Can Hi-Res Streaming Improve The Reputation Of Digital Audio?

nilepez

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But what you are saying does not make sense from an electrical point of view. You are saying that there is some quality, that is not quantifiable or measurable, that one piece of electronics can convey, that another piece of electronics can not.

How can electronics convey a signal which they cannot measure or quantify? To me this is like humans trying to explain the 4th dimension. It is impossible for us to express it. Just like people from flatland could never explain out existence. It is fun to fantasize about it though.

Isn't the 4th dimension time?
 

VladDracule

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Oh gee, another article by someone who understands fuck-all about audio. I don't mind that most people don't understand how sampling works, after why should you, but I really mind when you get Luddite that starts hating on digital because they don't understand how it works and think it is somehow inferior.

The simple fact of the matter is that at any given price point digital audio gets you lower noise, lower distortion, better linearity, and yes even greater frequency response if you want it than analogue audio. Of course an even bigger advantage is its ability to be perfectly copied as many times as needed, analogue degrades with each generation.

If you are interested in how digital sampling works and why the "oh it's all cut up" argument is dumb a good starting point isthis video. It gives a pretty good overview of the basics, including showing you the signal on analogue test equipment.


So your saying because you watched the video that has to do with the basics of audio sampling you know that every argument against it is bogus? Guess what, I'm currently working on my Ph.D Dissertation on audio sampling including the lame encoding methodology, my conclusion thus far, it is in fact inferior to even source CD material, but i dont want to bore you with all the complicated details
 

Skripka

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I have moderate to bad hearing damage, and it was obvious (and very unexpected). MP3 cuts some frequencies. Most people can't hear that, but what I heard sounded like a low bit rate MP3 and you don't need great hearing to tell. 'S' sounds and cymbals sound off. There's really no excuse for this when they're essentially broadcasting the signal. Even a 128kbs Vorbis file (possibly 128 mp3) would sound better.

The further you get away from things that sound like the human voice...the worse MP3 does. Which makes sense, as MP3 was engineered to save space when recording and storing human voice recordings. Cymbals get trashed, woodwinds like bassoons really get trashed. Many acoustic instruments don't get hit as bad in texture and sound because they resemble the voice in their sound at some level most of the time.

Things like tube amps and vinyl get a following simply because they add artifacts that make things sound different quasi-randomly. Also, since the 1980s digital recording technology is good enough for mics to pic up the sound of the performer's players banging on the fingerboard which makes for lots of distractions compared to a vinyl record which doesn't have anywhere near the resolution to do that. Vinyl and tube noise are to recording what "camera-noise" is in video games and image processing, a semi-random filter that helps hide things...combined with the high noise floor of a vinyl player and you get a very "warm" sounding recording with lots of spare artifact stuff.


Fun fact...just about all bands use an amp (digital or tube) that then has a microphone right up in front of it that takes the signal to the digital board that then goes to digital amps then to the speakers. Heck sax players use a mic that mounts right inside the bell. The sound you hear on a record or TV or CD or even live is never what it actually sounds like when someone plays those instruments at a baseline standing next to them.
 

nilepez

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So your saying because you watched the video that has to do with the basics of audio sampling you know that every argument against it is bogus? Guess what, I'm currently working on my Ph.D Dissertation on audio sampling including the lame encoding methodology, my conclusion thus far, it is in fact inferior to even source CD material, but i dont want to bore you with all the complicated details

I didn't watch the video, but the person you responded to was discussing digital vs analog. in particular, I think he was referring to CD vs Analog and that if you spend equal amounts on a given system the CD will sound better than a record.
 

Skripka

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I didn't watch the video, but the person you responded to was discussing digital vs analog. in particular, I think he was referring to CD vs Analog and that if you spend equal amounts on a given system the CD will sound better than a record.

Depends entirely on what you definition of "better" is.

If you aren't flustered by needing/wanting high resolution and clarity combined with a very clean noise floor...Most of the great recordings that everyone to this day are judged by are still on vinyl...or were converted from analog to digital.
 

nilepez

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Depends entirely on what you definition of "better" is.

If you aren't flustered by needing/wanting high resolution and clarity combined with a very clean noise floor...Most of the great recordings that everyone to this day are judged by are still on vinyl...or were converted from analog to digital.

And they sound better on CD than they did on vinyl. I've got more copies of Dark Side of the Moon than I'd care to admit and MSFL CD sounds better than the MSFL record.

That said, most double blind tests show that people can't tell the difference between vinyl and a CD (assuming the former is a pristine copy)
 

Skripka

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And they sound better on CD than they did on vinyl. I've got more copies of Dark Side of the Moon than I'd care to admit and MSFL CD sounds better than the MSFL record.

