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Sounding Off: Is New Gear Better? (Ethan's article on SOS) Condenser Microphones
Old 18th November 2009
  #91
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanDan View Post
Ethan- "A good preamp will have total distortion of 0.01 percent or less. That equates to the sum of all artifacts being 80 dB down or lower. How is that possibly audible?"

DD- That's just playing with numbers. Science has a habit of getting numerical absolutes absolutely wrong. e.g. the 'safe' level of radiation.
Playing the numbers- The ear has a dynamic range in excess of 120dB. I know of no evidence that artifacts 80dB below the absolute maximum are not audible.
I have tons of evidence that artifacts 80 dB down are not audible. Numbers don't like, though sometimes the people who present numbers lie. If you'd like to prove it to yourself, mix a 3.5 KHz tone at -80 with a 100 Hz tone recorded near peak level, then see if you can hear the 3.5 KHz. Pulse the 3.5 KHz on and off to better notice when it starts and stops. When I did that test I heard no 3.5 KHz, though I could just hear it at -60.

Then, if you still need proof, play the audio examples in my Artifact Audibility Report. If you download the irritating noise file, you can mix it in at various levels with your own recordings to see at what levels it can be heard. If you can hear it at -60 in the presence of typical pop music playing close to digital zero, I'll be very surprised.

Quote:
The repeated results indicate strongly that the sonic quality of older versions of the same mic are superior.
Again, this is subjective preference which has nothing to do with what I'm talking about.

Quote:
My tests, and the experience and observations of many, however suggest that there are aspects of the sound which we are simply not measuring.
Who is this "we" you speak of? heh

At the urging of microphone maker Andy Simpson, an occasional GS poster, I measured the IM distortion in one of my microphones. It was higher than I expected at around -40 for reasonable SPL levels. Which was why Andy urged me to test mic IMD in the first place. All of this stuff can be measured, but it takes special knowledge and often special gear. So most people never do it. Hell, most people don't know how to assess most specs even if they had them.

Quote:
slew rate, phase coherence, intermodulation distortion? What are they I wonder, and are we even qualified to bandy these terms about?
I'm highly qualified to bandy all of those terms. heh

Quote:
What I am sure of is that the ear and brain combination is incredibly powerful. Beyond words. Perceptible eardrum movements are of the order of a Hydrogen molecule. How do we tell direction, especially vertical? How can we hear desired sound in the presence of much louder unwanted noise? How come we use visual language to describe sound? What the heck does coloured mean? And why do you colonial experiments spell it wrongly?
LOL.

Actually, hearing is fraught with failings. Yes, we can discern some things amazingly well, but at other things our ears are 100 times worse than test gear. Most people can discern a level change of less than 1 dB on midrange heavy noise. But try that at 12 KHz or 45 Hz and let me know how well you do. Same for localizing sound at low frequencies. Our ears suck at some things, especially auditory memory. So I think it's a mistake to extrapolate what ears do well and conclude they are like a fine Swiss watch at everything. They are not!

--Ethan
Old 18th November 2009
  #92
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Tapeworm's Avatar
 

I don't agree with ALL of Ethan's assertions but I do think he makes quite a few valid points.
Old 18th November 2009
  #93
Gear Guru
Well?

I think it is well established the listeners can hear the difference between 16 and 24 Bits.
Science says that they should be indistinguishable. The artifacts are tiny, but inherently connected to the audio, an integral part of it. Ethans suggested tests deliberately put unrelated audio signals together.
Apples and Prams.
That old science is objective line is tired and is never absolutely correct. The earth was once regarded as flat, it is visibly so when viewed in a particular way. Scientests determined 'safe' radiation levels, then change them every decade, when new information becomes available. The subjective view that radiation is scary has been vastly superior information in all instances.

