The Demise of disc format

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jimfisheye

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There's an ambiguous spot where we can't tell if a sound is coming from in front or behind unless we turn our heads. Stupid humans... That's why you can't just convert surround to stereo ambisonic and have it work in headphones fully.

We are pretty tuned in to subtle phase discrepancies (not quite the word I was looking for).
Adding a little first reflection makes us think a sound is twice as loud. Hass effect gives position cues and you can create motion.

So...
When something with the machines goes wrong and you get phase alterations - like an azimuth error offset introduced by a crooked tape head - it can be VERY altering to the program.

Now we're trying to play with phase tricks to encode surround into stereo containers and that kind of stuff? (For one example.) Multiply that "altering" comment 1000x!
 

MagnumX

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I think the producers of these discrete recordings THINK they have smooth movement from speaker to speaker. The problem is that you have to turn your head to hear it. When I listened to discrete CD-4 or Q4 recordings in the showrooms, I heard all of the side sounds at the corner speakers when facing forward. If I turned my head to face left, then I heard the left-side images spread out where they belonged, but the front center was moved to an adjacent corner.

This does not happen in Dolby Surround, PL I, or PL II. I hear sounds that are panned between speakers or are moving where they belong (providing I am facing forward). And I have 4 matching speakers.

One time years ago I was watching "Monster Garage" in PL II while also emailing. I was looking at the computer monitor when I heard a loud sound that was not in the direction of one of the speakers. I thought something outside had hit the house. I even went outside to see if something had fallen on the house. Three hours later, the same show was on again and this time I was looking at the screen. That noise happened again, but this time I saw someone on the TV throw in anger a heavy metal piece he had made that didn't fit where he wanted it. The sound image was where it belonged, between the left speakers.
I can't speak to old CD-4 or Q4 recordings in terms of how they mixed them. What I do know is that the center channel should not move to the corner if you turn your head to the left side surround if it's a discrete recording. The fact it appears to move tells me it's probably not as discrete as you think it is. Just because they have discrete options, that does not mean the mix is discrete. That you say this does not happen with PL or PLII mean it's all the more likely the recording is at fault. By discrete, I meant more recent releases in DTS/DTS-HD MA 5.1 or PCM/FLAC 5.1 or even Dolby Atmos.

Well put. However MagnumX, I challenge your statement highlighted in bold above. In the commodity commercial music business, you can sure that the end product is mixed and mastered by the accountants.
I use the term "mixing engineer" the same way I'd use the term "sanitation engineer" to mean garbage man. ;)

or the eyes, then you would truly hear it like outside in nature with no clues as to where the sound is coming from
I dare say if you can't tell where sounds are coming from when you're outside, you should probably get your ears checked for wax plugs. ;)
 

salsdali

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I dare say if you can't tell where sounds are coming from when you're outside, you should probably get your ears checked for wax plugs. ;)
so your eyes and ears are linked neurally?

interesting

birds are usually above in trees

rumbles are usually earth bound

Your brain integrates this knowledge during it's perception shortcuts, which it does 100% of the time, all the time, 'cause data overload otherwise
 

MagnumX

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so your eyes and ears are linked neurally?

interesting

birds are usually above in trees

rumbles are usually earth bound

Your brain integrates this knowledge during it's perception shortcuts, which it does 100% of the time, all the time, 'cause data overload otherwise
????

So you're saying I couldn't tell if a bird was coming from a tree or the nearby bush because we can't hear/tell directional sounds outside and that my brain will just make assumptions? Ridiculous.
 

Sal1950

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I would say matching drivers (midrange and tweeter in particular) are more important than the speaker itself, having 4 different PSB models using identical driers or at least extremely similar ones (my rear bed and height speakers have updated versions but match each other despite being tower/bookshelf).
Just matching drivers? Different crossovers can make two speakers with identical drivers sound totally different?
In any case, you can play this, that, and the other for ever. Still when in comes right down to it, identical speakers for all base channels is the ultimate choice when possible, anything less is a compromise The center can post a problem for a larger number of us.
Add in Atmos, Auro, etc, and all bets are off. LOL
 

MagnumX

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Just matching drivers? Different crossovers can make two speakers with identical drivers sound totally different?
In any case, you can play this, that, and the other for ever. Still when in comes right down to it, identical speakers for all base channels is the ultimate choice when possible, anything less is a compromise The center can post a problem for a larger number of us.
Add in Atmos, Auro, etc, and all bets are off. LOL
Yeah, use negative terms like compromise to try and make me feel bad when they all sound near identical to my ears here.... :censored:

