, I don't accept any of the three explanations you propose. My hearing's fine, my speakers work, and technology hasn't changed all that much. What has changed is my attitude, my mindset. As a consequence, I enjoy music even more, fret a good deal less, and save a considerable amount of money. All good things.



    Right.

    My friend, I just referred to you the Audio Engineering Convention paper which actually showed that 4 out 145 could tell the difference. Now it's your turn.

    And I am not telling the difference is phenomenal. It is good that you are enjoying music and to enjoy music you dont even need the finest loudspeakers, amplifier or CD player. As millions would attest to that. For them MP3 from a cheap speakers is more than enough.

    ST

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    Quote Originally Posted by STHLS5 View Post
    My friend, I just referred to you the Audio Engineering Convention paper which actually showed that 4 out 145 could tell the difference. Now it's your turn.

    ST
    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.

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    Default Barriers to entry into recording ...

    Quote Originally Posted by STHLS5 View Post
    ...Meanwhile, ever wondered why more and more recording engineers choose higher resolution to record and master since it is economically and scientifically proven that 16 bit 44.1kHz should be enough. Surely, the marketing people are aware that 99.99% couldn’t tell the difference between 128 MP2 and CD. So why the extra cost by the money conscious commercial world of recording?...
    As I recently commented somewhere here, the actual cost of recording at 'higher resolution' compared with 'standard resolution' with modern computer gear is actually zero. I mean, a fancy multi-channel all singing, all dancing 192k computer sound card of impeccable performance (of the performance that would cost $100,000 just ten years ago) can be purchased for about $150 and editing recording software for not much more. So anyone can now set thmselves up as a state of the art music recording/producing engineer for almost no cost. Many do, working solely from their back bedroom, which is the normal way pop music is created these days.

    Given the financial/skill/legal/commercial barriers to entry into the recording business are now, in effect zero, why wouldn't you want to give yourself a commercial leg-up proclaiming the cutting edge technology you've aquired (for almost free) as this will surely give you a marketing edge? If you've got the technology why not use it?*. But I'd rather have the standard, proven technology and a wide artist base than strange niche music.

    *One hidden down side. Increasing the bit rate means that the PC will have to move tons of data around (in real time). It will take longer to apply effects (eq etc.). It will take longer and be more risky backing-up. And actually delivering that high-def audio to the consumer in a format that he can actually use will almost certainly mean that it has to be down-sampled before distribution to him. A lot of grief for what?
    Alan A. Shaw
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    Default Blame it on the chip makers?

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    .....Given the financial/skill/legal/commercial barriers to entry into the recording business are now, in effect zero, why wouldn't you want to give yourself a commercial leg-up proclaiming the cutting edge technology you've aquired (for almost free) as this will surely give you a marketing edge? If you've got the technology why not use it?*...
    OK. I cant argue with that. Though I dont see the economics reasons for the chip makers to make over engineered spec'ed chips that exceed human hearing threshold.

    Anyway, I am not discounting the commercial aspect of the use of an over engineered such as the 32bit 356kHz but I am unable to see eye to eye that there could be no whatever audible difference between the Hi Rez. As I have posted earlier, 4 individuals actually exceeded the critical probability threshold with one individual scoring a perfect 20 over 20 with vocal recording. Why vocal which only got limited range far beyond the limits of redbook? What gives?

    ST

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    Quote Originally Posted by STHLS5 View Post
    ... to enjoy music you dont even need the finest loudspeakers, amplifier or CD player. As millions would attest to that. For them MP3 from a cheap speakers is more than enough.

    ST
    True to a point, but also a reductio ad absurdem argument. I'm not saying nothing matters. I'm saying that differences that are exceedingly subtle and difficult to identify reliably probably don't matter. Not quite the same thing as what you are suggesting.

    The reason Harbeth speakers make sense to me is that the difference is not subtle - it's easy to hear and significantly improves my enjoyment of recorded music and speech. I don't have to imagine that it's real. To me, that's a different kind of difference.

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    Default Relevance to musical enjoyment (outside the lab.)

    Quote Originally Posted by STHLS5 View Post
    As I have posted earlier, 4 individuals actually exceeded the critical probability threshold with one individual scoring a perfect 20 over 20 with vocal recording. Why vocal which only got limited range far beyond the limits of redbook? What gives?

    ST
    Assuming you're characterizing the results correctly, that means that less than 3% of the population can reliably identify a difference. And even for the 3% that can do so (for the sake of argument, let's assume that's correct), there's still the question of whether the ability to perceive a difference is actually important in terms of enjoyment.

    The paper at the beginning of this thread posits that with certain types of signals and at certain gain settings, a few listeners might perceive differences relating to the different noise floors of the two media. But that doesn't mean, even for the 2 to 3% who might reliably be able to detect this difference (under certain conditions), that this has any bearing on normal listening enjoyment of a normal music signal at normal levels in a normal listening room. The evidence as I read it suggests that it doesn't.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by STHLS5 View Post
    ...ever wondered why more and more recording engineers choose higher resolution to record and master since it is economically and scientifically proven that 16 bit 44.1kHz should be enough
    The answer to this is fundamental - it is desirable that the recording should be captured and post-produced with standards an order of magnitude better than the final delivery format. This is an increasingly difficult task in a world where people are thinking about delivery at 24/192 and more.