So, my subjects.....
It is a subjective choice to test a only couple of aspects of electronic performance
while choosing to ignore other well known ones.
I suggest that to use simply electronic measurements to assess quality in a device who's job is sonic, is perverse. Dancing about Architecture.
How can anyone say A sounds better than B because one particular set of numbers are higher or lower? Sound Quality, Fidelity, are quite real. Science is clearly inept at assessing them. My simple sonic tests are repeatable. Based on history, you will all agree that one of these files sounds better. Now why is that? Can we put some numbers on it? The worse sounding new one has better numbers in the popular categories. AKG are hardly going to publish the tests which show the new product performs worse!
The manufacturer claims to have faithfully preserved the original qualities of this classic microphone while improving quite a few numbers.
We all are we. Which 451 sounds better?

DD

Last edited by DanDan; 18th November 2009 at 09:26 PM.. Reason: Mo
Old 18th November 2009
  #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanDan View Post
I think it is well established the listeners can hear the difference between 16 and 24 Bits.
Not at all! See this:

The Emperor's New Sample Rate

Quote:
Science says that they should be indistinguishable.
And "science" is yet again proven correct. At least for most types of music recorded at sensible levels.

Quote:
The artifacts are tiny, but inherently connected to the audio, an integral part of it. Ethans suggested tests deliberately put unrelated audio signals together.
Being unrelated increases your ability to hear the added content. But you're welcome to make up any test you like and try it for yourself. Then post a link to the files here with a description of what was mixed in and at what level.

Quote:
The earth was once regarded as flat, it is visibly so when viewed in a particular way.
The beauty of science is that it's self-correcting over time. If you have evidence to the contrary about the audibility of distortion and other artifacts such as truncation distortion and jitter etc, I promise I'll change my mind immediately. But you need to make your case using hard proof. In this case by posting files that illustrate your point. Saying "it is well established" is not the same as proof.

Quote:
How can anyone say A sounds better than B because one particular set of numbers are higher or lower? Sound Quality, Fidelity, are quite real. Science is clearly inept at assessing them. My simple sonic tests are repeatable.
Dan, I don't understand why you repeatedly inject subjective preference into this discussion when that's not what my article addresses. One more time:

All I talked about is sheer fidelity - faithfulness to the original source.

--Ethan
Old 18th November 2009
  #95
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I stopped reading it in the very first paragraph where he compares audio gear with old cellphones and medical cure...

..totally missing the point.

Audio gear is used by artists to make "art". No comparison with
cellphones ffs!

I am not all for vintage or older gear but I have to admit that during the history of audioworld some true masterpieces,worth owning, have been made.

Cheers

Phaidon
Old 18th November 2009
  #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
I have no idea what microphones win a popularity contest these days. Maybe we should do a poll. As if that has any bearing on defining fidelity.
It has a bearing on recording music people find enjoyable, which is far more important than "fidelity".


Quote:
Uh, I think you're giving way too much credit to an SM57! heh

Seriously, what you listed means little in the context of a single microphone close in front of a guitar amp.
I think you're giving far too little credit to microphone design. The directionality, proximity effect, and frequency response are all critical in choosing a good mic. The SM57 sounds great on snare for the sound it does and doesn't capture. Similarly, I prefer an audix i5 on top because it is more directional and blocks more hat.

"Fidelity" is the last thing on my mind there as in other applications, or I'd use a measurement mic. As I imagine would other engineers. In my experience, they generally do not.

Quote:
Again, I can't speak for most engineers, and neither can you. Maybe in the garage band genre a lo-fi sound is preferred. That stuff is not my cup of tea. I do mainly classical and clean sounding pop music.
So only "lo-fi" "Garage band[s]" use, or should use, colored, non-measurement mics? Maybe in your mind, but that is not reflected in reality. The SM57 is, and continues to be one of the most successful mics in country, bluegrass, rock, pop, folk, and other genres.

No survey is required.


Quote:
I never speak for anyone but myself. Again, you can try to change the subject from high fidelity to subjective preference and "musical ideals and objectives," though I don't understand why you keep doing that. I never discuss subjective preference because it's pointless. I'll leave that for fan type magazines. My original SOS article statement about raw fidelity stands, and is easy to prove true.
And in my opinion, that fidelity, in most cases with recorded music, is largely irrelevant.

Subjective sonic preference always reigns supreme.

Underlying your entire article is your clearly given personal bias and preference for clean recording. You have stated as much numerous times on this forum.

