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Launch of Pono Studio Headphones
Old 31st March 2014
  #2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post

Should we call off the science discussion for this and just all "feel" that it's better when it can be mathematically proven otherwise?
A start would be to call off the lynch mob chasing those who 'feel' higher sample rates are better.
I feel 96khz is better for me. If not for you - totally fine!
Old 1st April 2014
  #2012
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bdiament's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
But it's not like any of these files haven't already been converted. Right?

They weren't recorded or mixed at different sample rates were they?

So the lower quality versions already went through some conversion.

And if you're suspicion is warranted, it shouldn't be an issue as all of your original files would still be present in the comparison.

And degradation would simply give those files a disadvantage.

But if the original 24/192 sounds best, it should jump out as best. Right?

The only purpose of having those other versions is if for some reason your convertor sounds better at different resolutions.
Hi Kenny,

For me, the issue isn't whether the original files went through a conversion, it is how do I get the very best recording and how do I get the very best lower res versions.

I've found much to like in 4x rates when they are done properly. I say "done properly" because in my experience, all too many converters that are spec'd for 4x rates actually sound *worse* at these rates than they do at lower rates. I attribute this to the significantly increased demands placed on clocking accuracy and on analog stage performance at wide bandwidth. It is easier to claim 192k than to deliver on its potential.

That said, when done right, I have yet to be able to discern the 24/192 output of my converters from the direct mic feed at recording sessions. (There are no mixes in Soundkeeper Recordings as they are captured direct to stereo. What leaves the mics is essentially the finished recording. That's the whole idea behind Soundkeeper.)

Next, how do I create the very best 16/44 CD I know how to create? My experience has been that starting with a 24/192 master is always and very easily the way to go, *provided* the sample rate conversion and dithering are impeccable. Same with the best 24/96 I know how to create -- starting with a 24/192 source always gets the best results. You just need SRC and dithering capable of creating results that sound like the original, given the limitations of the lower resolutions.

So, whatever the exercise of altering each version (adding a different color to the paint mix) provides, it does not show the real differences between the versions our customers purchase. The only way to hear those is to listen to the files natively.

I'm curious. What has your experience been so far with different resolutions?
And what converters are you using to make the evaluations?

Best regards,
Barry
Soundkeeper Recordings
The Soundkeeper | Audio, Music, Recording, Playback
Barry Diament Audio
Old 1st April 2014
  #2013
j_j
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiop View Post
You do know that sound (as in acoustical waves) exists in more than one single defined axis right?


/Peter
Well, I've tried to point out more than once that if you have one signal out of a microphone you're getting at best 1/4th of the information available at the position of the microphone. Different microphones, different combinations of the 4 variables, but still 1/4 at most.

And, of course, the fact that stereo transmits at most 2/8ths of the information at 2 places for rendering seems to go unnoticed most of the time, as well.

Good luck, I've given up on applying physics to debate on audio.

Let's take 40% 20C atmosphere, how's that 30khz transmission doing, anyhow?
Old 1st April 2014
  #2014
j_j
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
A start would be to call off the lynch mob chasing those who 'feel' higher sample rates are better.
I feel 96khz is better for me. If not for you - totally fine!
You're mixing two issues there, science and pure preference. You're entitled to your preference, but let's not have any factual claims made about why you have your preference, at least without some evidence for it, ok?
Old 1st April 2014
  #2015
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
...Either assumption assumes too much. You have to determine value independently which is something the "testers" seem to want to do. If you just say "bah humbug" and don't test it out, you might miss something good, but only blind consumerism would say "they must have their reasons" and leave it at that.
IMO it will be interesting to actually hear Pono before determining it's quality.
Old 1st April 2014
  #2016
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bdiament's Avatar
 

I find it curious that those who would pretend to doing a scientific observation want to begin testing by altering what they are about to observe.

Have fun!
Over and out.

Best regards,
Barry
Soundkeeper Recordings
The Soundkeeper | Audio, Music, Recording, Playback
Barry Diament Audio
Old 1st April 2014
  #2017
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nuthinupmysleeve's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
FWIW, bottled water can be better, when your only alternative is tap water from an unknown source, or when you are in a city, very thirsty and don't want to go into a cafe or restaurant - bottled water is just convenient.
And ya know it's ok to perceive something is better.
Sure, if you are OK with fooling yourself and being removed from reality.