I cannot fit full size towers in the side surround locations. There's simply not enough room (twice as deep). The sub takes over most of the duties so they're really not needed. I got them for "pure" music modes and because just the opposite problem occurs in terms of fitting them there (room for depth, but not width and the matching bookshelf plus stand is too wide for the sliding glass door back there). It's also pretty hard to fit full sized towers on the ceiling for Atmos systems. Matching drivers is the best you can hope to do, really without suspending towers on cables or something (or being forced to use small speakers for the base level ones in all locations).
 

Sal1950

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Yeah, use negative terms like compromise to try and make me feel bad
We all have to make compromises, unless we have totally unlimited wallets.
Besides AFAIK you only had one feeling and lost that in the divorce. :p
 

kap'n krunch

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I listen to the MUSIC, I grew up sharpening my teeth with LPs and CDs and also wondered why 96/24 was NECESSARY...but we forgot that we listen to MUSIC, not DRs or some clicks...I LOOOVE LPs and of course I love CDs BUT CDs have that 44/16 limitation, it's a pic taken with 35 mm film, an LP is a 126 slide (96/24 is a 5 inch slide used back then)...anyway, we listen to MUSIC and 44/16 can not give us that extra beauty that , LPs in spite of all its shortcomings CAN.
I NEVER EQ LPs nor process them in any way , what you hear is my 1981 Technics and an Ortofon OMP30 recorded thru a Project preamp and into the MOTU 828es I have into Logic, just cleaned manually with Click Repair and IZOTOPE RX7.
CDs were ripped using XLD.
Of course , if you listen at a low volume you will not appreciate it, but you don't have to CRANK them to notice it....
I offer you the following snippets:
Enya-
Shepherd Moon
LP and CD
This one is sublime...the CD , although it sounds GREAT can not reproduce the "air" on her voices...gives me gooosebumps...and pianos sound clearer too

Next is ELPowell,
"The Score" from their 1986 album. Sharpness all around ...
LP and CD

And last, one of my favorites ever...I got the CD when it came out and never bothered with the LP cause to my ears it sounded great...but man, was I in for a treat when I got the LP version of
Thomas Dolby
"The keys to her Ferrari" from "Aliens ate my Buick"...yoooow!!!
This will blow you away!
LP and CD

Now, I know I am not here to convince those of you that think digital is the best, YES, IT IS, but only if you follow the correct procedures.

remember to ENJOY THE MUSIC, NOT THE DRs or clicks or imperfections , you are concentrating on the wrong stuff!!!!
 

MagnumX

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I listen to the MUSIC, I grew up sharpening my teeth with LPs and CDs and also wondered why 96/24 was NECESSARY...but we forgot that we listen to MUSIC, not DRs or some clicks...I LOOOVE LPs and of course I love CDs BUT CDs have that 44/16 limitation, it's a pic taken with 35 mm film, an LP is a 126 slide (96/24 is a 5 inch slide used back then)...anyway, we listen to MUSIC and 44/16 can not give us that extra beauty that , LPs in spite of all its shortcomings CAN.
That "44/16 limitation" still beats the LP format's specs.

LP = It's approximately 12-bit (~70db give or take with most analog tapes maxing out closer to 78dB) with theoretical frequency response beyond 20kHz but hampered in reality with an increasingly unusable noise floor at higher ranges (by 30kHz you're just measuring noise and you cannot hear above 20kHz when you're young so it's pointless). Then there's the noise floor of the record, especially bad below 500Hz, pops caused by static discharges and clicks by dust particles embedded somewhere in the groove, etc. Cartridges vary quite a lot as well as can the turntable motors themselves, etc.

CD = 16-bit (96dB straight up with higher perception with noise shaping easily making 18+ bits), flat 20kHz frequency response.

96/24 necessary? Pointless is a better word for the final mix. It's good at record at 24-bit, though to avoid overload potential.

I NEVER EQ LPs nor process them in any way , what you hear is my 1981 Technics and an Ortofon OMP30 recorded thru a Project preamp and into the MOTU 828es I have into Logic, just cleaned manually with Click Repair and IZOTOPE RX7.
Um, I hate to break it to you, but Izotope RX is processing. It's very good processing, but it's still processing.