So it seems you only consider talking about subjective preference "pointless" when it refers to signal chains you do not enjoy.
Old 18th November 2009
  #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
I think you're confusing "pleasant sounding" with audio fidelity. They're not the same thing! You might like the slight grunge from your MCI recorder. I hated the 16-track MCI I owned back in the late 1970s and early 1980s because every time you bounced the sound became more grainy and had more hiss. If you like that sound I can't disagree! But it's not higher fidelity.

--Ethan
Isn't this where the problem lies? By this definition Vox, Marshalls and Fenders are probaly the worst amps and Peavey the best, but very few people are looking for fidelity/accuracy in gear, they want a pleasing sound and that's where vintage keeps winning.
Old 18th November 2009
  #98
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mobius.media View Post
Underlying your entire article is your clearly given personal bias and preference for clean recording. You have stated as much numerous times on this forum, and I think that's great.
Indeed! But bias is the wrong word. Preference is more like it.

Quote:
So it seems you only consider talking about subjective preference "pointless" when it refers to signal chains you do not enjoy. ie. Those with a little color.
Wherever did you get that idea? I use distortion and aggressive compression all the time:

Gaining an Edge - with Subtle Distortion

--Ethan
Old 18th November 2009
  #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vincentvangogo View Post
By this definition Vox, Marshalls and Fenders are probaly the worst amps and Peavey the best
That might be true if I were arguing that guitar amps should aim to be as clean as possible. Did I say that anywhere?

Quote:
very few people are looking for fidelity/accuracy in gear, they want a pleasing sound and that's where vintage keeps winning.
Very few people? Tell that to Al Schmitt, who makes some of the most beautifully clean recordings ever. Same for Lynn Fuston, and especially for T Bone Burnett's productions of Alison Kraus for example. I have $100 that says John Williams would be mighty pissed if his movie scores were recorded using "attitude" type gear. And so forth.

Maybe this is a generation thing?

--Ethan
Old 18th November 2009
  #100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
That might be true if I were arguing that guitar amps should aim to be as clean as possible. Did I say that anywhere?
Well, Ethan, if your only argument is "new gear can spec cleaner than old", I don't think anyone will find fault with that.

But you article did not just say that. It voiced your personal preference for clean gear and your impression that cleaner generally means better. Don't be surprised if people disagree.
Old 18th November 2009
  #101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanDan View Post
What the heck does coloured mean? And why do you colonial experiments spell it wrongly?

DD
classic, just classic
Old 18th November 2009
  #102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
I have tons of evidence that artifacts 80 dB down are not audible. Numbers don't like, though sometimes the people who present numbers lie. If you'd like to prove it to yourself, mix a 3.5 KHz tone at -80 with a 100 Hz tone recorded near peak level, then see if you can hear the 3.5 KHz. Pulse the 3.5 KHz on and off to better notice when it starts and stops. When I did that test I heard no 3.5 KHz, though I could just hear it at -60.
-80 artifacts are audible if they are compressed and limited substantially.

Compressing >20 dB on elements like vocals happens all the time. Presto. -80 becomes -60.
Old 18th November 2009
  #103
Gear Guru
Nonsense

Ethan that article you linked compares Sample rates. It has no connection whatsoever to my assertion that most of us can hear and prefer 24 Bit over 16 Bit.
Your riposte has no therefore no meaning whatsoever. Prams compared to Bananas.

In your earlier post you claimed that my, and all others who listen, assertion that one of these files sounds better is
quote-
"Again, this is subjective preference which has nothing to do with what I'm talking about. "

So it is you who first introduced the subjective red herring in order to undermine the test I have presented.
There is nothing at all wrong with subjective testing. How would you suggest we test these old vs new devices for sound quality, fidelity, or whatever you want to call it as long as it is sonic performance, not electrical. Can you suggest a test where science will agree with the repeatable human observation? I don't think so, in which case I suggest we respect these carefully done A vs B sonic tests for what they are;- The best we have got.

Furthermore, what are or what were you talking about? Your SOS article is about old is better than new, is it not?

