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Ethan Winer on... Condenser Microphones
Old 5th September 2008
  #91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
I have no idea. When my friend Grekim and I get together to do a test, we'll use whatever microphones we have between us.

--Ethan
if i showed you the frequency response charts for both microphones would you be able to tell with any degree of certainty?


off topic:
Im not trying to double team you with the thread starter, i just think a lot of what hes asking are honest questions and you have these cheerleaders coming in and slagging him for it, really just so they can be on the "popular side", maybe to gain a little popularity with the forum regulars like yourself. Its sad to watch the sheep mentality.

I work as a firefighter/paramedic for a living and every thing we do has to be documented and checked by people above and below us. we have a medical director that ok's many of the decisions we make just to protect us in court. If im with a patient and i think medication X is suitable for pre hospital care i have to document every detail of the treatment, Anyone who does this job eventually spends time in a court room getting cross examined because an angry family member thinks negligence played a part in the death of their loved one, so we have lawyers ripping apart every single detail in our paperwork from the scene. We constantly have to explain ourselves and i dont see why thats such a big deal on these forums, its how the real world works.

Besides, based on the last few pages you obviously dont need help defending your own arguments.
Old 5th September 2008
  #92
Harmless Wacko
 

Ethan for Emperor.

Skip the quality gear, it's all expectation bias.

Don't try that with the acoustical treatment. Far too dangerous.

Clothing line is imminent, but not necessarily visible.

SM.
Old 5th September 2008
  #93
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There is absolutely NOTHING "Rock-n-Roll" about 'measure this and measure that' and 'show me the proof in measurements or I'll proclaim you full of ****e' BS. A person can't have an honest opinion about how something sounds without having to fecking prove it? BS

And I know there's always a disclaimer in the middle of these stupid threads at points like this (and this is a ridiculous thread because you can't win with "certain people") but the disclaimer is always something like "I'm not saying people can't have an opinion, but if they're going to make a claim I SAY they have to back it up with clear proof - blah blah blah!" OH, BS. Screw proof! Who's got time to prove crap when you're busy hit the Record button and tracking tunes, right?
Old 6th September 2008
  #94
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Ethan is the James Randi of this forum. thumbsup

Too many people blindly believe the manufacturing hype and the word of so called experts without having any scientific facts to back it up. Then they make absolute statements like such and such high-end converters are (musical, vibey, danceable) while claiming other low-end ones sound like absolute crap and are unusable. I don't see any difference between these people and the audiophiles that believe $7000 cables are the key to getting good sound.
Old 6th September 2008
  #95
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scientific gurly men




juuuust kidding just kidding
Old 6th September 2008
  #96
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ADATs spec better than any 2" 8-track. Mackie preamps spec as good as anything out there money can buy. End of argument.
Old 6th September 2008
  #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Agreed again, but nonlinearity does show up with distortion measurements.
Yes, but only if you do an enormous number of distortion measurements of different kinds and under all kinds of input loads. Frequency response curves are naive in the extreme: they present the gear with a single frequency at a single amplitude at a time! That input could not possibly be more unrealistic.

The same is true of total harmonic distortion: it is ordinarily calculated by feeding pure sine waves into a circuit.

You seem to suggest that the burden is on everyone else to show that these measurements reflect faithfully what happens when the gear is given a complicated signal with lots of transients. Anyone who has worked on circuitry knows that realistic loads behave very differently from artificial test loads. As a simple example, the demands on the power supply -- which is critical to the distortion-free operation of an amplifier -- are orders of magnitude greater when there are transients in the input than when there are none. This is for the simple reason that the power supply must cough up huge amounts of current instantly in response to a transient. Circuits (and components) have impedance, and they are reluctant to cough up current in this way. Both frequency response and total harmonic distortion measurements fail to properly account for this effect. But this is just one source of (real-life) distortion among many. The sources of distortion are always surprising and are easily missed by measurements that happen not to touch on the case where the distortion arises -- that, and not something to do with gigahertz frequencies -- was the point of my anecdote about wire and cables.

