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Have the higher sampling rate and bit depths cured the digital monster? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 7th August 2014
  #61
Interesting. I think I can safely say you are in a minority with that approach in those genres! A 16 channel summing mixer wouldn't do much for me in reducing plugin use, regardless of other benefits.

Can we hear any of these high sample rate indie pop etc productions? I'm really keen to see if the benefits translate. Personally it's not possible for me to consider working at those rates on my current setup - the pop and rock stuff I do often makes an hd3 rig fall over, although that is partly because of the number of plugins I use that aren't tdm - but even so, I think with an average track count of 80 audio tracks or so, it's still out.

I would say that absolute audio quality is NOT of secondary concern to workflow most of the time. It's the fact that the compromises required to work at high sample rates make the end product worse than the compromise of a lower sample rate.

Maybe that is still tied up in time pressures - I mean, maybe if I had the time to render all the hungry plugins, and do sub bounces (and revise those bounces where necessary), I'd be able to use higher sample rates AND not feel the compromises other than time taken.

But that's not the real world. Fwiw with my own mixes I find the things I struggle with are not really space or "3d", it's other things - the perfect balance, particularly in the bass end, or tone for a given instrument. Of all the things holding me back, I don't feel like it's the sample rate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IanBSC View Post
I do mostly indie pop/folk/rock with a 16 channel summing mixer so we don't need so many tracks with native plugins on each one. We mix most of the stuff we track in house. Sometimes I do have to make compromises when my UAD cards get pushed and maybe use fewer subgroups than I used to.

I get that most engineers value foremost how easy it is to put together a solid or commercial sounding mix/production and that absolute sound quality is an afterthought. I respect that AND for my own work (when I have the option) I want the fullest sound I can get. The sense of dimension is something I value. It just sounds right, and it just really bugs me when that dimension is missing. I put on a Joni Mitchel LP or Dylan SACD and it's just like "****! Why doesn't new (digital) stuff sound 3d and real like this?" I want that sense of space that you can put on headphones and get absorbed in. I want that as a part of my production quality. If somebody wants a mix mainly for cars, radio, etc there are others that can do that better.

To be honest, I do find many contemporary non-electronic recordings disappointing. Too many that I hear have no dynamics, little depth and too much distortion. Whatever aesthetic that is, whether it includes format or sample rate choices (though I can't imagine they care much), I'm not so interested. I'd rather do something different.

The question of whether working independently in this way is sustainable is a relevant one, and we will find out soon. The goal on the horizon is to sell direct downloads of our 192 and DSD files, which basically nobody else is doing. Taking a chance doing what motivates me and hoping other people dig it.
Old 7th August 2014
  #62
Quote:
Originally Posted by IanBSC View Post
I do mostly indie pop/folk/rock with a 16 channel summing mixer so we don't need so many tracks with native plugins on each one. We mix most of the stuff we track in house. Sometimes I do have to make compromises when my UAD cards get pushed and maybe use fewer subgroups than I used to.

I get that most engineers value foremost how easy it is to put together a solid or commercial sounding mix/production and that absolute sound quality is an afterthought. I respect that AND for my own work (when I have the option) I want the fullest sound I can get. The sense of dimension is something I value. It just sounds right, and it just really bugs me when that dimension is missing. I put on a Joni Mitchel LP or Dylan SACD and it's just like "****! Why doesn't new (digital) stuff sound 3d and real like this?" I want that sense of space that you can put on headphones and get absorbed in. I want that as a part of my production quality. If somebody wants a mix mainly for cars, radio, etc there are others that can do that better.

To be honest, I do find many contemporary non-electronic recordings disappointing. Too many that I hear have no dynamics, little depth and too much distortion. Whatever aesthetic that is, whether it includes format or sample rate choices (though I can't imagine they care much), I'm not so interested. I'd rather do something different.

The question of whether working independently in this way is sustainable is a relevant one, and we will find out soon. The goal on the horizon is to sell direct downloads of our 192 and DSD files, which basically nobody else is doing. Taking a chance doing what motivates me and hoping other people dig it.
Leaving aside the question of whether or not there are any/many listeners out there who can tell the difference (the primary body of evidence yea-or-nea currently lying with Meyer-Moran, apparently), I am interested, from a marketer's perspective, on how your sales efforts with HD files will go. I hope you'll share your results and observations. (We understand that sales appear down for many, so proportions of HD vs standard and general observations may well have to suffice. No one wants to make you drag start-up sales figures out in public.)