Have you listened to the two audio files?
Do you agree that the old mic sounds better?
Do you have any issue with the test method?
Can you accept that this is one instance where an old version of a microphone is better than the corresponding new one?
Can you take it on trust that in my experience everyone who hears these files comes to the same conclusion?
Do you accept that such repeatability in a carefully done A vs B test elevates the result, Elevates it to the closest thing we have to a proof of sonic superiority.
Can you accept that science, by the numbers, the tech specs. forms the opposite conclusion, i.e. the new one is better?
Can you accept on trust that I have tests of several other species of mic and preamp which show the same contradiction ? i.e. In all cases the scientific specs are superior in the modern device, while the older ones are better in the only sonic test possible.

The ear/brain has the ability to reliably identify sounds with artifacts several orders of magnitude below your elephantine 80dB.
You may remember from my first post.

quoting myself- "I will start with a paradoxical one. On a critical, very hi fi album I mixed to several 2 track recorders simultaneously.
AMS Audifile, Otari 1/4 inch, with and without Dolby SR, Several DATS, and a Sony F1.
There were four involved listeners, a blind test with a second engineer switching.
All preferred the AMS, i.e. a very very early DAW with a green screen. Amazingly everyone could also reliably identify their second choice, a Technics Panasonice DAT."

Now what would the THD on a DAT machine be? 0.0005% perhaps? Frequency response would be within 1dB 20-20, The other machines would be in the same realm. Yet we could repeatedly identify the two preferred machines, one above the other. There is no science yet developed which can accomodate this reality.
Science is a mere adolescent when it comes to sound.

Best Regards, DD

Last edited by DanDan; 18th November 2009 at 11:15 PM.. Reason: More Ninja...!
Old 18th November 2009
  #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post

Maybe this is a generation thing?

--Ethan
I think it's more a style/perspective thing than generational. When I listen to Schoenberg I want pristine clarity, accuracy, to hear the little nuances. I think fidelity is more of a goal with classical music, being faithful to the source. When it comes to Zeppelin just make it sound good.
Old 18th November 2009
  #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanDan View Post
Do you agree that the old mic sounds better?

DD
Dan, I'm curious did you ever do any measurements on these two? I like the old one better. It would interesting to quantify what the differences actually are.

Btw, keep exporting that guiness to us colonial experiments and I will be a happy man.
Old 19th November 2009
  #106
Gear Guru
Measurement

Johnny, no I don't have the necessary Lab to do electrical measurements. I would however trust the manufacturers published specs. You should be able to Google them easily. The old one is not the earliest one. It was a black mint condition 451EB, thus the specs should be valid. The new one is the new one, and ditto. I must admit I took a slightly unfair example. The 84 vs 184 recording is not as spectacularly sad, but it still holds. AKG suggest that the new 451 is a classic reborn, an improved version of the original. However the truth is that the original original is even better again. The first ones had a different diaphragm, perhaps nickel. The good one here is a genuine condenser. The newest one is an electret. Truth is malleable. However my point stands. The versions get worse sounding with time, and the specs, in terms of S/N ratio, Distortion/Headroom, get better.
I have a similar test with three 414's. Exactly the same result. Older=Better sound.
The bizarrest test I have would be the mic pres. One can easily hear the difference between a Millennia and a GML. AND the V78, a 50 year old unit, beats them both sonically. I am harping on about this because I have done the work and am sharing it.
I hope it is of interest to open minds. I know that Ethan deeply appreciates tests above all else, so I am not risking a friendship. Myself, in conjunction with another engineer, did these tests dispassionately, hoping perhaps to shatter the old is better myth. There would be benefits and convenience. However, we, and critically everyone else who has heard these recordings, unfortunately conclude that the myth is valid.
I wonder if we can prove the same with humans eh Ethan?
DD
Old 19th November 2009
  #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post

I agree that most plug-ins are the same or similar. I mainly use the Sonitus plug-ins that come bundled for free with SONAR Producer, and they do everything I want. I also have a few freeware VST plug-ins that do specialized functions not available in the Sonitus suite. To me, the fascination with expensive plug-ins is as silly as the fascination with expensive hardware. Just give me a flexible parametric EQ and a compressor that does with the knob labels say, and I'm happy.