-synthoid
Old 6th September 2008
  #98
11413
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
For example, an SM58 will never sound like a Neumann U87 because the latter has a response well past 20 KHz where an SM58 cuts off pretty sharply after 10 KHz:
ethan has a severe case of not seeing the forest for the trees.

shure sm58 is a dynamic mic.
neumann U87 is a large diaphragm condenser.

EQ cannot compensate for anything in the time domain.

large diaphragm condensers & dynamic mics have different response curves over time.. to say nothing of the off axis response variations.

i think the real problem here is semantics... and i suggest he start rephrasing this wild claims in english-prime.

if you break down what he's saying and really look at it.. most ppl just dislike the tone of "omnipotent truth" he spews.

E-prime. or hyperbole & hubris.
Old 6th September 2008
  #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
What point are you trying to make with my quote in your sig?
Well, (at least the way I understood your statement) considering all the time and money I'm spending on better microphones while the main problem seems to be in my ears, it's certainly something that stops you to think for a while. But if it really offends you, I'll change it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Because it happens mostly at high SPL levels. At lower levels ears are much more linear.
Ah, now we're getting somewhere! If that's what you are talking about I'm with you. So there's hope for this pair of ears in evaluating microphone distortion after all, as long as I stay within reasonable SPL's?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
If you have access to a glockenspiel (orchestra bells) play a minor third or major second somewhere in the top octave very loudly. That low frequency you hear is IM products generated inside your ear.
Yes, excellent example, know what you are talking about! You can hear it with a couple of sopranos too I think.

Thank you for taking the time to discuss these matters, as I said I find it very rewarding talking to you!

Martin
Old 6th September 2008
  #100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
The big difference we all hear in gear is mainly frequency response IMO.
Yes, I agree that the top two layers are freq response and level. These affect us the most. But IMO there's are more layers underneath.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Yes, and John Roberts mentioned earlier microphone termination impedance. That does change the sound, but it's mainly an LF shelving change. This too is something I see people pay handsomely for, when they could achieve exactly the same effect with the EQ they already own.
How about when a frequency bump in the response is created by a resonant filter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Once you understand that those four parameters - and their subsets - define everything that matters with audio, the rest is downhill.
Yes, no doubt you are absolutely right as far as this, but where can we find a complete list of all the parameters including subsets, and can we cover enough of these to render our ears useless if needed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Who cares what form the distortion is if the sum of all distortion is 80 or 100 dB or even more below the signal? Either way it's inaudible.
Personally I care a lot about especially crossover distortion, even at low levels, so the form is important. Also, some distortion introduced by mediocre digital audio equipment (converters) seems to be detectable even at surprisingly low levels.

Martin
Old 6th September 2008
  #101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonCarlston View Post
if i showed you the frequency response charts for both microphones would you be able to tell with any degree of certainty?
That would help, but a frequency response chart may or may not be averaged, and you'd also need to show a polar plot for the entire story. In a non-dead room, reflected sound arriving from elsewhere in the room affects what is captured by a microphone, yet doesn't show in a typical published on-axis response graph.

Quote:
i just think a lot of what hes asking are honest questions
Honest questions are always welcome. The problem is I haven't seen many actual questions.

I've suggested this in other forums when name-calling and random pot shots replaced an honest discussion. So let's do that here. Ask one question, or several questions, and I'll do my best to answer. But you have to be willing to hold others to the same standards. Many points I've made, and questions I've asked, have been ignored.

Quote:
I work as a firefighter/paramedic for a living and every thing we do has to be documented and checked by people above and below us. we have a medical director that ok's many of the decisions we make just to protect us in court.
I agree with that approach which, BTW, is my approach here. I take nothing on anyone's say-so, and neither should you. But you have to understand the difference between fact and opinion. Saying that preamp A sounds better than preamp B is an opinion. Showing a preamp's noise and distortion and frequency response are facts. Can you see the distinction?

