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Launch of Pono Studio Headphones
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2191
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nuthinupmysleeve's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by j_j View Post
What do you want to measure? Picking some arbitrary filtering algorithm is more testing the filter design and implementation than anything else.

It says nothing, per se, about sampling rate.
The idea is not to test sample rate. The idea is to test whether one can hear the absence of audio above the threshold. Adding the testing of sample rates adds an additional variable.

What would be nice is if someone like you with your knowledge would suggest a freeware plugin filter that you recommend as a good one.

The idea is to test two files that are 96/24, one without editing, one with frequencies above say 22k removed. This is purely a test of our ability to hear higher frequencies.

What would be a good free plugin to use for this test? Or are there no good free plugins to your knowledge? How about the built in filter in Audacity? Or Waves Q1?
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2192
j_j
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthinupmysleeve View Post
The idea is not to test sample rate. The idea is to test whether one can hear the absence of audio above the threshold. Adding the testing of sample rates adds an additional variable.

What would be nice is if someone like you with your knowledge would suggest a freeware plugin filter that you recommend as a good one.

The idea is to test two files that are 96/24, one without editing, one with frequencies above say 22k removed. This is purely a test of our ability to hear higher frequencies.

What would be a good free plugin to use for this test? Or are there no good free plugins to your knowledge? How about the built in filter in Audacity? Or Waves Q1?
I use octave because I know what it uses for the arithmetic.

I don't have any of the stuff that costs money, I'm retired, and mostly when I'm working (as in loudness modeling, etc) the stuff out there isn't what I need anyhow.

I did put up the file above a few articles to use for testing filters. It's got nothing to speak of outside of 50 to 20,000Hz at 96k. A good filter should barely change it at all.
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2193
j_j
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthinupmysleeve View Post
Seriously, I apologize if it came off that way... it was meant to be funny.

I know it's difficult to convey humor on a board like this, but I thought that was kinda funny...
Sorry...

I can understand it was intended as humor. The problem is that satire is, nowadays, hard to distinguish from reality, as it were.
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2194
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j_j View Post
...
There are dithering issues, but even Stanley agrees that they are at fairly low levels.
Yeah, I admit to being provocative. It's a character flaw, a reaction to comments on the supposed superiority of DSD (presumably, over "high resolution" PCM.) I recall Bruno Putzeys putting DSD into context over 10 years ago. For example:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno Putzeys
... When sony came up with DSD as an archiving system there was hardly even 96kHz PCM around. If at that time they had some old tapes to archive before they fell apart, DSD was the best available. However, since DSD is a liability in terms of processability, archiving to DSD now is no longer a good idea and use of 192/24 is warranted instead. Since SACD is probably here to stay we should view DSD as strictly a release format, in the same way as we didn't produce on vinyl, but music was brought to the home on it. ...
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2195
j_j
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthinupmysleeve View Post
The idea is to test two files that are 96/24, one without editing, one with frequencies above say 22k removed. This is purely a test of our ability to hear higher frequencies.
Yes, I understood that. There is still a moderate issue with filter pre-echo that might (although nobody's proven it) be audible due to nonlinear effects in the ear, maybe, potentially, on the hairy edge, with a really steep antialiasing/imaging filter.

But at 96k? I doubt it. Thing is, it will matter for kids and dogs (no, that's not a joke) until you get up into the 30k region, but most of us have had our skull and ear canals finish growing.
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2196
j_j
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Hills View Post
Yeah, I admit to being provocative. It's a character flaw, a reaction to comments on the supposed superiority of DSD (presumably, over "high resolution" PCM.) I recall Bruno Putzeys putting DSD into context over 10 years ago. For example:
Yep. I am semi-convinced that DSD/SACD were developed for the purpose of making capture and processing impossible, myself.
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2197
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nuthinupmysleeve's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by j_j View Post
Yes, I understood that. There is still a moderate issue with filter pre-echo that might (although nobody's proven it) be audible due to nonlinear effects in the ear, maybe, potentially, on the hairy edge, with a really steep antialiasing/imaging filter.

