INDIAN MUSIC FORUMS

Sign up Calendar Latest Topics Chat
 
 
 


Reply
  Author   Comment   Page 7 of 7     «   Prev   4   5   6   7
nicneufeld

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 1,564
Reply with quote  #91 
Just curious as I can be counted among the philistines who still enjoy their MP3 collections, but does the discontent with digital sampling / lossy compression extend to other media or senses, too?

It's an interesting thought and perhaps a little off-topic, but sound/music is only one area where this happens. For instance, watching a video on the internet, plenty of codecs in use, and even in high resolution, you're talking about discrete pixel sample points that "approximate" a picture. I occasionally spot JPEG distortion in heavily compressed files...kind of ugly. I just don't know if a heightened sensitivity to digital compression defects also translates to visual mediums.

Digital by default will never be fully lossy, as I understand it, even without talking about compression. I mean, you're talking about a sort of discrete sampling of points...that can get finer and finer in resolution, but never really becomes a continuous stream like actual sound / sight.

Lossless compression would be interesting...I've not studied it in context of sound formats but as a database guy by trade, you can certainly compress (most commonly dedupe) data without introducing actual data loss. The tradeoff you always face is cost of decompressing/compressing from your storage, so if you had a heavy lossless compression on some sound files, some of the CPU power would have to be dedicated to decompressing...no free lunch as usual, but it might be a tradeoff that is acceptable.

That said, the continuing cheapening of terabyte storage is going to make heavily lossy codecs less and less interesting/useful as time goes by. So that's good news at least.
0
cabernethy

Registered:
Posts: 284
Reply with quote  #92 
I think it extends to all areas of art that is stored digitally if I understand your question.

However, the average household spends oodles to get 1080P and soon 4K, but wouldn't spend a tenth on a good DAC. So many have to see their art so that drives the marketing and profit bs and thence sales....for now anyways.

Digital is never lossy - Yep, that's how I understand it as well.

Life as we see and hear it is a continuous ever fluctuating vibration whose modulations are infinite.

If you record it it any way, you are limiting yourself to the clock speed of your capture device, and that will ALWAYS be slower than mother earth

The future as you say lies in cheap fast storage....bring it on

Carl
0
Kirya

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 740
Reply with quote  #93 
One of the reasons that many "experts" are skeptical about HD sound is that there is mounting evidence that even informed and picky listeners can often not tell the difference between MP3 and CD and even SACD.

I myself have found that I cannot tell the difference in many cases when I have the CD vs 320K MP3 versions playing side by side. See excerpt below:
Quote:
A prominent part of the case against high-resolution audio is a 2007 study by E. Brad Meyer and David Moran of the Boston Audio Society that concluded listeners couldn't tell the difference between SACD and DVD-A music on the one hand and CD-quality versions of the same recordings on the other.

Christopher "Monty" Montgomery targets the false belief that digitized music is recorded as a jagged "stairstep" rather than a smooth curve.Christopher "Monty" Montgomery targets the false belief that digitized music is recorded as a jagged "stairstep" rather than a smooth curve. Xiph.org

In that experiment's 554 tests, listeners correctly identified when a SACD or DVD-A recording compared to a CD only 49.8 percent of the time -- in other words, they didn't do better than randomly guessing. To ensure that higher-quality recordings for the audiophile market weren't a factor, Moran and Meyer created CD versions from the higher-resolution originals.

"Our test results indicate that all of these recordings could be released on conventional CDs with no audible difference," they concluded. "They would not, however, find such a reliable conduit to the homes of those with the systems and listening habits to appreciate them."

Another high-profile non-believer is Christopher "Monty" Montgomery, an engineer who writes codec software for the Xiph.Org Foundation and who works for Firefox developer Mozilla. The most prominent part of his effort is a video arguing that CD quality sound is good enough.

Montgomery's video, illustrated with lucid demonstrations and backed by a blog post, persuasively debunks misconceptions such as the idea that encoding music digitally reduces it to a series of jagged stairsteps instead of the original smooth curves.

Montgomery and his allies have yet to persuade everyone on two points, including the idea that 16-bit resolution and 44.1kHz is sufficient.

"Monty is wrong. Twenty-four bits does matter -- but for a very small sliver of the music business," said Mark Waldrep, an audio engineer who's founder and chief executive of AIX Records and iTrax.com and who focuses on high-resolution audio -- including efforts of his own to debunk some claims. And of the sampling frequency he said, "I'd rather err on having those frequencies in the signal rather than assuming we don't need them."

But Grill thinks any purported benefit would be lost in the real world. "The limiting factor is the loudspeaker, the room acoustics, and the human ear," he said.

But if you listen to the samples on the free Linn samples at http://www.linn.co.uk/christmas you can see that IF a special effort has been made to record the material at very high quality, the HD tracks do sound better consistently. The issue for me is that the large majority of what I listen to is ICM and they do a pretty shitty job on the capture and recording so having HD there is of little or no value.

As the recording technology improves (though the best mics and EQ equipment is still considered to be gear that was available in the 60's) maybe we will see a new HD quality of ICM but the stuff I hear nowadays is overdone on reverb and they still lose most of the harmonics of the sitar. The Germans and French IMO have made the best sitar recordings and I see that Anoushka seems to find better engineers than most, even if her playing leaves much to be desired.

The hard core audiophile fringe community still swears by vinyl and valve/tube EQ and amps. And speakers today are really not that much better than what they had at Abbey Road in 1970. The best gear in 1970 would still be considered special to audiophiles today. Contrast that with a 1970 TV or a 1970 car where huge advances have been made or a computer in 1970 was an IBM mainframe that had 10% of the power and capability of a modern smartphone.