The bottled water thing wasn't about comparison with unknown sources. It was about people believing there was a difference when there wasn't... expectation bias demonstrated perfectly.

Expectation bias is what happens when you don't really care, IMO.

It's like wine tasting. There has been plenty of research done that shows people enjoy the bottle of wine more when they think it was more expensive. However, when you knowingly pay more money for something that really has differences you can't pick out in a blind test... well, I'm sure there is a term for that.
Old 1st April 2014
  #2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
A start would be to call off the lynch mob chasing those who 'feel' higher sample rates are better.
I feel 96khz is better for me. If not for you - totally fine!
This can be proven.

When you can pick out 96k in a double blind test, you can "feel" it's better. Otherwise, it's like wine or bottled water or whatever.
Old 1st April 2014
  #2019
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
They make more expensive microphones because people buy expensive microphones.

For me, that's a tough analogy because I do hear a difference in microphones so I think it's valid.

But just because a product is made and people buy it, is not scientific proof that it is better.

Have you watched the video I posted about bottled water?

People pay more for things when they "perceive" it to have more value. Not just because it does.
I did watch (most) of it! But it has always been a no brainer to me, I live in NYC! Tap water here rules. No way I'd purchase bottled water in a restaurant. In restaurants we called it "Bloomberg '12." Now I suppose we need to call it "DeBlasio '14."

But the issue is - is it marketing hype? Or is it because it sounds better?

In the professional world where people equate time with money and need any advantage they can get, money is spent where it is well accepted that it is worth it. In the case of microphones, sample rates, instrument manufacturer - where you can hear a difference and you think it will help you - people will spend the money. And the company with the better product gets the higher price.

So to say that people are spending money on higher sample rate DACs and ADCs are doing the same as people buying $7 bottles of water I think is a bit unfair.
Old 1st April 2014
  #2020
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by j_j View Post
Well, I've tried to point out more than once that if you have one signal out of a microphone you're getting at best 1/4th of the information available at the position of the microphone. Different microphones, different combinations of the 4 variables, but still 1/4 at most.

And, of course, the fact that stereo transmits at most 2/8ths of the information at 2 places for rendering seems to go unnoticed most of the time, as well.

Good luck, I've given up on applying physics to debate on audio.

Let's take 40% 20C atmosphere, how's that 30khz transmission doing, anyhow?
You know I've always maintained that the sound of my audio system changes with humidity! Even the Clarinet. A bit better for the high frequencies when there's more humidity for me.
Old 1st April 2014
  #2021
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiop View Post
Hi!

Electronical devices basically log voltage vs time.

Electroacoustical transducers such as mic's have to track voltage vs time as well but also collect energy in an other domain from a gazillion angles and convert it to an electrical signal.

You do know that sound (as in acoustical waves) exists in more than one single defined axis right?


/Peter
Yes I do. This is why I have omni, cardiod and figure 8 microphones.
Old 1st April 2014
  #2022
Lives for gear
 
ionian's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkorten View Post
I live in NYC! Tap water here rules.
As long as you can get past the chlorine smell.
Old 1st April 2014
  #2023
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdiament View Post
Hi Kenny,

I'm curious. What has your experience been so far with different resolutions?
And what converters are you using to make the evaluations?

Best regards,
Barry
Thanks again Barry.

My experiences (and it's only been with recording and mixing my productions) has been with the Digi 192 and my Aurora 16.

I noticed a real improvement when using 96k on the Digi 192 and no difference using the Aurora 16. At least nothing substantial.

I did produce a record from start to finish at 96k and felt like it was better throughout the process but in the end, it didn't stand out vs other records I've made at 44.1kHz.

I've never made a record at 192kHz simply because I don't think I can. I produce pop rock records that go from 100 - 150 tracks always. So 192k isn't possible.

Thanks
Old 1st April 2014
  #2024
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
IMO it will be interesting to actually hear Pono before determining it's quality.
But that's not the point.