--Ethan
Right.

So it makes way more sense that if someone wants "flavor" in their recordings, they'd be better off buying a hardware preamp or compressor or EQ or whatever, vintage or otherwise, then spending it on plugins...

Not only will hardware retain more of it's value unlike plugins, but it also will remain useable for many many years to come...unlike software, which may become quickly outdated, or need updates...or in the case of things like the UAD cards, become generally unusable and un-supported...

not to mention the sound, which I also believe to be a load of BS (I don't mean the overall sound, which is certainly arguably worse than hardware, especially in regard to "flavor", I mean the general difference between plugins and their emulations and "flavors"...it's all pretty much smoke and mirrors).

Plus, of course, computers themselves...
Old 19th November 2009
  #108
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Personally, I think my sig sums up this whole sorry debate pretty succinctly!
Old 19th November 2009
  #109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camus View Post
Personally, I think my sig sums up this whole sorry debate pretty succinctly!
My favorite sig on this site.
Old 19th November 2009
  #110
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Clips! Ethan.. we want to hear clips!!
Old 19th November 2009
  #111
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I don't care for this article. Typical old school mindset that does not apply to
how many people work today. Also nothing to really back up the statements
Old 19th November 2009
  #112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
That might be true if I were arguing that guitar amps should aim to be as clean as possible.
The problem is the way you imply that audio fidelity should be the priority in recording
equipment when it's VERY evident that for many(most?) of us, it's simple not.
It is in some instances, but far from all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Maybe this is a generation thing?
I think you could be onto something there. Our maintenance tech tells me constantly
how to get a cleaner signal path from the 1974 neve we have because 20 years ago
they had to do everything they could to reduce noise and get a clean path.

We don't have to now. As you have stated. the signal path of most modern equipment
IS cleaner. And guess what, most of us have decided it's now TOO clean for us. So
we wanna blend the old with the new to our taste.

Audio fidelity might be YOUR priority Ethan, making MUSIC is mine.
Old 19th November 2009
  #113
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyc View Post
Dan, I'm curious did you ever do any measurements on these two? I like the old one better. It would interesting to quantify what the differences actually are.

Btw, keep exporting that guiness to us colonial experiments and I will be a happy man.
Old 451's use polystyrene film caps, new ones use mono ceramics. Old U-87's used polystyrene, new ones use mono ceramics. TLM103 and 193 use mono ceramics. KM84's used polystyrene, later moved to polycarbonate film. KM184's use mono ceramic caps.

Old 414EB's used polystyrene film caps, later B versions use polycarbonate film. New models use mono ceramic caps.

Notice a pattern?
Bean counter wins, you lose.

On another note, a great mic preamp will have THD+noise below .001% at +40 db of gain. IMD should be .0002% or 2 parts per million. Noise should be below -135db EIN with a shorted input. It is done here.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 19th November 2009
  #114
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobius.media View Post
-80 artifacts are audible if they are compressed and limited substantially.
Right, but then they're not at -80 anymore. heh

I consider -80 as the threshold where certain types of artifacts become just barely audible. Many distortions are not audible even at -40 dB. More to the point, when you compress a track severely you're aiming for a specific sound and adjusting by ear. At that point the level of artifacts is irrelevant, unless it's something like computer fan in the background where you really do want to keep it at a low level.

--Ethan
Old 19th November 2009
  #115
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Going technically off , I'd like to say that whatever opinion one may have , the discussion
for new paradigms seems healthy and this is what everyone is doing here . Including Ethan and opposers . Congrats to everyone !
;-)

As always , I'm learning a lot with these safe onboard discussions !
Old 19th November 2009
  #116
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanDan View Post
Ethan that article you linked compares Sample rates. It has no connection whatsoever to my assertion that most of us can hear and prefer 24 Bit over 16 Bit.
I suppose I could have explained the link better. What those tests proved is that nobody could hear a difference between high and low sample rates or using 16 versus 24 bits. In this case, "high-res" audio was reduced to 44.1 KHz at 16 bits, and nobody could identify which was which.