That said, most double blind tests show that people can't tell the difference between vinyl and a CD (assuming the former is a pristine copy)

Depends on your definition of "better". The CD is less fussy, and has probably been post-processed a few times and cleaned up.

Odds are the CD still doesn't sound like what it actually sounded like live back then. Which if you're after the live experience you still aren't getting.

I was working house once and a volunteer wanted help with her duties...she was venue security and her job was to watch orchestra house left front. Basically standing right in front of the speaker stacks for a rock band. This 50-year-old something had never been to a live rock band and had no idea she was going to get her eardrums blasted into oblivion at point blank range. Hell even 200ft away it was loud enough to cause your internal organs to vibrate. We pulled out our smartphones and using the built in vibrometer clocked the concrete slab getting a 3.5 on the Richter scale. She'd heard the group on the radio and CDs at a normal comfortable listening volume-not real life.
 

extide

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There is nothing to fix. Digital audio is FINE, and infact current high-end formats are straight up overkill! 24bit/192khz is WAY overkill. I would say even 24/96 is still overkill but IMHO it's the best choice because it can ~easily be re-sampled to 44.1 and 48, but isn't totally excessive. I mean 24/192 is twice as much file size, for basically nothing.

As far as MP3's they are not bad, I mean once you get to a ~160kbit VBR stream, its almost impossible for people to tell the difference between it and a lossless format. Ogg vorbis is even better.

Streaming sites streaming at less than 160kbit vbr or equivalent are making a bad name for streaming audio (that is if this bad name even really exists...) I mean I am somewhat of an audiophile and whatnot so I can tell the difference between shitty stuff and good stuff, but there is truly a point where it is basically indeterminately different.
 

extide

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Depends on your definition of "better". The CD is less fussy, and has probably been post-processed a few times and cleaned up.

Odds are the CD still doesn't sound like what it actually sounded like live back then. Which if you're after the live experience you still aren't getting.

I was working house once and a volunteer wanted help with her duties...she was venue security and her job was to watch orchestra house left front. Basically standing right in front of the speaker stacks for a rock band. This 50-year-old something had never been to a live rock band and had no idea she was going to get her eardrums blasted into oblivion at point blank range. Hell even 200ft away it was loud enough to cause your internal organs to vibrate. We pulled out our smartphones and using the built in vibrometer clocked the concrete slab getting a 3.5 on the Richter scale. She'd heard the group on the radio and CDs at a normal comfortable listening volume-not real life.

Yeah, live music, quality wise, is TERRIBLE! It sure is loud though...
 

nilepez

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Depends on your definition of "better". The CD is less fussy, and has probably been post-processed a few times and cleaned up.

Odds are the CD still doesn't sound like what it actually sounded like live back then. Which if you're after the live experience you still aren't getting.

I was working house once and a volunteer wanted help with her duties...she was venue security and her job was to watch orchestra house left front. Basically standing right in front of the speaker stacks for a rock band. This 50-year-old something had never been to a live rock band and had no idea she was going to get her eardrums blasted into oblivion at point blank range. Hell even 200ft away it was loud enough to cause your internal organs to vibrate. We pulled out our smartphones and using the built in vibrometer clocked the concrete slab getting a 3.5 on the Richter scale. She'd heard the group on the radio and CDs at a normal comfortable listening volume-not real life.

It's safe to say that Pink Floyd did not record at concert volumes. What's more, what it sounds like in the studio is probably not what you want on the album. You'll add reverb, delay, pans and so on.

If you don't like that, then get the 30th anniversary recording. That's a band approved master and it's probably out there on vinyl. Go to town and decide what's best. I'll stick with CDs. They sound like an Album without the wear and tear that occurs after you've taken it out for a few spins.
 

westrock2000

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And they sound better on CD than they did on vinyl. I've got more copies of Dark Side of the Moon than I'd care to admit and MSFL CD sounds better than the MSFL record.

That said, most double blind tests show that people can't tell the difference between vinyl and a CD (assuming the former is a pristine copy)

Do you have the S & F swapped? Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab...aka gold CD's?

I have several of those.
 

Skripka

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There is nothing to fix. Digital audio is FINE, and infact current high-end formats are straight up overkill! 24bit/192khz is WAY overkill. I would say even 24/96 is still overkill but IMHO it's the best choice because it can ~easily be re-sampled to 44.1 and 48, but isn't totally excessive. I mean 24/192 is twice as much file size, for basically nothing.

As far as MP3's they are not bad, I mean once you get to a ~160kbit VBR stream, its almost impossible for people to tell the difference between it and a lossless format. Ogg vorbis is even better.