I offer you the following snippets:
Enya-
Shepherd Moon
LP and CD
This one is sublime...the CD , although it sounds GREAT can not reproduce the "air" on her voices...gives me gooosebumps...and pianos sound clearer too
Are you saying you recorded the LP to digital and burned a CD of it and it couldn't reproduce the sound quality? You could probably win some kind of award if you can prove that because there's theoretically nothing audible a CD can't reproduce that an LP has on it. More importantly, you can remove any click/pops and even surface noise with Izotope RX so the end result can easily end up superior sounding to the original LP.

remember to ENJOY THE MUSIC, NOT THE DRs or clicks or imperfections , you are concentrating on the wrong stuff!!!!
Some people find it difficult to listen through noise like clicks & pops as they tend to be distracting, like trying to listen to a symphony live with someone's cell phone going off next to you the entire concert (even if just on vibrate) or someone coughing the entire time.
 

Sal1950

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although it sounds GREAT can not reproduce the "air" on her voices..
All that "air" you hear is vinyl surface noise, with some high freq. eq done to the LP mastering tape to make up for cutter loss.

In any case if you prefer listening to all the distortions of the vinyl medium rather than the pure sound of the MUSIC on master tape captured perfectly on the CD, be my guest.
 

AYanguas

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There's an ambiguous spot where we can't tell if a sound is coming from in front or behind unless we turn our heads. Stupid humans...
Thanks for explaining this. I was not fully aware of this human 'feature'.

Some days before I had the opportunity to listen to this "human hearing deficiency".

It was with the Atmos album Emergence from Max Cooper. Listening to it with the 'aid' of my VUMeter to check each speaker content amount, It was some passage where sounds were clearly alternating between the Two fronts and exactly the two Surround Backs, as seen in the VUMeter. But I was almost hearing the sound coming all the time from the fronts, or so. A little 'surround immersive' but without distinguishing the alternating sound from the front and from the rear. I thought I was loosing my hearing capabilities or my ability to enjoy the surround.

I just turned my head 90º to the left and then, yes, I could clearly hear the alternating sounds front to rear, that were now right to left in my head.

Interesting... Mixer artists should know about this if they want to make aggressive effects that are cleary noticed. They should avoid that 'ambiguous spot'. At least assuming that the listener is at MLP with the head facing to the front all time.
 

MagnumX

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Thanks for explaining this. I was not fully aware of this human 'feature'.

Some days before I had the opportunity to listen to this "human hearing deficiency".

It was with the Atmos album Emergence from Max Cooper. Listening to it with the 'aid' of my VUMeter to check each speaker content amount, It was some passage where sounds were clearly alternating between the Two fronts and exactly the two Surround Backs, as seen in the VUMeter. But I was almost hearing the sound coming all the time from the fronts, or so. A little 'surround immersive' but without distinguishing the alternating sound from the front and from the rear. I thought I was loosing my hearing capabilities or my ability to enjoy the surround.

I just turned my head 90º to the left and then, yes, I could clearly hear the alternating sounds front to rear, that were now right to left in my head.

Interesting... Mixer artists should know about this if they want to make aggressive effects that are cleary noticed. They should avoid that 'ambiguous spot'. At least assuming that the listener is at MLP with the head facing to the front all time.
The effect is greatly diminished if you have more than one speaker in the rear creating the sound (i.e. They found with 6.1 sound it worked fine in the theaters. Then the home version came out and that's when they noticed the problem. The theaters used arrays of speakers for one channel. At home, people were using ONE speaker and that's when it was obvious (It also doesn't happen with all frequencies). I found when I had a 6.1 setup that if I turned the speaker around backwards so it bounced all the rear wall first that it then appeared behind me consistently (kind of like having more than one speaker). But now with two rear speakers, the effect rarely occurs. What occurs far more often is that soundtracks don't use the rear surround speakers in a discrete fashion and so sounds only appear a little bit behind me instead of 14 feet behind me. With most Atmos music that's fully discrete (Yello, Booka Shade), the sounds are consistently in the rear of the room and seem light years bigger in terms of sound stage than a typical movie, which I hate to say are mostly terrible compared to Atmos music albums in terms of fully using the room.
 

jimfisheye

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Where is this ambiguous spot located?
From memory and I don't have reference on hand.
If you face perfectly forward, there's a sideways axis where the delay from one ear to your other is the same from a side-front located sound as a side-behind you sound. All you have to do is turn your head a little interactively and your perception snaps it into place.