Quote:
So it is you who first introduced the subjective red herring in order to undermine the test I have presented.
Well, "undermine" is a strong word, and that was never my intent. I'm talking about accuracy only, and you introduced "sounds more pleasing" which is totally different.

Quote:
There is nothing at all wrong with subjective testing.
For assessing fidelity (only), listening is not as reliable as measuring. But most people don't have the tools or knowledge to measure, so listening is the only choice.

Quote:
How would you suggest we test these old vs new devices for sound quality, fidelity, or whatever you want to call it as long as it is sonic performance, not electrical.
Sonic performance and electrical performance are the same. Refer to my "big four all-encompassing" parameter list:

* Frequency response
* Distortion
* Noise
* Time-based errors

If those four are good electrically, then the sonic fidelity will be good too. Now, if you want to determine what sounds pleasing, that's entirely different and not what I usually discuss in web forums. Some people love the sound of analog tape, and that's fine. The raw fidelity is not as good as modern digital, but that's not the point.

I think this is what gets people's panties in such a bunch. They hate it when I say that a consumer grade sound card has better fidelity than a Studer recorder, so they change the subject to what sounds more pleasing to them, then get pissed when I object. heh

Quote:
Can you suggest a test where science will agree with the repeatable human observation?
It is done all the time! Harmon International is a leader in research tying together what measures well with what sounds good. Look up the work of Sean Olive:

Audio Musings by Sean Olive

Quote:
Have you listened to the two audio files?
Do you agree that the old mic sounds better?
Do you have any issue with the test method?
I admit I haven't listened (yet) because you're talking about subjective preference and I'm talking about raw fidelity. If one microphone sounds "better" (nicer really) than another, the difference can be easily determined. Maybe the one that sounds better is down a few dB in the "harshness" range around 2 to 4 KHz? Whatever the difference, there's no need for magic to explain it, or believing that our ears hear things that can't be measured.

Quote:
The ear/brain has the ability to reliably identify sounds with artifacts several orders of magnitude below your elephantine 80dB.
Sorry, I disagree. Again I urge you to prepare a specific test that injects controlled artifacts at various levels, versus "four of us listened to music recorded onto different mediums."

Quote:
Now what would the THD on a DAT machine be? 0.0005% perhaps? Frequency response would be within 1dB 20-20, The other machines would be in the same realm.
A 1/4 inch open reel has nowhere near the raw fidelity of modern digital. If you heard differences, they could be easily measured and understood. Again, I disagree strongly with this sort of magical view of audio:

Quote:
There is no science yet developed which can accomodate this reality.
Science is a mere adolescent when it comes to sound.
That is simply wrong Dan. An Audio Precision 2700 Analyzer can tell you exactly what's different in each of those recorders, and by how much. Given a suitable test setup, this analyzer can also tell you exactly what's different between your microphone samples.

Have you tried running a basic FFT on those two mic samples? After I submit this post I'll download them and see what I find.

BTW, everyone here needs to know I feel a bit sheepish engaging Dan in this discussion, because Dan is one of the finest recording engineers I know. Far better than I am! That said, I feel on solid ground when it comes to the science aspect of audio.

--Ethan
Old 19th November 2009
  #117
Gear Guru
Bigger Issue

Manufacturers are consistently coming up with new devices and designs which don't sound as good as the old ones. These new designs are generally electronically improved in terms of construction, components, and electronic steady state measurements.
So by the numbers, visibly, and in use, the new ones are better. But they sound worse.
Something is missing from the science in terms of fully describing sonic quality. There is clearly no test which indicates in numbers the deterioration in sound quality between polystyrene and mono ceramic. And there are more spectacular examples:- I can post audio files of a carefully done ABC test. Some preamps, two modern with absolutely impeccable specs by any standard. These are close to the ultimate, distortion at the limits of measuring equipment, flat line frequency response. Look them up. Millennia Media HV3 and a GML. I can assure you that you will hear a difference. We can't measure what it is that makes them sound different. I can include from the same test a V78. This is a valve talkback module with possibly single figure THD. It sounds better to everyone who has listened. It doesn't sound at all 'coloured' and there is no audible distortion. It just sounds clearer, warmer, bigger....
Words are useless, but I repeat, everyone makes the same choice. Is it wise to ignore this?
I may start a new thread on this. I believe the issue is quite a big one. I would like to wave a big red flag at the designers who excel at electronic performance. This performance numbers game is merely self serving and delusional. It is intuitively assumed that better numbers = better sound quality and it just ain't so.
That is an unproven leap of faith, which ignores experimental evidence.
We can hear things way way beyond current measurement techniques.
Heck I can hear Ethan smiling right now.....:-)