But I am very interested in whether people can be stirred to go to the trouble and/or expense of buying 'HD' files. When talk of the Pono device and online store surfaced, one of the first things I thought was that Bandcamp already offered an opportunity to sell such files, since they offered FLAC files which are capable of 24/192 and other typical sample rates and bit depths.

So no need to wait 'til the Pono store rolls out to start selling 'HD' content.

But please let us know how HD sales stack up against standard (and even mp3s -- since, if you end up using them, the Bandcamp system allows the buyer to pick from a number of output formats besides FLAC, including quite small phone-friendly files).
Old 7th August 2014
  #63
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To say we should 'put a fork in' the very medium which we record the sounds we live for onto- is to say that I shouldn't even care who's playing on the track. This is how some folks feel. If you were the type of engineer who wanted to work on tape, you'd feel that way. But see theres a funny thing about opinion.....
Old 7th August 2014
  #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanBSC View Post
The question of whether working independently in this way is sustainable is a relevant one, and we will find out soon. The goal on the horizon is to sell direct downloads of our 192 and DSD files, which basically nobody else is doing. Taking a chance doing what motivates me and hoping other people dig it.
there is probably a chance of a brief window where people will still be talking themselves into the idea that they are hearing a difference. There's the Pono thing, might be good for 6 months or a Year. But I don't think that any format where the difference is so slight that it is genuinely debatable whether it can be detected at all is "sustainable" as a motivator for sales in the long run.


Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Leaving aside the question of whether or not there are any/many listeners out there who can tell the difference (the primary body of evidence yea-or-nea currently lying with Meyer-Moran, apparently),
interesting that none of the "hi-res-ers" have commented upon this link

and it's not like this is the only such study to come to this dismal conclusion about High-Resolution as a consumer end-point format. What is happening now is that many of the tape diehards are actually dying hard. They look at themselves somewhat honestly and realize the majority of the their day to day work is on digital. They face an internal contradiction: they have been vociferous in their condemnation of digital for decades. Yet they are not 'walking the walk', Not using tape every day. So the solution for them is to latch on to high sample rates. As if it wasn't still the same PCM they always "hated" - just with more numbers. As if they could hear the difference blindfolded.

But it saves face, THEY haven't changed. The technology has "caught up"
Old 7th August 2014
  #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FirebirdSweet View Post
To say we should 'put a fork in' the very medium which we record the sounds we live for onto....
the "fork" that is being requested is the fork that would be inserted into the pointless (and endless) discussion that has been around and around for 1000 times.

Besides the half-hearted attempts to couch the Same Old Thing as a "new question", that's all this is: another A versus D thread. The second paragraph of the OP asks if 96k can stand as an equal to tape.

The Same Old discussion that is about nothing more than people's TASTE - and couched in terms as if their taste had an 'empirical' basis. No one is willing to relinquish their placebos, no one is willing to even read a link to a scientific study - so what "learning" can happen here? We can only "learn" what this or that person says he likes. Everyone has already said what they like, so YES we CAN stick a fork in it.
Old 7th August 2014
  #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
there is probably a chance of a brief window where people will still be talking themselves into the idea that they are hearing a difference, but I don't think that any format where the difference is so slight that it is genuinely debatable whether it can be detected at all is "sustainable" in the long run.




interesting that none of the "hi-res-ers" have commented upon this link



and it's not like this is the only such study to come to this dismal conclusion about High-Resolution as a consumer end-point format
"Talking themselves into the idea that they are hearing the difference?" Is that what I've been doing all these years?

Nobody wants to get sucked into the "Who do you believe, me, or you lying ears?" debate that Meyer Moran poses. It's the same argument, over and over. To MY experience I can distinguish between all these formats and each has its own unique and repeatedly identifiable quality.

Meyer Moran is NOT the only study on the audibility of high res sources. This one came to the opposite conclusion. AES E-Library I find this study gets ignored a lot more.