--Ethan
Old 6th September 2008
  #102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwl View Post
As much as some of the audiophile snake oil annoys the heck out of me, at the end of the day I have to agree that, if it improves your listening experience, then it's valid.
Sure, but with one important caveat: It's not usually possible to sway someone who is convinced their expensive cables sound better than inexpensive wire that measures exactly the same. So those are not the people I write for. Rather, I'm much more interested in helping people who genuinely want to know if expensive wires are worth buying, before they spend the money.

I may have told you the story about a RealTraps customer who bought a bunch of bass traps for his basement home theater a few years ago. He had all kinds of bass problems in his small room, and a friend was urging him to buy a particular subwoofer cable costing $5,000. After a little research our customer concluded that no subwoofer cable could fix boomy sloppy bass, so he came to us instead and spent half as much money. But he made a point of telling me he came very close to buying that $5,000 wire based on his friend's urging and all the hoopla surrounding expensive wires.

--Ethan
Old 6th September 2008
  #103
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synthoid View Post
Yes, but only if you do an enormous number of distortion measurements of different kinds and under all kinds of input loads.
It's nowhere near that difficult. A simple distortion test plays a sine wave into the Device Under Test, then filters out that sine wave at the output. All that is left is the sum of all distortion and noise, regardless of the distortion's makeup.

Quote:
Frequency response curves are naive in the extreme: they present the gear with a single frequency at a single amplitude at a time!
Unless you believe that Fourier was wrong, surely you understand that all audio is simply the sum of a bunch of sine waves. Or use a 20 Hz square wave as I already mentioned a few posts back.

Quote:
Anyone who has worked on circuitry knows that realistic loads behave very differently from artificial test loads.
Of course, so use realistic loads. End of problem.

Quote:
Circuits (and components) have impedance, and they are reluctant to cough up current in this way. Both frequency response and total harmonic distortion measurements fail to properly account for this effect.
Appropriate test signals are simple to concoct. So use an impulse, or a 20 Hz square wave. Again, this is a non-issue. Further, a null test reveals all, including distortion or other artifacts you may not have thought to measure. So set up your preamp or power amp with a null test, and feed it any signal that floats your boat including highly transient drum tracks or full mixes. All artifacts are then trivial to measure, and express as some number of dB below the signal. Again, end of story, problem solved.

If you still think the above methods are inadequate, please explain why being as detailed as possible.

--Ethan
Old 6th September 2008
  #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 11413 View Post
ethan has a severe case of not seeing the forest for the trees.

shure sm58 is a dynamic mic.
neumann U87 is a large diaphragm condenser.

EQ cannot compensate for anything in the time domain.

large diaphragm condensers & dynamic mics have different response curves over time.. to say nothing of the off axis response variations.
I hope his acoustic treatements work in the time domain - but seeing how he puts a mic into a diffusor and sings into that thing made me chuckle
Old 6th September 2008
  #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Kantola View Post
Yes, excellent example, know what you are talking about! You can hear it with a couple of sopranos too I think. Thank you for taking the time to discuss these matters, as I said I find it very rewarding talking to you!
Thanks Martin. At least you're reading and responding to what I wrote, versus this guy who is happy to accept opinion as fact. Or this guy who didn't bother to read what I actually said and instead responds to what other people claim I said. heh

It amazes me how angry some people get about this stuff, when it seems to me we're all after the same thing - The Truth (tm).

--Ethan
Old 6th September 2008
  #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Kantola View Post
Yes, I agree that the top two layers are freq response and level. These affect us the most. But IMO there's are more layers underneath.
I agree the lower levels are important too, until they're 80 dB or so below the signal. Then they don't matter.

Quote:
How about when a frequency bump in the response is created by a resonant filter?
Yes, that can happen too, though the filter will be pretty simple - only one or two poles. Again, my point is that the effect of a variable input impedance is not complex, and can be achieved using EQ if you know what to aim for.

Quote:
where can we find a complete list of all the parameters including subsets, and can we cover enough of these to render our ears useless if needed?
As John Roberts said earlier, ears are always the final arbiter - but only if you can repeatedly and reliably identify something - and blindly IMO.