BTW Carl I don't have your email address

__________________
Kirya
Los Angeles, CA
0
fossesitar

Registered:
Posts: 983
Reply with quote  #94 
It is very honest of you Kriya, to admit that you sometimes cannot hear the difference. I happen to know you have a very perceptive ear, since you picked up on some tube pre-amp distortion that was present in a very high quality recording made for my website. As I have said all along, upgrading speakers (and microphones) will give the greatest benefit by far.

Isn't it interesting that the best speakers from the 50s' - 60's rival anything that is made today? Weird because as you say the advances in automobiles and computers are simply stunning since that time.
0
cabernethy

Registered:
Posts: 284
Reply with quote  #95 
For me, a headroom improvement is good enough justification. I really don't get hung up on the studies averaging out how perceptive joe bloggs' hearing is. That is probably very selfish and naive of me, but I want to hear music as best it can be, and it pleases me to write and listen to music @192. Whilst writing, listening @192 is unquestionably less fatiguing on my ears. I can tell you from experience that a 1970's MS-10 sounds a lot more natural recorded @192 than it does at CD quality 44.1, to my ears. I Would certainly agree that CD quality is 'Good Enough' but that's not what people are listening to. What I'm saying is let us get back to where we once were. But as I said, this is not for everyone.

But in terms of what is very relevant to this entire forum, I would suggest that if you are interested in the preservation of you art, then preserve at the highest quality you can.

TIDAL will let you stream what I would call a fair amount of ICM @44.1.

ORAStream is building, streams up to 192 but is at the moment only good for western classical, once they are there though, this variable rate hi-res delivery service could be the one to watch , I Hope so.
0
Kirya

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 740
Reply with quote  #96 
One of the basic problems we have in moving to higher resolution with music archives and ICM archives in particular, is that we are attempting to play back low resolution images on high resolution playback equipment.

This is like taking a photo with a 4 Megapixel camera and then displaying it on Ultra HD TV. It can work but it is not likely to look better.

Hopefully this image of the requirements for High Res Audio below comes through but it shows you what is needed to get a high res audio print. You need better mics and you need to capture everything at 96kHz/24-bit. Maybe this can happen when ICM musicians play in state of the art venues in the US or Europe but I don't think too many Indian studios can record competently at 96/24 -- you need all kinds of very expensive digital gear in the signal chain that I doubt they would invest in given the target playback environments.


https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/ad/08/86/ad08860ba151ac7cd2ec73214ed14876.jpg

The biggest thing to note is the move from 20 kHz to 40 kHz in the microphones and transducers (headphones and speakers). The 96kHz/24-bit PCM specification gets us all of the fidelity we want and really is the minimum for real high-resolution recording and delivery. Sadly SACD and DSD 64 don't qualify because of the frequency range limitation... DSD 64 gets very noisy after about 23 kHz

There is still a lot of jockeying for control by Sony (who owns the bulk of CD-Audio Patents) so there is very little consistency between the different players so consumers have to choose one format or the other and could easily end up with a collection of music that has no future playback systems available to play on.

__________________
Kirya
Los Angeles, CA
0
Kirya

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 740
Reply with quote  #97 
This is a very good article -- long and sometimes technical -- but shows that if you are looking for better quality sound listening experience the odds of getting it from a good CD production are as good as anything called Hi-Res

http://www.strata-gee.com/dazed-and-confused-about-hi-res-audio-heres-help/

It also shows how convoluted the whole audio industry is in terms of just getting to "good sound". No wonder the world has just decided that MP3 is good enough most of the time.

__________________
Kirya
Los Angeles, CA
0
cabernethy

Registered:
Posts: 284
Reply with quote  #98 
Agreed on that, it is absolutely no wonder to me, it's just such a shame.

This thread focuses on identifying a device to capture your performance to allow you to listen to it from an audience perspective. You purchase the device, then choose to capture at one it's lowest bit rate settings, rendering your lovely performance to the mercies of digital algorithms designed with the sole purpose of reducing fidelity to increase convenience. I'm sorry, I know I can be aq bit blunt at times but I will never see the logic here.

I Am so very thankful for the faces of students that pass through my doors once they hear and are convinced on this debate. Given the option, the vast majority of them take stems away at 24/96. Start with the future artists , this strategy is a long one but is sure to work , I Hope.

Take care, have a very happy new year all, Carl
0
nicneufeld

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 1,564
Reply with quote  #99 
I just bought a new microphone with the intent of (among other things) recording sitar, the Blue Yeti. It's a compound condenser mic with multiple modes, pushing to USB. Certainly far, far above my previous recordings with either a cheap dynamic Samson mic (poor mans SM58) or my iPhone 4's built in microphone. I did a couple tests with a nylon string guitar and sitar, and I think it shows promise....obviously, I've already established myself in this thread as not having the most exacting of aural standards as regards compression, but still, I have a feeling with the right scenario (I get the sitar in perfectly good tune and I play it likewise) this mic will do nicely.
0
Kirya

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 740
Reply with quote  #100 
@nicneufield -- It would be nice to hear a sample.

I think we are at a point that many of us can reproduce the quality level of many of the recordings made in India.

I maintain that the best recordings of sitar (which keep the tone and sympathetic harmonics intact) have been made by German and French sound engineers in particular probably a combination of very good mics and a real understanding of acoustic instrument sound capture.

__________________
Kirya
Los Angeles, CA
0
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation:

Easily create a Forum Website with Website Toolbox.