Anyway, consumers aren't going to value hi res if they haven't heard, and don't have a way to play it. That was the main failing of the the HiRes format wars, people didn't know they even existed and didn't have the special players to listen to the discs. Until people have actual exposure then the only thing that informs them are what other people tell them (such as those that trot out Nyquist and Meyer-Moran as a substitute for personal experience). This is changing, so there is opportunity and I believe a lot of people will prefer the 192 or DSD versions.
Old 7th August 2014
  #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Leaving aside the question of whether or not there are any/many listeners out there who can tell the difference (the primary body of evidence yea-or-nea currently lying with Meyer-Moran, apparently), I am interested, from a marketer's perspective, on how your sales efforts with HD files will go. I hope you'll share your results and observations. (We understand that sales appear down for many, so proportions of HD vs standard and general observations may well have to suffice. No one wants to make you drag start-up sales figures out in public.)

But I am very interested in whether people can be stirred to go to the trouble and/or expense of buying 'HD' files. When talk of the Pono device and online store surfaced, one of the first things I thought was that Bandcamp already offered an opportunity to sell such files, since they offered FLAC files which are capable of 24/192 and other typical sample rates and bit depths.

So no need to wait 'til the Pono store rolls out to start selling 'HD' content.

But please let us know how HD sales stack up against standard (and even mp3s -- since, if you end up using them, the Bandcamp system allows the buyer to pick from a number of output formats besides FLAC, including quite small phone-friendly files).
You are right, the infrastructure IS already here. There are already other Pono-like devices that exist. The components and design in his player look they should sound nice, but ultimately I think the purpose of Pono is to raise interest.

Right now, nobody else in our potential market space is doing this, so if there are guys out there who want to listen to new music in HiRes that will be an advantage for us. Maybe it is a small niche, but initially we will be the only ones in it. HD Tracks does sell new music, but most is 24/44. Surely, this will be an interesting experiment.
Old 7th August 2014
  #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanBSC View Post
Meyer Moran is NOT the only study on the audibility of high res sources. This one came to the opposite conclusion. AES E-Library I find this study gets ignored a lot more.
the study is behind a paywall, I would be curious as to what the statistics were.

If the studies do not all agree, the fact remains that the differences are small enough to remain debatable. What happens when the consumer is listening and says, "yeah Hi-Res is SO much better" and then realizes he is listening to the 16/44.1 by mistake? Oops.

I do not know if NOBODY is hearing ANY difference. But clearly the people who are hearing "huge" differences must be getting some help from their expectations.

Quote:
Anyway, consumers aren't going to value hi res if they haven't heard, and don't have a way to play it..
Old news. DVD-A and SACD were both "ways to play it" and both flopped miserably. When audio professionals are gathered and blind tested and their ability to hear the difference either fails to show itself, or at best needs to be inferred by statistical performance, that is probably not going to bode well for the health of a 'new' consumer format. I can see the ads now:

"Buy the new thing: It's slightly better! If you listen really carefully to the reverb tails, you can tell the difference. " Not much of a marketing slogan.
Old 7th August 2014
  #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
the study is behind a paywall, I would be curious as to what the statistics were.
that study has been talked about a few times on this forum and others. here's one interpretation of the process/results from another forum:

Quote:
I bought the paper. Here's a paraphrase of the methods and results. Note that the test signals were recorded by the authors.


subjects : 15 male, 1 female, all having at least 3 yrs of sound engineering experience, six being pros, ten being students. All but one were musically trained.


equipment: the recording microphones (a pair of Sennheiser MKH 8020) had a FR of 10Hz-60kHz. Two stereo feeds from the mic preamp (Millennia HV-3D) to two Micstasy ADCs, one set to 44.1/24 the other to 88.2/24 ; then the 44.1/24 digital signal was recorded (at 44.1) on a Sound Devices 744T portable recorder, while the 88.2 output was recorded on a MacBook Pro at 88.2 using Logic Studio software. The recording diagram also shows that the 44.1 ADC used its internal clock, while the 88.2 ADC's master clock was a Mutec .


test signals: five musical/instrumental (orchestra, classical guitar, cymbals , voice, violin) recordings by the authors, from live performances at McGill that took place in several halls/rooms with varying dimensions & acoustics. For use in tests, 5-8 sec excerpts were used, with no processing except fade in.out via Pyramix 6 software. Care was taken to make the fades the same on the 44.1 and 88.2 examples. The 88.2 excerpts were also then downsampled to 44.1 via Pyramix software, so there were three sets of signals, native 44.1, native 88.2, and downsampled 88.2-->44.1.