I know we also cue off the response curve of the incoming audio. Closer sounds usually are louder and thus usually have more perceivable high frequency content. That factors in with reflection bounce back sound too. I thought there was perception of some in front vs behind you sound based off that. Apparently there's a blind (or ambiguous) spot though.

I think you can always tell where something is coming from if there's also a reflection component to whatever the sound is. Reverb that is. The stereo ambisonic jangle the keys around your head thing uses reverb.
 

kap'n krunch

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almost positive none of my "retractors" bothered to listen to any of my samples...
If it's extra EQ, then that is how my ear hears voices in real life, I am a tenor and I sang in professional choirs for 6 years, CD's resolution is nowhere near what i heard, and after 96/24 , LPs resolution is the closest.

how is that?..you can bring a horse to water...
the more you try to convince anyone of anything that is opposite their point of view, the more they will dig their heels in...only the wise learn...you can keep listening to your clicks and pops and surface noise and DRs, not music...do not look at the finger cause you will miss all the heavenly glory...

Mark Waldrep's book drives in a great point, which is that so most modern music that is created will not need that much dynamic range ever...you guys should read it...if you want to learn, that is...

Cheers!
 

jimfisheye

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Probably the first 15 years of CDs existing I would have sworn up and down from my experience that the format was limited fidelity. Clearly limited compared next to vinyl! It was when I finally got into Apogee 24 bit converters running at 96k that for the first time ever I could copy an album playing and the 24/96 copy sounded exactly like the source really and truly.

But...

But then one day I made a sample rate conversion of something I recorded at 96k down to 44.1k. And it didn't really sound different. This confused me finally enough one day to play around.

Then I took a 96k copy of an audiophile vinyl transfer, converted it to 44.1k, and then converted it back to 96k. It didn't sound different. It nulled with the original down past -90db. (Not perfectly obviously. Just decimal dust left though.)

Longer story short, it really honestly was the case that for 15 years I had only purchased CD that turned out to be mastered for shit. (Yeah, there were a few outliers. And they were weirdly confusing as to how they could sound really damn good, I suppose! Probably no vinyl to compare those to at the time.) This still seems outrageous in hindsight! It's true though. 16/44.1 is actually a really hi-fi audio format and most CDs have lo-fi garbage going in. You have to be CAREFUL with 16 bit and 44.1k or you can wash out a recording. 24 bit and 96k is bullet proof no matter what you do almost. Handling and level wise I mean. You can put a shit mastering job in 24/96 too! Like that new Wolfgang Van Halen release.


To complete a thought above...
With my MOTU converters that are about 15 years old now I can hear a difference between running them at SD vs 96k. That would be the low pass filters. The Apogees sound the same. Guess that's what I paid for! :)


Download XLD
It has SOX sample rate conversion.
Convert your favorite audiophile 24/96 file to 44.1k.
What do you hear?

There's a positive take on this. We actually have really good digital delivery formats!
Let's stop the gaslighting over formats and start giving feedback to the mastering work when it's poor. Returns and demands for refund for some of the botched releases!
 
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Soundfield

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From memory and I don't have reference on hand.
If you face perfectly forward, there's a sideways axis where the delay from one ear to your other is the same from a side-front located sound as a side-behind you sound. All you have to do is turn your head a little interactively and your perception snaps it into place.
Ah, I recognise the effect you are talking about now. But there's no 'one spot of ambiguity' - there are an infinite number of such potential 'spots' because the effect is both time (i.e. distance) and frequency related. Any point in space around us can give rise to this ambiguity if it happens that the combination of distance and frequency of the source are right (or rather, wrong!) at that given location. Where these un-fortuitous locations may occur vary unpredictably between listeners even standing in the same place because of the personal inter-aural time difference unique to each individual's head. It's no big deal though, the head movements required to resolve the ambiguity (unless needed to be very large, which only happens at the higher frequencies where the effect is most pronounced) are largely automatic and we generally undertake them without realising it. It actually works rather well. Even people with significant hearing loss in one ear can generally resolve front to back effectively (although the image will be displaced to the side of the dominant ear).
 
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MagnumX

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almost positive none of my "retractors" bothered to listen to any of my samples...
Your Enya Shepard Moon samples do sound different and at first, it appears the LP has this "air" as you mentioned. The problem is that they are not level matched. The CD is about 4dB (estimate) lower in level than the LP sample. I turned up the volume for the CD one and it then magically had the same "air" about it here.