    However, it is fortunate that there is sufficient dynamic range with 24 bits to satisfy the needs of the production process - but I remain convinced that 16/44 is quite adequate as a home delivery format.

  9. #29
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    Default My challenge to you ....

    Quote Originally Posted by STHLS5 View Post
    What I have is a very fine DSD recording made in 1999 which was recorded live with no editing because at that time DSD recorder had no editing tool. The SACD and CD version are level matched and yet the difference is still audible. However, there could be some manipulation by the producer to present the SACD to sound superior. It could be simply be a marketing gimmick. I am leaving that option open but how about another SACD recording which was made to show the difference in the Microphones? They made the best possible recordings of a Steinway piano to show how the different mics and position changes the sound. I believe the CD and SACD versions to be neutral because the purpose of the recording is not about the different formats but about their microphones’ capability. This recording would be a good candidate for a DBT. Anyone here is welcome for a DBT at my place? If I am proven to be wrong I will pay for the drinks.
    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!

  10. #30
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    Default Age related hearing and chip marketing issues

    Quote Originally Posted by EricW View Post
    Assuming you're characterizing the results correctly, that means that less than 3% of the population can reliably identify a difference. And even for the 3% that can do so (for the sake of argument, let's assume that's correct), there's still the question of whether the ability to perceive a difference is actually important in terms of enjoyment.

    The paper at the beginning of this thread posits that with certain types of signals and at certain gain settings, a few listeners might perceive differences relating to the different noise floors of the two media. But that doesn't mean, even for the 2 to 3% who might reliably be able to detect this difference (under certain conditions), that this has any bearing on normal listening enjoyment of a normal music signal at normal levels in a normal listening room. The evidence as I read it suggests that it doesn't.
    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.

    We know from audiological text books that human high frequency hearing acuity diminishes with age. At 54, I would not expect to be able to hear above 15 or 16kHz at a maximum - 12kHz would be more typical for my age. I can safely conclude that not one single audiophile of age 40+ can hear 20kHz (at a safe replay level equivalent to, say, 1kHz) - and we'd have to search hard to find one who could hear anything above 16kHz or so. Roll the clock forward to age 60 and few if any can hear above 10kHz*.

    With this reality of hearing frequency extension and known reduction with age in hearing sensitivity, who exactly is the target market for 'hi-definition' recordings? The essence of marketing is to identify a market sub-set and then to milk it. But if the market is utterly minuscule to start with and diminishing year by year and with a product theoretical advantage that is only detectable by the very young (who are not in fact the target market) or at best 3% (of what? the general population? a carefully selected group of predisposed buyers from the target demography?) surely hi-def audio will fail as a business venture.

    Regarding your question .....

    Though I dont see the economics reasons for the chip makers to make over engineered spec'ed chips that exceed human hearing threshold.
    you display an naivety about how business actually works! My past life was in the chip business, at NEC. First, we (I mean, NEC Tokyo) invested billions in chip making equipment: semiconductor foundries as they were called. To recoup the capital investment our own marketing dept. dreamed-up new ideas for chips which our technicians designed and fabricated. They appeared in the general catalogue. Secondly, as the lines were not running 24/7 there was spare capacity overnight and if you conceived a chip and the sales volume was worthwhile, we'd design it and run it on the overnight shift. Providing you paid for the design (or yourself invested in the design tools, delivering us the mask-code according to our in-house rules) and bought enough chips, we'd gladly make it for you. If you couldn't sell the chips on to your end costomer we didn't care; not our problem: providing that you settled the bill. I was personally responsible for the largest custom-chip user in Europe at the time.

    Perhaps the closest co-operation was between the chip makers and third party consumer electronics companies (like Sony). The chip makers and these bulk buyers are deeply embedded and working in strict confidence on products which will only come to light in years ahead. As we know from Intel and Apple, he who controls the chips game controls a financial fortune.

    *I notice ever more evidence from published speaker frequency response curves that hifi speakers are coming to market with cranked-up top ends. Is this a reflection of the designer's age, or the target customer's age (both suffering age related HF loss) or both? What may sound right to a 50+ year old designer may sound extremely brittle to a younger listener. As speaker designers age they must be more and more aware of the consequences of their diminishing HF response.
    Alan A. Shaw
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    Harbeth Audio UK

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    Quote 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.


    Quote 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.

    Quote 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

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    Quote 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.

  13. #33
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    Default Audible difference in converters?

    Quote 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

  14. #34
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    Quote 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.

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    Quote 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.

    Quote 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.

    Quote 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.

  16. #36
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    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.

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    Quote 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.

    Quote 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

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