playback: 5 blocks corresponding to the 5 excerpts, 12 trials per block ( i.e. all pairwise combinations of the three versions, each presented 4 times, twice in each of the two presentation orders) . Randomized ABX protocol was used. Listening occurred in an ITU standard room (the Critical Listening Lab of the CIRMMT, Montreal). Plaback hardware was an RME Fireface 800 DAC, a Grace m906 monitor controller, and a Classe CA-5200 stereo amp, feeding a pair of B&W 802D loudspeakers (FR 70Hz-33kHz). The authors picked the Fireface because 'it was the only converter that allowed us to switch sample rates between 44.1 and 88.2 in a respectable amount of time." To avoid clipping a 750ms switching interval was employed, set in the user interface which was Cycle '74's Max/MSP/Jitter software package. (I'm not quite clear from this how ABX switching was done, though I'm guessing the UI allows it?). All playback was at 24 bits.

Results: Considering cumulative binomial test results ( i.e., for all comparisons of all excerpts), 3/16 individuals achieved significant results (p < 0.05, 2-tailed ) but 'they significantly selected the wrong answer' (?!). The other 13 didn't perform better than chance, either individually or as a group.
But for these 13 subjects as a group, IF one considers each format comparison separately (rather than combining all comparisons) significant results were observed for 88.2 vs downsampled (p = .04, 2-tailed) . For the same group a 'tendency' was observed for 88.2 vs native 44.1 (p = 0.1) . No significant diff between native 44.1 and downsampled 44.1 (p = .2, I guess this doesn't constitute a 'tendency').
Results for the 13 subjects (grouped) were also re-analysed by musical type. Significant: Orchestral excerpt for 88.2 vs native 44.1 (p=.02). Classical Guitar and Voice excerpts for 88.2 vs downsampled (p = .004, p= .04). Not significant for any excerpt: 44.1 vs downsampled 44.1

The results of the three subjects who signficantly picked the wrong answer were also analyzed further, on a by-format basis (presumably the results of the three subjects were grouped). Significant: 88.2 vs native 44.1 (p = 0.02); native 44.1 vs downsampled 44.1 (p = 0.02). Not significant: 88.2 vs native 44.1 (p = .15). On a musical type basis, significant: Violin excerpt for 88.2 vs 44.1 (p = .006); Guitar and Violin excerpts, 44.1 vs downsampled 44.1 (p = .02 , p = .006). (I presume these stats are all wrt RIGHT answers, not WRONG answers, in contrast to the cumulative results, but it's not clear to me if that's true).

Collapsed results of all 16 subjects showed significant different for 88.2 vs native 44.1 Orchestral excerpt (p =.01


All subjects reported (in post-test questionnaires) that it was a very demanding test and they had lots of doubts about their choices.
Old 7th August 2014
  #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepingbag View Post
that study has been talked about a few times on this forum and others. here's one interpretation of the process/results from another forum:
thanks that was very helpful

I am thinking that the fact that they used things like solo violin and solo guitar kind of makes it less applicable to the idea of an "improved consumer format"

Quote:
All subjects reported (in post-test questionnaires) that it was a very demanding test and they had lots of doubts about their choices.
again for the people who claim night and day differences, who feel their mixes "totally fall apart" when downsampled to CD, I wonder if they have ever tried an ABX.
Old 7th August 2014
  #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Lawson View Post
Would the negative voices against CD sound have been silent if the default for the public sampling/plackback rates were 96/24 from the start? I say CD sound because everything below CD is convenience centric as opposed to fidelity centric.

Interesting the thread is going is way too unnecessary directions. Hi res downloads are increasing in audiophile circles which indicates to me at least that things can be recorded in high rates and left in those high rates.
I suppose it depends on which negative voices you're talking about. I can only speak for mine.

I didn't like CD when it first came out, but it had nothing to do with the sample rate. It had everything to do with hearing all that high-frequency content for the first time, which always bothered my ears. As a medium, it was infinitely better as a consumer format than vinyl. I just didn't like the engineering.

Now, 22 years after I bought my first CD (I was a slow adopter), I think it's fine. I believe I perceive a slight difference between 44.1/16 and 44.1/24, but it's nothing to jump up and down about. When it comes to higher sample rates, maybe I hear it, maybe I don't. Either way, I just don't care enough to figure it out definitively for myself.