The Score sample sounded like the LP and CD were label reversed to me as I heard clear clicks on the "CD" version. Of course, if you're buying a CD version and not making a recording of the LP to compare, god knows what kind of a poor job they could do. Their source could even be an LP and they didn't bother with click removal.

The Key to her Ferrari had a similar volume difference (probably closer to 2dB this time) that once again gave the LP an edge. A single decibel will make something sound "clearer" or "more detailed" particularly on the high-end. Human hearing is not linear and so it's easily affected by level as some frequencies high and low become easier to hear at higher levels.

I didn't have a ton of time (got to be somewhere soon) to keep doing back and forth across the entire samples, but a fair comparison would have both sets already level matched in a WAV editor and frankly, the real test is whether a 16/44.1 recording of the LP will sound identical to the LP, not whether some separately mastered CD sounds worse or not.

If it's extra EQ, then that is how my ear hears voices in real life, I am a tenor and I sang in professional choirs for 6 years, CD's resolution is nowhere near what i heard, and after 96/24 , LPs resolution is the closest.
Turn the Enya CD sample up around 4dB before you play it. Better yet do it in a WAV editor so you don't have to. You should be able to compare their waveform peaks directly there. One of the biggest problems in "high resolution audio" is the "fake" effect that uses different mastering versions on the SACD version than the CD copy. I've also read that Sony purportedly set their SACD players to play the SACD side 1dB louder than the same downmix of the CD on the CD side. They did this for a reason. It sounds "close" to the human ear in level, but will almost always sound slightly better on the 1dB louder (SACD) side during comparisons (more detailed; more air). The Sony engineers know the truth. They did it on purpose.

We were told on Day 1 of my Psych 101 class about the Pepsi Vs Coke challenge Pepsi did in the late '80s or early '90s. The instructor repeated their challenge first before explaining it. The class was probably 60/40 in favor of Coke before the test and came out like 90/10 for Pepsi for the test results. The trick he said is that Pepsi always and without exception would give the person Pepsi FIRST (not double blind and this proves why double blind is needed). They would also not give you a water to wash the Pepsi out of your mouth on purpose. They know that Pepsi is sweeter than Coke and that the human tongue/brain will taste a less sweet flavor as MUCH less sweet, even almost bitter after tasting something sweeter. This gave Pepsi a massive edge. Some people like myself could still tell which was which (smaller sips too) and so it never comes out 100%, but it sure turned the numbers around and made Pepsi look/taste much better than it does were it a fair test (double blind with multiple swigs and swishing water in-between samples). Marketing GENIUS using knowledge about human response to create a false illusion.

Most comparisons with speakers, amps, etc. are done not even single blind and rarely level matched to within 0.1dB. This is needed to avoid a similar effect with audio due to level differences having such a large effect on perception, a very real effect due to the non-linear nature of our ears' frequency response.
 

MidiMagic

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I can't speak to old CD-4 or Q4 recordings in terms of how they mixed them. What I do know is that the center channel should not move to the corner if you turn your head to the left side surround if it's a discrete recording. The fact it appears to move tells me it's probably not as discrete as you think it is. Just because they have discrete options, that does not mean the mix is discrete. That you say this does not happen with PL or PLII mean it's all the more likely the recording is at fault. By discrete, I meant more recent releases in DTS/DTS-HD MA 5.1 or PCM/FLAC 5.1 or even Dolby Atmos.
I am talking about 4-speaker quad with no center channel speaker. The center DOES move to one speaker or the other because those speakers are now at the same side of your head. The ears locate one speaker or the other.

I even hooked up a mixer to the amps of two speakers of a quad setup at a time. Whenever I turned my head so the two active speakers were on the same side, tuning the panpot caused the image to jump between the two speakers. This happened no matter which adjacent pair (LF-RF, LB-LF, RF-RB, or RB-LB) is used, provided that the two speakers are both on the left side of the head or both on the right side of the head.

I have what purport to be the same album (Neil Diamond "Hot August Night" on both LP and CD. When I play the LP through a basic regular matrix decoder, it has a feel of "you are there" and you are surrounded by audience noises. When I play the CD through the same decoder, those effects are absent. So either they remixed the recording, or something in the CD recording process removed this effect.
 
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