Streaming sites streaming at less than 160kbit vbr or equivalent are making a bad name for streaming audio (that is if this bad name even really exists...) I mean I am somewhat of an audiophile and whatnot so I can tell the difference between shitty stuff and good stuff, but there is truly a point where it is basically indeterminately different.

If you know what to listen for, and have a decent setup (not bank breaking, a used pair of Senn HD555s that go for $50 and a good PC audio card will do)...the difference between lossless and any bitrate MP3 is quite blatant. Especially in the realm of acoustic music.

Last place I worked (did 300+ live acoustic shows a year that needed permanently archived) we experimented with higher sampling rates that 16-bit/48kHz....and for doubling the storage volume required, we didn't get much of anything in our hall with our gear. Course our hall had some odd acoustic issues like slapback hotspots, and we weren't working with creme de la creme boards and mics and performers for our archival recording purposes.
 

westrock2000

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Isn't the 4th dimension time?

Time is more of the "0" dimension. It's always there, at least as far as we understand it.

0 Time
1 X
2 Y
3 Z

even our Flatlander friends are affected by time
0 Time
1 X
2 Y

But "time" is just a way of us accounting for a phenomenon that we experience. We do not know the true nature of time because unlike the other dimensions we can not observe it from a neutral perspective. I can observe you move in an X direction, because it is relative to my X position. But I cannot observe your time movement, because I am in that same time. Much like a speedometer being inaccurate in a car. If I am in the car, then I have to assume that is correct. I can only verify it was wrong by getting out of the car or using something that is external to the car.

But again, we do not know if time is really even there or if it's just a construct that we created because of how our brains delineate the concept.

Here is an article about a tribe in South America that do not have the concept of time in their culture. Very fascinating.
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-13452711


EDIT: Thread got moved from Front Page News........very strange.
 

extide

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If you know what to listen for, and have a decent setup (not bank breaking, a used pair of Senn HD555s that go for $50 and a good PC audio card will do)...the difference between lossless and any bitrate MP3 is quite blatant. Especially in the realm of acoustic music.

Last place I worked (did 300+ live acoustic shows a year that needed permanently archived) we experimented with higher sampling rates that 16-bit/48kHz....and for doubling the storage volume required, we didn't get much of anything in our hall with our gear. Course our hall had some odd acoustic issues like slapback hotspots, and we weren't working with creme de la creme boards and mics and performers for our archival recording purposes.

Most of the double blind studies I have seen say that basically 320kbit mp3s are pretty much indistinguishable. 256k pretty much as well.

I have some decent audio gear, ATH-M50's, Grado SR-80's, a couple different external amp/dac setups, an iBasso DX100 (yeah the ol original beast!), etc. I have good enough ears that 'bad' audio drive me NUTS but I am fine with 160k vbr or 256k mp3's.

Most of the benefits of recording masters in 24/96 vs like 16/48 are the ability to convert to different sample rates more easily. It's a LOT easier to convert 96khz to 44.1 than it is to convert 48khz to 44.1. Doing the latter conversion will add a lot of error, because of the way the math works. 24bit give you a lot more dynamic range, so if you are mixing multiple signals together you have a bit more headroom there as well. Once you are done mixing, if you take that final and convert it to 16/44.1, and do an A/B test, I HIGHLY doubt you would be able to tell the difference between the 24/96 ver and the 16/44.1 ver. But if you started with 16/44.1 and then did all your mixing and processing, you will end up with more rounding errors than if you started with higher quality sources. So yeah, end users have no (real) need for more than 16/44.1 but in the production side, it can have benefits.

In any case, I don't think digital audio has a bad name, I think the article is reaching, a lot.
 

nilepez

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Do you have the S & F swapped? Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab...aka gold CD's?

I have several of those.

S & F? And yes the Gold CDs. Probalby the only one I have. I only bought it because at that time, the U.S. mastering of the CD was really bad.
 

nilepez

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Time is more of the "0" dimension. It's always there, at least as far as we understand it.

0 Time
1 X
2 Y
3 Z

even our Flatlander friends are affected by time
0 Time
1 X
2 Y

I guess I don't get what's difficult, beyond the time aspect (at least from a graph perspective). Seems like it's essentially up/down, l/r and forward backward...and the time, I assume means you show those as time progresses.
 

westrock2000

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S & F? And yes the Gold CDs. Probalby the only one I have. I only bought it because at that time, the U.S. mastering of the CD was really bad.

You said MSFL, but I was assuming you meant MFSL (Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs). However I was prepared to accept that I had no idea what you were talking about :D

udcd-534.gif
 

VladDracule

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Spotify isnt even good quality. Hell i literally just switched from spotify on my PC using an ibasso d6 DAC/Amp for listening to an MP3 on my iphone 6, same song. Iphone MP3 > Spotify quality, by a significant margin
 
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