Now, the question is, why don't I care? Demographically, you would think I'd be exactly the kind of person who would take a keen interest in sound quality. I'm a life-long musician. I've been involved with recording for decades. I've had McIntosh and Marantz amps, and high efficiency speakers at home. I even have a 300B amp that I've built (ok, 90% there. I'll finish it when I have time), just because I'm that into sound.

Well, the reason is that everything sounds different depending on where you listen to it. It always has. Also, I listen to music for different purposes under different conditions. I'm forced to enjoy some music in my car, with 50dB of constant road noise and other distractions, because that's when I have time to listen to it. I listen to other music through studio monitors or headphones because I need to hear a certain level of detail to understand the production. Once I have that understanding, I don't need to hear it at that level again.

But as far as the digital aspect of the medium gets better, the improvement gets vanishingly small. After that, practical and functional considerations trump any differences I may be able to perceive. I can far more significantly influence my perception of the sound by changing the analog components of my listening system than the industry could by changing the digital ones. And that's something I have control over.
Old 7th August 2014
  #72
The AES E-Library study is seriously flawed from the start. Sixteen subjects is far too small to draw any conclusions from the data.
Old 8th August 2014
  #73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Coates View Post
The AES E-Library study is seriously flawed from the start. Sixteen subjects is far too small to draw any conclusions from the data.
Intriguing results -- but I wondered if they had switched the presumably otherwise identical ADC converters mid-testing to 'neutralize' any practical differences between the real world devices. I also couldn't understand why they used two different digital data transcription devices (the dedicated recorder for low rate and the Mac for high) -- why not use one data transcription device. (The job of transcribing the already digital data stream is a relatively simple one; we'd like to imagine using different systems for the two test streams would not introduce variations outside the scope we're testing for -- but by using non-identical systems, it introduces one more variable. And, of course, varying digital signal paths may have varying jitter performance, as we all know. That those inherently different performance characteristics would be substantial enough to make a difference in the results may be unlikely (or not) but it nonetheless introduces one more area of uncertainty that would have to be locked down in order to have confidence in the results.

Quote:
The recording diagram also shows that the 44.1 ADC used its internal clock, while the 88.2 ADC's master clock was a Mutec .
And then there is that issue of external clocking for the hi rate rig, which is likely to induce increased jitter. Could that have something to do with unexpected preferences? (That said, as has been postulated around here, some folks may prefer extra jitter.)

Finally, as noted immediately above, it's a quite limited set of subjects and trials, particularly when regarded in light of the extensive nature of Meyer-Moran trials.


As I said, I'm intrigued by the results -- but more intrigued by the questions about method above -- since they seem to hint broadly at potential factors in those observed results.
Old 8th August 2014
  #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Coates View Post
The AES E-Library study is seriously flawed
what a surprise
Old 8th August 2014
  #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kafka View Post
I didn't like CD when it first came out, but it had nothing to do with the sample rate. It had everything to do with hearing all that high-frequency content
I thought it was cool to hear stuff in the mixes not previously noticeable on 8track or vinyl.
Old 8th August 2014
  #76
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When listening to good CD remasters of the old records greater detail is not uncommon. I've never heard a CD remaster that I thought sounded worse than vinyl. But I have had CD's that I knew mostly from tape and the tape versions in some instances were preferred. The Gin Blossoms New Miserable Experience comes to mind. On CD it is too jangley but the tape was perfect. Dubbing the CD onto cassette and reel to reel fattened it up and smoothed out the digital sharp edges. Conversely the tape of Counting Crows August And Everything After was a bit dull on cassette. On CD it is a different record, not nearly as flat and stoic. With that record it is the sonic details that make it shine.