No one is debating whether the Pono sounds better. It might sound fantastic.

The hype surrounding it is that it sounds incredible…

because

it's using higher resolution files.

That point can be debated without the Pono unit. No?
Old 1st April 2014
  #2025
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdiament View Post
I find it curious that those who would pretend to doing a scientific observation want to begin testing by altering what they are about to observe.
I would prefer not to but when approaching a scientific observation, you try all things. It's troubleshooting 101.

As I said in my original response to you (which you didn't address) the original files as you made them would still be a part of the test.

If I were to alter anything, it would just be as an extras variable. Not to replce the original files. So the only reason to take issue with that is to say that it's harder to test because there are too many files. Not the fact that "some" of them have been altered.
Old 1st April 2014
  #2026
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkorten View Post
I did watch (most) of it! But it has always been a no brainer to me, I live in NYC! Tap water here rules. No way I'd purchase bottled water in a restaurant. In restaurants we called it "Bloomberg '12." Now I suppose we need to call it "DeBlasio '14."

But the issue is - is it marketing hype? Or is it because it sounds better?

In the professional world where people equate time with money and need any advantage they can get, money is spent where it is well accepted that it is worth it. In the case of microphones, sample rates, instrument manufacturer - where you can hear a difference and you think it will help you - people will spend the money. And the company with the better product gets the higher price.

So to say that people are spending money on higher sample rate DACs and ADCs are doing the same as people buying $7 bottles of water I think is a bit unfair.
But you're proving my point. Look at professional studios or professional records being made.

Are they mostly being made at 192kHz?

If not, why?

Why is anyone still making records at 44.1kHz?

BTW - I lived and worked in NYC and you're correct. NYC does have some of the best public water. Although it changed from building to building.

I still don't drink tap water.
Old 1st April 2014
  #2027
Here for the gear
 
bdiament's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
I would prefer not to but when approaching a scientific observation, you try all things. It's troubleshooting 101.

As I said in my original response to you (which you didn't address) the original files as you made them would still be a part of the test.

If I were to alter anything, it would just be as an extras variable. Not to replce the original files. So the only reason to take issue with that is to say that it's harder to test because there are too many files. Not the fact that "some" of them have been altered.
Hi Kenny,

Actually, I did address your comment (in post 2014).
What I said was it isn't the conversions that concern me when I'm making a record. My concern is how to make the best recording I know how to make and how to make the best 24/96 and best 16/44 I know how to make.

In my experience, with properly done 24/192, I have a recording that sounds like my mic feed (which is exactly what I want). By using certain src and dither algorithms, I can create a 24/96 and a 16/44 that sound closer to that 24/192 (and my mic feed) than by taking the feed directly at 24/96 or 16/44. That is the reason there are conversions on the two other resolutions.

Note, I'm not selecting the others based on a sound I "like". I'm using the mic feed (and the 24/192 recording that I wasn't able to discern from the mic feed at the recording session) as the sole criterion for comparison. (What I or anyone "likes" can be anything. What is truer to the source can be revealed with direct comparison with a reference.)

In my opinion, a scientific observation must be *very* careful not to alter that which is being observed, lest the validity of the science be polluted.

Of course, folks can do whatever they want. It is just my opinion but I would personally dismiss any observation that even in the slightest way, altered what is being observed. As I mentioned in an earlier post, if we pour different paints into the cans, we aren't looking at the original colors anymore.

***
When I listen to the 24/192 originals, I hear what I heard at the sessions.
When I switch to the 24/96, the sound changes from what I heard to something "very good" (which is exactly what I find wrong with it). It sounds like a very good digital recording rather than like the event itself. Some focus and fine detail just goes away. The "air" is less evident.
When I switch to the 16/44 it is like someone shut off some of the lights in the auditorium, placed soft absorbent material on the walls, replaced the instruments and amps with cheaper versions of themselves and sucked a good bit of the air out of the room.