Best, DD

Last edited by DanDan; 19th November 2009 at 06:12 PM.. Reason: Always right :-)
Old 19th November 2009
  #118
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanDan View Post
There is clearly no test which indicates in numbers the deterioration in sound quality between polystyrene and mono ceramic.
LOL, again that's just wrong. Dan, have you ever actually researched any of this stuff?

Quote:
Heck I can hear Ethan smiling right now.....:-)
No ****. heh

Okay, attached is an FFT showing the very large difference in frequency response between your two old vs. new clips. So there's the explanation that you were so certain "science" can't explain.

Clearly, the newer 451 has a more extended high end. So roll off some of that to taste. Problem solved. No magic. Science wins once again.

--Ethan
Attached Thumbnails
Sounding Off: Is New Gear Better? (Ethan's article on SOS)-dan-mics.gif  
Old 19th November 2009
  #119
Gear Guru
Missing the point

These two mics were chosen for the most obvious difference, MP3 and so on. Your puny FFT won't show a difference between a Millennia and a GML!
Clearly science can explain why one mic sounds different i.e. different type of capsule or frequency response. However that is entirely missing the point. Why does the new one sound worse? Why make that choice, and why is it almost universal across the manufacturers? Why did AKG chose to bring out an inferior sounding product? Ditto why did Neumann come out with a worse sounding 84? Why is the M149 not better than a U47?
Surely it can't be simply money. When someone comes out with a great product we will pay. Brauner, DPA etc. I can only conclude that they are deluded by the numerical improvements in the tests which do NOT equate to experienced sound quality. They all actually think these things are better, just because the numbers say so, and they are wrong. We will improve measurement methods and find new paradigms in the future. In fact I have them here already......
It is widely accepted that 24 Bits are indistinguishable from 20 or so, and both sound better than 16. The artifacts in question are tiny, way below 80dB. Furthermore science would have us believe that if both are properly implemented they will be indentical. They are not.
The Sample rate issue is a red herring. It is widely believed that the raw difference between rates in inaudible. Conversely science would have us believe that 88/96/192 is better. Without the overall context of upsampled plug ins and other in-use details, it simply is not better, merely inaudible.
Research? Ethan are my tests not research? Are you speaking of reading and citing electronic tests, a self serving delusional activity which completely avoids listening tests? Do you not see the fallacy in assuming that these tests have it completely covered, when even a rudimentary sonic test gives a consistently opposite result?
That is incomplete science, the only kind by the way.

DD

Last edited by DanDan; 19th November 2009 at 06:38 PM.. Reason: He's a witch.....cats
Old 19th November 2009
  #120
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
I think this is what gets people's panties in such a bunch. They hate it when I say that a consumer grade sound card has better fidelity than a Studer recorder, so they change the subject to what sounds more pleasing to them, then get pissed when I object. heh
When you speak of fidelity, you speak of what sounds pleasing to you. As before, your article and posts are rife with your personal preferences for this kind of sound. If you can inject into these discussions your definition of what sounds "pleasing" to you, others should be able to do the same without objection. Otherwise it's just hypocrisy.

What gets my panties in a bunch is the implication by the above behavior that your preferences are somehow more correct or important than others. Additionally, I find quarrel with your constant, repeated statements of personal opinion worded as objective fact.

Otherwise, I think you're entirely entitled to your opinion and it's great you're so eager to voice it, here and elsewhere.
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