I hear a very noticeable difference between 16 bit and 24 bit. I didn't need to be told 24 bit was better. When SONAR was automatically making everything 24 bit I knew something was better with SONAR. The previous program that worked only in 16 bit was the dead giveaway when I eventually compared bit depth when my Nero program would not burn the straight from SONAR mixes. I had to make 16 bit mixes of everything intended for CD. I consider this fortunate in that I was allowed to make up my mind which sounded better without actually knowing what was responsible for the better sound.
Old 8th August 2014
  #77
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I've heard plenty that sounded worse than both the vinyl and even a CD-R made from the vinyl. One thing I wonder about is tape deteriorating over time. I also know a lot of early CDs were made from master tape copies and not the original tape the vinyl was cut from.
Old 8th August 2014
  #78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Lawson View Post
The Gin Blossoms New Miserable Experience comes to mind. On CD it is too jangley but the tape was perfect. Dubbing the CD onto cassette and reel to reel fattened it up and smoothed out the digital sharp edges.
So in this situation there's 2 possibilities:

- you're used to the sound of the vinyl and thus the higher "fidelity" of the CD sounded odd to you.

- the CD master wasn't done very well (to your taste at least).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Lawson View Post
Conversely the tape of Counting Crows August And Everything After was a bit dull on cassette. On CD it is a different record, not nearly as flat and stoic. With that record it is the sonic details that make it shine.
Well, I HATE the sound of cassette, I've never heard a recording being "improved" by being recorded to cassette.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Lawson View Post
I hear a very noticeable difference between 16 bit and 24 bit. I didn't need to be told 24 bit was better. When SONAR was automatically making everything 24 bit I knew something was better with SONAR. The previous program that worked only in 16 bit was the dead giveaway when I eventually compared bit depth when my Nero program would not burn the straight from SONAR mixes. I had to make 16 bit mixes of everything intended for CD. I consider this fortunate in that I was allowed to make up my mind which sounded better without actually knowing what was responsible for the better sound.
Well, you're confusing things here - 24bit for production recording all the way, it allows better use of headroom and equipment flexibility (eg you can drive a preamp, or you can back it off, without worrying about absolute level). No need to risk clipping, or pushing converter analogue stages to their limit, or over compressing on the way in as a way of bumping level.

As has already been noted, the only difference between a properly dithered 16bit copy of a 24bit file *should* be the noise floor. If you hear the 16bit as "brittle" or "thin", something has gone wrong somewhere.
Old 8th August 2014
  #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
...Well, I HATE the sound of cassette, I've never heard a recording being "improved" by being recorded to cassette...
Then you'll be pleased to know that an earlier Meyer-Moran study employing the same methodology determined that most people can't hear any difference between a CD and a cassette.
Old 8th August 2014
  #80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Then you'll be pleased to know that an earlier Meyer-Moran study employing the same methodology determined that most people can't hear any difference between a CD and a cassette.
Searching, I see reference in an audiophile rant in a BB about Meyer supposedly "doing blind tests at AES Conventions in the early 1990s to 'prove' that TDK's latest cassette tape formulation produced recordings that could not be distinguished by ear from the original CDs" -- but I'm not finding such a study in my searches.

I'm guessing from the certainty of your statement, that you have documentation on that since you are using that assertion to try to discredit Meyer-Moran.

Not, of course, that it would directly reflect on the later Meyer-Moran study, which has been open to peer review since its publication.

Do you dispute the experimental method or analysis of findings of Meyer-Moran or are you just grasping at a really stray straw? This kind of comment is really not very helpful as it stands.
Old 8th August 2014
  #81
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It was NOT an AES paper and NOT peer-reviewed prior to publication. It was just an article in the AES Journal about a test of highly questionable quality performed by an amateur audiophile club. It "proves" absolutely nothing and has given REAL double-blind testing a bad name.
Old 8th August 2014
  #82
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whether some humans "can" or "cannot" distinguish between 96k and 44.1 in mixed and mastered program material blindfolded is not the point

the point is that such a determination is difficult and everybody knows it. Even the people who were supposedly successful listening to solo violins admitted it was hard and they were quite unsure of their choices.

it is quite simply NOT this slam-dunk, wowie-zowie, night-and-day, now we're talking, this is almost as good as tape, difference. I agree with psycho_monkey... if your 16-bit rendering of your good-sounding high-res master suddenly sounds "thin" you are either imagining it, or you did something wrong

it is really rather obvious to me what is going on here. The people who have been talking the talk about 'tape' and 'vinyl' are giving up their holy opposition. They are using digital all the time now. Major cognitive dissonance!

So they obviously can't admit that were 'wrong' about digital before. They can't have changed their minds! Clearly something about digital must have changed to suit their adamantine perceptual reference points. Very recently!