--Ethan
Old 6th September 2008
  #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
It amazes me how angry some people get about this stuff, when it seems to me we're all after the same thing - The Truth (tm).

i'm not after truth, i'm after emotional impact, if anybody cares.

i find that the more i trust my gut intuitions, and the less i analyze and parse things, the more effective i am. whether i subscribe to or rely on falsehoods isn't terribly important to me, as long as they get me there and i make something that moves people (including me).


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Old 6th September 2008
  #108
11413
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Or this guy who didn't bother to read what I actually said and instead responds to what other people claim I said. heh
who's angry?

you think a mackie 1202 is straight-wire clean and refuse to take it out of the signal path.. this is hubris of the highest degree.. you think A/D/A converters make no difference at all. you think an AT can be made to sound IDENTICAL to a neumann. not "close enough for govt". not "kind of vaguely similar". you think a dynamic mic can sound like a condenser.

this kind of nonsense should be attacked. tutt

you're contributing to ignorance and stupidity of epic proportions.. and are part of the problem.

stop talking nonsense and i have no problem with you. its not personal at all... you just spend too much time thinking life is a pocket calculator.
Old 6th September 2008
  #109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Kantola View Post



How about when a frequency bump in the response is created by a resonant filter?


Martin
I have some experience with mechanical resonances from my research into drum head (tuning). Simply put a mechanical resonance converts sound energy into simple periodic motion of some mass, than back to sound energy again as that periodic motion decays. In the context of frequency response measurements this could lead to differences between static tone testing and burst testing.

Not to open up the whole can of worms surrounding steady state sine wave testing (music is not continuous for all time with the possible exception of a John Cage piece), but there are differences in the proper execution of any measurement.

Even back in the early days of microphone design they used spark gap transient noise sources to characterize the dynamic behavior of microphones.

I am not smart enough to make a sweeping claim and haven't done the actual measurement my self, but if a microphone suffers from mechanical resonances strong enough to alter it's static frequency response it would also introduce colorations that I would lump together with tape distortion and other non-linearities to either avoid for accuracy or use artistically if subjectively desirable.

JR
Old 6th September 2008
  #110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
For example, an SM58 will never sound like a Neumann U87 because the latter has a response well past 20 KHz where an SM58 cuts off pretty sharply after 10 KHz:
IMO Ethan's barking up the wrong tree here. I imagine that if it were possible see with our eyes (on an EQ chart) what our ears hear, the charts for the 2 mics would be very different.

Let's say the U87 picked up (the detail) of sine waves at hrz 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015, the SM58 maybe only picked to two of the four. You'd never see that on an EQ chart but it's a world of difference to our ears.

Our ears are so complex (not that you all don't know that already), and trying to correct with EQ is like thinking you can retouch photos with 3 colors of paint and a roller.

Working pixcel by pixcel in the audio world doesn't exist (yet)!
Old 6th September 2008
  #111
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post

I agree with that approach which, BTW, is my approach here. I take nothing on anyone's say-so, and neither should you. But you have to understand the difference between fact and opinion. Saying that preamp A sounds better than preamp B is an opinion. Showing a preamp's noise and distortion and frequency response are facts. Can you see the distinction?

--Ethan
I understand that distinction totally. (and from what ive seen the people your arguing with do to) My main point was against most of the people who posted on the first couple pages trying to gangbang martin. As for the technical side of all of this..ill go ahead and step away and let you smart guys figure that out, lol.

If what you say is true it would save a lot of us money, i really cant say for sure either way because i just dont know. I can say that in my limited experience ive heard a pretty big difference when upgrading to better gear, but ive also heard people with gear worth 4x more than my stuff making myspace quality garbage so..


let the battle continue stikestikestike
Old 6th September 2008
  #112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
i'm not after truth, i'm after emotional impact ... whether i subscribe to or rely on falsehoods isn't terribly important to me, as long as they get me there and i make something that moves people (including me).
There's nothing wrong with that! But some people do want to know the truth. Are you opposed to the truth, or just not interested in knowing yourself?