But at 96k? I doubt it. Thing is, it will matter for kids and dogs (no, that's not a joke) until you get up into the 30k region, but most of us have had our skull and ear canals finish growing.
I'm with you, I doubt if anyone can hear the difference, and that's indeed why I want to come up with an effective simple test that does't have additional artifacts.

Maybe I'll try again with the waves filter.
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2198
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthinupmysleeve View Post
... The idea is to test two files that are 96/24, one without editing, one with frequencies above say 22k removed. This is purely a test of our ability to hear higher frequencies. ...
It's as much a test of your audio system as it is a test of your hearing. How do you propose to control for equipment variables? For example, if you hear a difference, how can you rule out intermodulation distortion in the electronics or transducers?
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2199
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Well, I find the technical explanations of why the technology would deliver audibly superior sound to contemporary multi-bit oversampling converters to be not persuasive.
I don't look for specs to tell me what sounds better. There are 100 dollar microphones that spec out better than U47's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
And the golden ear contingent has always seemed divided on the format.
Really? Are there people that hear both and think PCM sounds better than DSD?



Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
You know, I used to be able to say that I'd compared SACD (DSD) to CD on a ~$40K stereo and heard no significant difference... but we did a little digging and realized the SACD in question was actually just repackaged CD audio.
So then you've never really compared proper DSD?

Let me give you some correct samples that I have to compare the CD to the SACD:

'Dark Side of the Moon'
'52nd Street'
'Kind of Blue'
'Brand New Day'
'Abraxas'
'Let it Bleed'

You won't need a 40k stereo to tell the difference. Any decent speakers or headphones make it so obvious it's ridiculous.
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2200
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by paul brown View Post
and repeated the same process this time cutting off everything above 22190 Hz.
What is the Q of whatever filter was cutting it off?
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2201
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Hills View Post
On your first point, there has been at least one paper pointing out why DSD is technically flawed at its heart.
Oh good, a paper showing it technically flawed. Ok.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Hills View Post
On your second point, Neil has made much of the fact Pono want to bring you "the original master", or as close as possible to it.
DSD captures and reproduces and source better than any PCM format. Whatever the original master is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Hills View Post
In the overwhelming majority of releases, especially historical, they are in PCM format.
The overwhelming majority of releases, the master historically tape. PCM masters became more common at the end of the 80's and beyond, don't know what the mix is now. But taking a DSD sample of whatever it is will bring you closer to hearing it direct from that master than a (or another) PCM step.
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2202
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paul brown's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by j_j View Post
Well, my experience on this board has been, um, interesting.

I'm sorry if the octave script isn't helping you, but it's the most concise way to describe a solution.

As to testing your setup, since I can see how to post a .wav now, I will put up a signal you can use to test your filter when I get time to make it. (sorry, reality also calls)

ETA: Octave is free. Getting it, the signal processing and audio packages (also free) and just playing with it, is, by the way, a good way to learn things. You could also probably model spreading of California poppy in a seattle garden (but that's easy, it just takes over if you don't resort to chemical warfare...) too.
thank you for the help as well as the file to test the filter. much appreciated. i'll go away now and learn some more about what you have pointed out to me. watch out for those chemicals!
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2203
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
... The overwhelming majority of releases, the master historically tape. PCM masters became more common at the end of the 80's and beyond, don't know what the mix is now. But taking a DSD sample of whatever it is will bring you closer to hearing it direct from that master than a (or another) PCM step.
... and most of the tape masters with any significant sales potential have long been converted to PCM. I doubt Pono are going to pay for another transfer from tape to digital for thousands of releases. The point is that Pono say they'll source the current masters, and that means PCM in almost all cases. I'd much rather have the current master than a DSD copy of it, especially if it happens to be 24/96 or better.

One thing I haven't seen discussed is how they will handle cases where the master is DSD...
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2204
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UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Anything else is digital magical thinking. Leaving the audio up near the sample rate where it was captured rather than letting the converter chip down-sample it on the fly simply seems to preserve it better.
Thanks for so promptly demonstrating digital magical thinking right after you introduce the concept.

Not to mention that the audio is actually capture with a sampling rate in the Mhz range...