Comparisons are aided with a program like Peak, which allows all the files to be opened and once playback begins, virtually instant switching between them, while the program has the D-A converters switch sample rate automatically to follow. Switching feels instant and seamless, making it really easy to hear the differences between the files. (Provided of course, the converters, the monitoring and the listener are up for it. ;-})

***
I think the reason more recording folks haven't experimented with the higher resolutions is simply that when one needs dozens and dozens of tracks for the multitrack, most systems will choke at anything higher than 24/44.

Also, as I mentioned earlier, I've found that a good many converters spec'd for 4x rates (176.4k and 192k) actually sound *worse* at those rates than they do at lower rates. It is easier to claim a certain performance than to actually deliver it -- the spec sheet won't reveal this difference.

All that said, there *are* some systems that can do 4x rates but they're not the ones in most studios. I've known someone who has stacked several Metric Halo ULN-8s to get 64 tracks at 24/192. Still, for many folks, that isn't enough tracks.
Since I record direct to stereo, the ULN-8 delivers stellar results.

Best regards,
Barry
Soundkeeper Recordings
The Soundkeeper | Audio, Music, Recording, Playback
Barry Diament Audio
Old 1st April 2014
  #2028
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
But you're proving my point. Look at professional studios or professional records being made.

Are they mostly being made at 192kHz?

If not, why?

Why is anyone still making records at 44.1kHz?

BTW - I lived and worked in NYC and you're correct. NYC does have some of the best public water. Although it changed from building to building.

I still don't drink tap water.
2 things:

1) The further downtown you are the worse the water tastes, this is because they pull a certain portion below 59th st from the CPW reservoir (YIKES) and then more dwell time in pipes of unknown condition.

2) Is the investment required to transition to 192 the reason there is such a vocal pushback to this "new" technology?
Old 1st April 2014
  #2029
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
IMO it will be interesting to actually hear Pono before determining it's quality.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
But that's not the point.

No one is debating whether the Pono sounds better. It might sound fantastic.

The hype surrounding it is that it sounds incredible…

because

it's using higher resolution files.

That point can be debated without the Pono unit. No?
Well the anecdotal reports from listeners are that Pono sounds very good, so from my perspective it will be interesting to hear Pono before determining it's quality. That's my opinion.
Old 1st April 2014
  #2030
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdiament View Post
When I listen to the 24/192 originals, I hear what I heard at the sessions.
When I switch to the 24/96, the sound changes from what I heard to something "very good" (which is exactly what I find wrong with it). It sounds like a very good digital recording rather than like the event itself. Some focus and fine detail just goes away. The "air" is less evident.
When I switch to the 16/44 it is like someone shut off some of the lights in the auditorium, placed soft absorbent material on the walls, replaced the instruments and amps with cheaper versions of themselves and sucked a good bit of the air out of the room.
Soundkeeper Recordings
The Soundkeeper | Audio, Music, Recording, Playback
Barry Diament Audio
Hi Barry, so you are saying if you split your stereo mic feed and ran the same performance to two identical systems, one running at 24/192 and the other at 24/96, you could consistently pick the 24/192 over the 24/96 in a double blind test?
Old 1st April 2014
  #2031
Nrt
Lives for gear
 

What killed the music industry is not mp3 but CD. All digital media have the same digital quality even DSD, which is much less attractive than vinyl. This thing will not change anything, unfortunately...
Old 1st April 2014
  #2032
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O.F.F.'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nrt View Post
What killed the music industry is not mp3 but CD. All digital media have the same digital quality even DSS, which is much less attractive than vinyl. This thing will not change anything, unfortunately...
By 'digital quality' you mean being virtually transparent, lacking the added distortion and high frequency roll off?

Btw Practically everything on vinyl goes through a digital delay during the cutting process.
Old 1st April 2014
  #2033
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bogosort's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdiament View Post
When I listen to the 24/192 originals, I hear what I heard at the sessions.
When I switch to the 24/96, the sound changes from what I heard to something "very good" (which is exactly what I find wrong with it). It sounds like a very good digital recording rather than like the event itself. Some focus and fine detail just goes away. The "air" is less evident.
When I switch to the 16/44 it is like someone shut off some of the lights in the auditorium, placed soft absorbent material on the walls, replaced the instruments and amps with cheaper versions of themselves and sucked a good bit of the air out of the room.
You claim there is a massive difference in sound, but what do you think could account for such differences? As I understand it, the performance was captured at 192 kHz (though much more likely it was captured internally with a MHz rate and decimated/filtered to 192). Then you applied SRC to get to 96, and again to 44.1. Which SRC did you use?