--Ethan
Old 6th September 2008
  #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 11413 View Post
who's angry?
Well, you sound pretty angry!

Quote:
you think A/D/A converters make no difference at all ... you think an AT can be made to sound IDENTICAL to a neumann ... you think a dynamic mic can sound like a condenser
Where did I ever say any of those statement?

Quote:
you're contributing to ignorance and stupidity of epic proportions.. and are part of the problem. stop talking nonsense
Do you have anything of substance to rebut what I actually have said? It's not enough to call someone wrong. To be credible you have to explain why you think I'm wrong. If you can do that I'll gladly change my opinion. But you have to address things I've actually said. heh

--Ethan
Old 6th September 2008
  #114
11413
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
There's nothing wrong with that! But some people do want to know the truth. Are you opposed to the truth, or just not interested in knowing yourself?
i would say that the worst kind of scientist is one who discards as false anything he can't measure... or, MORE IMPORTANTLY, hasn't learned how to measure yet..

it's a flat earth mentality.

sometimes things sound better and you never understand why... but it can be empirically demonstrated to sound better.. you're putting the model before reality.

experience always trumps the model.
Old 6th September 2008
  #115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamwerks View Post
Let's say the U87 picked up (the detail) of sine waves at hrz 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015, the SM58 maybe only picked to two of the four. You'd never see that on an EQ chart
First, no microphones work like that. But even if they did, why do you think that would not show on a frequency response graph?

Quote:
Working pixcel by pixcel in the audio world doesn't exist (yet)!
Actually, it does exist, and has for a long time. What you are describing is FFT analysis, where audio material can be broken down into segments narrower than 1 Hz. This is the basis for high-resolution spectrum analyzers, time-domain room measuring software, and noise reduction programs that "learn" the spectrum of background noise to remove it more effectively than simple noise gates.

--Ethan
Old 6th September 2008
  #116
11413
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Where did I ever say any of those statement?
i see you deleted a few... particularly the one about mackie = straight wire.

we went thru this in an old old thread.. check the archives if you cant remember.. or if they're even still around.. gearslutz has blown up so many times in the past few months i wonder what's left in the archives.

Quote:
Do you have anything of substance to rebut what I actually have said? It's not enough to call someone wrong. To be credible you have to explain why you think I'm wrong. If you can do that I'll gladly change my opinion. But you have to address things I've actually said. heh
i'm not gonna get into it with you. i consider you a bottomless pit of nonsense and a troll.

put something into your monitoring path not made by mackie and we'll talk.

your basic MO is to call ppl deaf liars when they talk about hearing phenomena you can't measure... then you paste a link to expectation bias and scoff...

you're a troll with a pocket calculator.
Old 6th September 2008
  #117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
you are just trying to make things way too simple in a complicated world.
Then please explain specifically what more you think there is. As I just wrote above, it's not enough to say science-minded people like me are wrong. You have to say why we're wrong and also state what is right. Not opinion, but hard evidence. If you do that convincingly, I promise I'll change my position!

Quote:
Would you say that any two different guitar pickups can be made to sound similar with eq?
Probably, though I never tried that so I can't say for certain. It also depends on where the EQ is placed. EQ after the microphone has already captured the sound of an overdriven guitar amp is too late, because the EQ can't affect how the amp responds to being overdriven. Much like the difference between using an EQ before or after a compressor.

Quote:
There is a lot more than frequency response being determined by how they [microphones] convert acoustical sound waves into electrical patterns.
Such as? We already discussed polar response, proximity effect, and distortion. So what else do you think there is?

Quote:
And yes, there is distortion, with all microphones. Not only varying degrees of distortion, but different types.
Agreed fully. I never said otherwise.

Quote:
I think this is the major reason some microphones seem to create a more pleasing sound to the ears than others.
Yes, it is well known that distortion can be pleasing. I already linked to my Sound On Sound magazine article about that. However, I'm not convinced a high-end microphone like a U87 has significant amounts of distortion at practical SPL levels.