Alistair
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2205
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
samples that I have to compare the CD to the SACD:
Most of those albums were recorded over 40 years ago.

So any differences you are hearing must be as a result of different mixes and/or mastering. What detail could possibly be added by simply upsampling to DSD as opposed to PCM?

If Pono leads to better quality mixes and mastering becoming more widely available then all power to them. Simply upsampling the existing masters (again) is only going to fool some of the people some of the time.
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2206
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldDumsfeld View Post
Most of those albums were recorded over 40 years ago.
True.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldDumsfeld View Post
So any differences you are hearing must be as a result of different mixes and/or mastering.
No, same mix, same mastering. Transferred from the original master tapes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldDumsfeld View Post
What detail could possibly be added by simply upsampling to DSD as opposed to PCM?
There is no detail being added. The comparison is about what is lost with whatever method is used to store and replay what was taken from the master.
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2207
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
I don't look for specs to tell me what sounds better. There are 100 dollar microphones that spec out better than U47's.
And probably 100 dollar microphones that in some situations sounds better than a U47 as well.

Quote:
Really? Are there people that hear both and think PCM sounds better than DSD?
I was excited (and young and ignorant) when SACD/DSD came. I bought a player and a bunch of records. Yep, SACD sounded better, often really fenomenal actually. Some time passed by and I grew older and wiser and realized that maybe, just maybe the actual content on the SACD was different than the CD's. Not talking about bandwith or dynamic range but actual different products/masters.

I looped the SACD output via a PCM AD/DA and for sure, the SACD still sounded fenomenal. As a matter of fact the sound was identical to me directly from the SACD and compared to the loop.





Quote:
Let me give you some correct samples that I have to compare the CD to the SACD:

'Dark Side of the Moon'
'52nd Street'
'Kind of Blue'
'Brand New Day'
'Abraxas'
'Let it Bleed'

You won't need a 40k stereo to tell the difference. Any decent speakers or headphones make it so obvious it's ridiculous.
Have you made an analysis of the CD and SACD version and concluded that the dynamic range and the spectrum is the same? And after that, level calibrated to better than 0.1dB during you listening tests?

There are people entertaining themself with doing just what I describe above. Checking the content of various releases of CD, vinyl and other formats. Don't be surprised if you find crest factors differing more than 3-6dB and different spectral balance as well. Of course people will hear that, but it has nothing to do with ultra sound or the dynamic range of the format itself.

/Peter
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2208
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
No, same mix, same mastering. Transferred from the original master tapes.
Were you present in the studio during transfer from master tapes to the CD and SACD versions of all six albums you mentioned?


/Peter
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2209
Gear Maniac
 

I'm a scientist by training, an engineer by trade and a skeptic by nature.

With all due respect. I don't believe you. It's an incredible claim. Sorry.
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2210
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
True.

No, same mix, same mastering. Transferred from the original master tapes.

There is no detail being added. The comparison is about what is lost with whatever method is used to store and replay what was taken from the master.
Good luck "Sounds Great".

This discussion has led me to the conclusion that there is a bimodal distribution of hearing capability in our population. Those that can hear beyond 7-8khz and those that can't. No amount of discussion will satisfy the engineers who can't hear because they can always point to the fact that "the first harmonic of x lies above 20kHz which you can't hear" and therefore there is no point of using a higher sample rate.

As an anecdote I was posting some piano samples and came up on the size limitation for GS and somebody suggested I use the highest bit rate mp3 conversion as "there is no difference". Well immediately even on my computer speakers I heard the room sound completely differerent.

So - don't get invested in this discussion. You will waste your time.

What we really need here is a standardized test we can all take which will reveal the extent of our high frequency hearing ability, then exclude from the discussion those people who can't hear up into the low teens (at least).
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2211
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paul brown's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkorten View Post
What we really need here is a standardized test we can all take which will reveal the extent of our high frequency hearing ability, then exclude from the discussion those people who can't hear up into the low teens (at least).
what would be more useful would be two files from original 192/24 recording, one at 192 and one at 44.1 done with the most accurate filtering possible, loaded into an ABX tester and a screenshot capture of the results. 1000 participants, resulting in 0.032 margin of error, and we could come to some conclusions.
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2212
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matyas's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkorten View Post
What we really need here is a standardized test we can all take which will reveal the extent of our high frequency hearing ability, then exclude from the discussion those people who can't hear up into the low teens (at least).
That might be an interesting and useful exercise, but the ears are only part of the equation. Converter performance, room, program material, familiarity with aforementioned program material, etc., are all factors.