"High resolution" is the perfect face-saving excuse, even though high-res has been around for quite some time. Even though it is still PCM.

I guess it's because the "stairsteps" are smaller!
Old 8th August 2014
  #83
Oh, we're changing the subject back to the Meyer-Moran paper? Have you abandoned your prior assertion without acknowledgement?


The Meyer-Moran paper in the AES Journal paper describes its methods and presents its findings. It's been published and is open to analysis and criticism.

You say that it's of highly questionable quality -- that suggests you have some points of criticism. Let's hear them. If they're not forthcoming or not persuasive, perhaps you should withdraw that line of comment. If you have a valid criticism of design or method or execution, that would be one thing -- but you rest your criticism above on your assertion that it was 'performed by an amateur audiophile club' as though that automatically negates the evidence presented; that's a form of ad hominem attack, and as ill-considered as any other, seems to me.

The bottom line is that there is an experimental design, a methodology, an execution, and evidence collected and collated. Valid criticisms of those aspects are worth considering. But don't debase the dialog with rhetorical ruses.

https://secure.aes.org/forum/pubs/journal/?ID=2
Old 8th August 2014
  #84
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
whether some humans "can" or "cannot" distinguish between 96k and 44.1 in mixed and mastered program material blindfolded is not the point

the point is that such a determination is difficult and everybody knows it. Even the people who were supposedly successful listening to solo violins admitted it was hard and they were quite unsure of their choices.

[...]
I would be reluctant to grant credibility to the study to which you refer based on the method as it's been described. I thought there seemed to me quite troubling flaws in experimental design, well beyond the limited number of subjects and trials.
Old 8th August 2014
  #85
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IanBSC's Avatar
One well known flaw was that Meyer-Moran used SACDs that were sourced from 16/44 (Norah Jones).
Old 8th August 2014
  #86
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IanBSC's Avatar
What I find contentious about these discussions when somebody attacks people's direct experience with appeal to "Science" or ABX tests. I appreciate it if someone says "I listened and I couldn't hear the difference," or "I listened and I heard some difference, but it wasn't worth the impact to my work flow," but when the claim is "I don't need to listen and paper X says YOU (or people in general) cannot hear the difference, and if you can you are fooling yourself" I don't find it very useful.

Why do we debate about papers when pretty much everyone here owns an audio interface and can make their own tests? It seems like we are a bit (selectively) paranoid about confirmation bias. These differences aren't THAT subtle, it's not like trying to hear the difference between 24 bit and 32 bit float point when running plugins. Do you ABX every bit of gear to make sure you're not fooling yourself?

If this does indeed all come down to belief, what is more valid: that I believe what my senses tell me through my own empirical observation, or that I believe the conclusion of somebody else's research which I have not tested myself? If there is a conflict between the two, which one do I trust?
Old 8th August 2014
  #87
Quote:
Originally Posted by IanBSC View Post
One well known flaw was that Meyer-Moran used SACDs that were sourced from 16/44 (Norah Jones).
Now, this, assuming it's true (and not doubting it mind you ), would be a valid criticism of execution.

Even if such an error was no fault of the experimenters -- and even if it seems to suggest volumes about those producing such repackaged standard content in a 'premium' format with price to match -- it would nonetheless clearly invalidate testing based on such test material.

That said, I believe there was a fairly wide range of tested content. Judging from the published results, those who believe there is an 'obvious' difference would be driven to imagine that ALL the tested content was repackaged 16/44, which seems unlikely. But if it WERE the case, that would seem to open a whole new, and quite broad avenue of doubt and criticism of the HD audio market.

Still, the existence of any such content (and particularly in the case of such a well-known, high-selling item) is, of course, highly suggestive that the HD market is ripe for more such abuses.


BTW, I will be amused to find that Norah Jones SACD to be repackaged CD content because I've read a number of SACD/DSD proponents rave about how it sounded.
Old 8th August 2014
  #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanBSC View Post
What I find contentious about these discussions when somebody attacks people's direct experience with appeal to "Science" or ABX tests. I appreciate it if someone says "I listened and I couldn't hear the difference," or "I listened and I heard some difference, but it wasn't worth the impact to my work flow," but when the claim is "I don't need to listen and paper X says YOU (or people in general) cannot hear the difference, and if you can you are fooling yourself" I don't find it very useful.
You can also look at it the other way. By disagreeing with the results of the paper you are disagreeing with it. That is fine, but I would rather believe well documented research than random biased gearslut with phantom hearing conducting experiments in his bedroom. You don't have to search far to find out many people hear whatever they want to hear.