Quote:
Call me crazy, but it has a pretty dominating distortion that is actually quite pleasing, yet far from natural.
I doubt a U87 has "dominating" distortion because to me that implies at least 5 percent distortion if not more. (Distortion at 5 percent puts the distortion 26 dB below the signal.) But Neumann does not seem to publish distortion data for the U87 so you could well be correct.

--Ethan
Old 6th September 2008
  #118
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Originally Posted by 11413 View Post
i see you deleted a few... particularly the one about mackie = straight wire.
I have never deleted anything in any of my posts in any forum, not ever. I do sometimes fix typos soon after posting, but I have never deleted anything of substance. Ever.

Quote:
i'm not gonna get into it with you. i consider you a bottomless pit of nonsense and a troll.
Exactly as I knew you'd respond. Lots of anger, but not one point of substance. Look guy, I'm not mad at you for having your beliefs, and I don't consider you a troll for having an opinion. (Though your name calling is immature.) So why are you so damn mad at me? More important, if you can't refute what I say, doesn't that tell you that maybe you should reconsider your own position? Just because you don't understand placebo effect, and expectation bias, and related issues like the value of double blind testing that are well-known and universally accepted, that doesn't make you right. It just means you don't understand them.

--Ethan
Old 6th September 2008
  #119
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
I have never deleted anything in any of my posts in any forum, not ever. I do sometimes fix typos soon after posting, but I have never deleted anything of substance. Ever.



Exactly as I knew you'd respond. Lots of anger, but not one point of substance. Look guy, I'm not mad at you for having your beliefs, and I don't consider you a troll for having an opinion. (Though your name calling is immature.) So why are you so damn mad at me? More important, if you can't refute what I say, doesn't that tell you that maybe you should reconsider your own position? Just because you don't understand placebo effect, and expectation bias, and related issues like the value of double blind testing that are well-known and universally accepted, that doesn't make you right. It just means you don't understand them.
the only way to prove it to you would be to have you experience what i experience... personally demonstrate things to you.. then you might hear and understand.

your blanket dismissals are old.

expectation bias is true in some cases.. and in others ppl are hearing real things.. you paint anything you dont understand (your limitation not mine) with the brush of "placebo".

if i tell you something like: well, once on a $50k wilson/mark levinson system we tested a $2000 AC cable on the cd player... switching to the normal one made a huge difference.. i cant explain why.. it was 100% repeatable.. and it makes no logical sense that an AC cable could alter the sound of a cd player so much.. its crazy to spend $2k on a cable..

your response is always to categorically invalidate my experience, or what i heard in the room.. for someone who was not there in the room, this is complete arrogant idiocy.

it's possible we imagined it... its possible we heard a big difference.. its possible we exaggerate the difference..

its just downright RUDE to say we didnt hear a difference.. its essentially calling people liars.

this is the ethan winer, passive-aggressive "polite" form of arguing...
Old 6th September 2008
  #120
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
First, no microphones work like that. But even if they did, why do you think that would not show on a frequency response graph?
Of course they don't work like that, but for the sake of discussion, I was resuming 2000+ pages of text in 50 caracters

In a lay mans way I'm talking about resolution. Like the difference between say a graph 8 inches long showing the stock market last week, and a graph 30 feet long where you could see all the minute by minute ups and downs (read "detail").

Do you really think that a "detailed graph" of a SM57 looks like athat of a U87? I'd bet that they look very very different!

So all we all really need is a Radio Shack mic and a damn good EQ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Actually, it does exist, and has for a long time. What you are describing is FFT analysis, where audio material can be broken down into segments narrower than 1 Hz. This is the basis for high-resolution spectrum analyzers, time-domain room measuring software, and noise reduction programs that "learn" the spectrum of background noise to remove it more effectively than simple noise gates.
I know it does (thank you very much). I was speaking about EQing. When we use EQ's in music making we don't work at that "pixel by pixel" resolution, which is what we would need to be able to come close to what you seem to be suggesting (and that would only be an approximation).

Last edited by jamwerks; 6th September 2008 at 10:57 PM.. Reason: spelling
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