My non-technical wife can reliably and blindly tell when I switch between the Redbook and SACD layers of certain discs. The SACDs in question are Pentatone and Telarc classical DSD productions, in which any PCM processing in the production chain took place at DXD rates. (I think some of the Telarc discs might even be direct to stereo, with mixing happening analog before being committed to hard drive.) I don't think this is because my wife can hear above 22 kHz. It is entirely possible that the converters in my Oppo SACD player handle DSD differently (and, I would argue, more euphonically) than they handle Redbook PCM. It is also possible that the Redbook master is downsampled from the DSD, and what we're hearing is the sound of the conversion algorithm. Or the PCM might have gone through an extra analog stage, or a different mastering process. I have no idea.

What I can say is that with familiar material, on an extremely familiar system in a familiar room, some SACDs sound noticeably different than the equivalent 16-bit/44.1 kHz PCM recording. I do not claim to extrapolate this to all cases and all individuals. In fact, it might only obtain in the case of DSD-sourced, minimally-processed, wide-bandwidth, wide-dynamic range, classical recordings played on certain converters. And even then, it might only be audible to persons intimately familiar with the material listening on familiar systems.
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2213
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkorten View Post

What we really need here is a standardized test we can all take which will reveal the extent of our high frequency hearing ability, then exclude from the discussion those people who can't hear up into the low teens (at least).
I could hear up to 21.5kHz a couple of years ago so I guess I qualify even though I'm a nay-sayer? :-)


/Peter
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2214
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiop View Post
Were you present in the studio during transfer from master tapes to the CD and SACD versions of all six albums you mentioned?


/Peter

That would be a great argument if we were talking a one of.

However there is a pattern established. Time after time the result is repeated, in at least 20 cases for my own experience. The other fact here is that I also have most of the vinyl releases of these, some of which I have owned and become very familiar with over many decades. The SACD in almost every case sounds identical to the vinyl release other than the added flaws in the vinyl. It certainly appears that they came from the same master. And I know these masters in some of those cases were tape masters because the records were made before digital mastering even existed.

I did find some that were manipulated either in further mastering, or downright changes in the mix, most obvious SACD's that come to mind are Frampton Comes Alive', and Boston, 'Boston'. They sound horrible.
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2215
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiop View Post
I could hear up to 21.5kHz a couple of years ago so I guess I qualify even though I'm a nay-sayer? :-)
There is more than the limits of hearing range in play here. It is also how the brain is interpreting what the ears are sending it.
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2216
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nuthinupmysleeve's Avatar
 

To reiterate... Thg AES did double blind testing over a year back in 2006. Their testing found that nobody they tested could determine the difference between DSD/SACD vs. CD when the source is the same.

That doesn't mean that you cannot tell. It does suggest there might be a whole lot of confirmation bias going around.
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2217
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nuthinupmysleeve's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
There is more than the limits of hearing range in play here. It is also how the brain is interpreting what the ears are sending it.
You are missing the words "might be." While it's possible this hasn't been proven.
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2218
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nuthinupmysleeve's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiop View Post
I could hear up to 21.5kHz a couple of years ago so I guess I qualify even though I'm a nay-sayer? :-)


/Peter
Wow, cool!! My days of heating above 16k are long over...
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2219
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paul brown's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthinupmysleeve View Post

That doesn't mean that you cannot tell. It does suggest there might be a whole lot of confirmation bias going around.
plus a possible whole lot more!
Old 3rd April 2014
  #2220
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
Thanks for so promptly demonstrating digital magical thinking right after you introduce the concept.

Not to mention that the audio is actually capture with a sampling rate in the Mhz range...

Alistair
at which point you're essentially talking about a dsd converter, which has little to do with pcm sample rate.

perpetual moment of doh, continue!
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