Assuming that the SRC was perfect and created no audible artifacts, the only difference between the three signals would be the bandwidth of each (and dynamic range in the 44.1 signal). What other differences could there be? If the only difference is bandwidth, and if the bandwidth of the 44.1 signal corresponds to the bandwidth of human hearing, then it seems like you're forced to conclude that ultrasonic information is essential to the recording process. In other words, the reason that the 44.1 signal sounds like a cheap, dampened version of itself is because it is lacking the ultrasonic content that the other two signals have.

Perhaps one could argue that the problem is the missing 8 bits of dynamic range, but according to you the 96k version sounds notably inferior to the 192k version, and they both have the same DR. Therefore we must conclude that the extra ultrasonic energy in the 192k file is responsible for its fidelity to the source.

Is this your train of thought? Do you believe that the 48 to 96 kHz range of ultrasonic energy is a critical factor in audio fidelity? Or is there another explanation?
Old 1st April 2014
  #2034
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nrt View Post
What killed the music industry is not mp3 but CD...
I totally agree but to me the problem is the packaging far more than the sound. Reading the jacket while you listen was a whole bunch of the experience. People really need to let go of their convenient and portable music concepts. It's great for fashionable background music but those aren't listeners who care about audio quality or even about getting out their wallets to buy music.
Old 1st April 2014
  #2035
Nrt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O.F.F. View Post
By 'digital quality' you mean being virtually transparent, lacking the added distortion and high frequency roll off?
Maybe. A recent scientific research that performed a blind test between CD and Vinyl tells that the ordinary people (non musicians) prefer the sound of vinyl by far, for unknown reasons...
Old 1st April 2014
  #2036
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bogosort's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
I totally agree but to me the problem is the packaging far more than the sound. Reading the jacket while you listen was a whole bunch of the experience. People really need to let go of their convenient and portable music concepts. It's great for fashionable background music but those aren't listeners who care about audio quality or even about getting out their wallets to buy music.
CD didn't usher in the portable/disposable era of music; cassette did. When I was a kid in the 80s I had a modest record collection (maybe 40 albums), but I had hundreds of those blasted cassettes. And so did all my friends, because cassettes worked in the car and in the Walkman and they were cheap.

As for packaging, do you remember how poorly those things were packaged? Many (most?) didn't even have liner notes -- just the outside picture and a song list. (And the ridiculously bad sound quality goes without saying.)

If I gave you the choice between one physical delivery format: cassette tape or CD, which would you choose?
Old 1st April 2014
  #2037
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bogosort's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nrt View Post
Maybe. A recent scientific research that performed a blind test between CD and Vinyl tells that the ordinary people (non musicians) prefer the sound of vinyl by far, for unknown reasons...
Which research was this? Blind-testing vinyl against other formats is actually pretty difficult because of vinyl's unique physical properties. But I'd be shocked if someone could ABX a vinyl feed against a vinyl feed through an AD/DA pass if it were properly done.
Old 1st April 2014
  #2038
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paul brown's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
(And the ridiculously bad sound quality goes without saying.)
i remember the discussions about what cassette sounded better. was it TDK, Maxell, Sony, etc. what about metal or chrome? seems like these discussions continue no matter the format!
Old 1st April 2014
  #2039
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkorten View Post

2) Is the investment required to transition to 192 the reason there is such a vocal pushback to this "new" technology?
I already made the investment when I traded in my Pro Tools Mix3 rig for Pro Tools HD.

The only investment now is that my computer might run a bit slower.

If I heard the difference, I would deal with it.
Old 1st April 2014
  #2040
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul brown View Post
i remember the discussions about what cassette sounded better. was it TDK, Maxell, Sony, etc. what about metal or chrome? seems like these discussions continue no matter the format!
So true!
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