I don't think the extra bandwidth is worth it, but it certainly is worth it (IMO) to upgrade from 128 bit MP3s still heard in spotify and soundcloud. Where is the outrage for that monster?

Mixing in higher sample rate audibly reduced artifacts though, but I agree with Monkey that practicality often leads to better results than the extra fidelity.
Old 8th August 2014
  #89
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sleepingbag's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by IanBSC View Post
If this does indeed all come down to belief, what is more valid: that I believe what my senses tell me through my own empirical observation, or that I believe the conclusion of somebody else's research which I have not tested myself? If there is a conflict between the two, which one do I trust?
you can believe whatever you like, as can all of us. if you wish to convince others that what you believe is more than your ears playing tricks on you (a phenomenon that demonstrably happens all the time) though, you might try posting sound samples, or scientific data, or something else to clarify what it is you're hearing and let us know it's not just your perception being fooled by expectation or by flaws somewhere along the process. otherwise it's very easy for others to dismiss if they themselves haven't heard what you claim to have heard.... of course, whether or not being dismissed in this manner bothers you is also up to you. you might not care if we can't hear what you hear, and that's fine.

any chance you care to post some sounds for us hanging out here on this thread to listen to? presumably if it is your plan to sell higher sample rate/dsd audio and you expect certain consumers to prefer and buy it, then you might have some samples lying around somewhere that you could share with us...?
Old 8th August 2014
  #90
Quote:
Originally Posted by IanBSC View Post
What I find contentious about these discussions when somebody attacks people's direct experience with appeal to "Science" or ABX tests. I appreciate it if someone says "I listened and I couldn't hear the difference," or "I listened and I heard some difference, but it wasn't worth the impact to my work flow," but when the claim is "I don't need to listen and paper X says YOU (or people in general) cannot hear the difference, and if you can you are fooling yourself" I don't find it very useful.

Why do we debate about papers when pretty much everyone here owns an audio interface and can make their own tests? It seems like we are a bit (selectively) paranoid about confirmation bias. These differences aren't THAT subtle, it's not like trying to hear the difference between 24 bit and 32 bit float point when running plugins. Do you ABX every bit of gear to make sure you're not fooling yourself?

If this does indeed all come down to belief, what is more valid: that I believe what my senses tell me through my own empirical observation, or that I believe the conclusion of somebody else's research which I have not tested myself? If there is a conflict between the two, which one do I trust?
How about if I listen AND my experience agrees with ABX testing by others?

That might sound meaningful, but my experience is STILL completely subjective. And no better or worse -- or more or less meaningful as a data point -- than yours.

If I want to help eliminate cognitive bias in my subjective evaluation, I can put myself through the discipline of ABX testing and help reduce the influence of expectation. It's still a subjective opinion, but I've then gone to some lengths to try to remove the influence of what I expect/fear in the results by double blinding the process.

People seem to get so confused as to what ABX testing does and doesn't do. It simply provides a mechanism to help neutralize the influences of personal (and experimenter) expectation when attempting to see if two presumably different signals are different enough to be be told apart on a statistically significant basis.


Perceptual scientists, when trying to develop performance baselines for the bandwidth limits of human perception, have found it to be a worthwhile tool, but, like most specific scientifically informed processes, its proper use and function are intentionally narrowly defined and should be limited to those applications where it is properly suited and can prove useful.


PS... I used to think 'obvious' was more much less 'obvious' than it is. That is to say that -- before I had access to easy to use ABX tools, I was a lot more willing to accept first or second sonic impressions as 'truth.' But once I went to the mat, really listening to some of the choices that had initially seemed 'obvious' to me, I found myself becoming much more cautious in jumping to conclusions.

And THAT works both ways, too. ABX testing has actually shown differences I initially thought were too small to be recognized with statistical significance to actually be 'significant enough' that I could, indeed, differentiate them with high consistency. ABX testing actually encouraged me to up my game in some respects when 'good enough' proved to be consistently sortable from 'better than good enough.'
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