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Re: Scams in "audio"?

Reply #25
The "magic" is just filtering and distortion.

Re: Scams in "audio"?

Reply #26
The "magic" is just filtering and distortion.

It could also be familiarity and preference. I may just prefer a "warmer" sound because I grew up with it. By the same token a less "warm" sound would sound "cold".

Listening is a subjective experience.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?  ;~)

Re: Scams in "audio"?

Reply #27
Yeah, well it's still introduced by adding distortion and filtering, that creates a "warm" sound you're familiar with. It's like adding a VHS filter to HD video to give it a nostalgic look, some might like (including me, sometimes).

Re: Scams in "audio"?

Reply #28
Just to be polite, I wont' go into much detail on my favorite subject, but will mention it -- early on, many CDs weren't really mastered at all -- mostly just playouts of DolbyA tapes with a bit of EQ.  Makes for a spatially flat, unreal, thin, sense of distortion (but not really) kind of sound.

This is the direct from CD sound (just happens not to be DolbyA decoded -- like a lot of them):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/y8czwibps2chg1n/Cars-06.%20Moving%20in%20Stereo-undecoded.mp3?dl=0

This is the exact same material, from the exact same CD -- but properly decoded:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/bfertqaeabt5dnd/Cars-06.%20Moving%20in%20Stereo-decoded.mp3?dl=0

I had this CD in my collection for years -- for 'old times', started playing it -- didn't even have it in my online repository -- it was a 2002 copy of The Cars, "Complete Greatest Hits" -- apparently DolbyA encoded, but  many older CDs have the same problem also.  Just caught it yesterday -- a diamond in the rough (again.)  This makes well over 30-40 (at least) CDs out of maybe 50-80 CDs in my collection -- DolbyA encoded -- but not decoded, but they are all of music done between late 1960's through early 1990's.  This includes EVEN the Carpenters Singles from HDtracks!!!

I have many, many, may more examples on Dropbox.   If you'd like to hear full quality .flac files at 96k/24bits (expanded from CD because of NR, processing, etc.) I can make some higher quality available.    48k/16bits is actually enough -- but mp3 sucks in comparision on the higher quality demos.l

I understand not liking the "digital sound", when so much of it is poorly done.

John

Re: Scams in "audio"?

Reply #29
Quote
I don't know what's the "magic" in analog, but I really feel some warmness/improvement when I use this type of vst plugins in foobar. (CD Sound Master Vintage Tape Machine, Fabfilter Saturn, and also Wave Arts Tube Saturator [but this vst always crashes foobar, and it's a very CPU hungry plugin; so unhappily I can't use it]).
"Saturation" is clipping (overload distortion) so it only happens when you over-drive the circuit (or analog tape) into distortion. 

Analog tape and some tube amplifiers soft-clip.  That is, they limit or "push down" the peaks and you get a kind of limiting & dynamic compression and the distortion depends on how hard you overdrive it.    It's not as "harsh" as digital clipping or the kind of hard clipping you get from most solid state circuits. 

In addition, tape has NAB equalization (similar to RIAA EQ) where the highs are boosted during recording and reduced to normal during playback.   This tends to further soften the sound of the distortion.

Tube power amplifiers, and some tube preamps also have transformers which add their own distortion when overdriven and may also "soften" the sound of the distortion.

It's possible to make a solid state circuit that soft-clips and it's possible to make a tube circuit that hard clips.   But if you want high-fidelity, high-quality sound reproduction, you generally don't want any clipping with any electronics.

Guitar player tend to like the sound of an overdriven tube amplifier, but you generally wouldn't want to hear the whole band through a distorted guitar amp.

Quote
Therefore I wanted to buy a real tube buffer hardware instead of software plugins - it was iFi Audio micro iTube 2, and I also sent a topic about this unit to hydrogenaudio forums today.
If a tube amp has a sound of it's own, it's going to sound different from a different tube amp.   i.e. Most guitar players have a preferred amplifier.  

A "high fidelity" amplifier (tube or solid state) isn't supposed to have any sound of it's own.    A McIntosh tube amp is going to sound exactly like any good solid state amp, at least until it's driven into distortion.   But, you're not supposed to drive a hi-fi amp into distortion.  

Re: Scams in "audio"?

Reply #30
Quote
I don't know what's the "magic" in analog, but I really feel some warmness/improvement when I use this type of vst plugins in foobar. (CD Sound Master Vintage Tape Machine, Fabfilter Saturn, and also Wave Arts Tube Saturator [but this vst always crashes foobar, and it's a very CPU hungry plugin; so unhappily I can't use it]).
"Saturation" is clipping (overload distortion) so it only happens when you over-drive the circuit (or analog tape) into distortion. 

Analog tape and some tube amplifiers soft-clip.  That is, they limit or "push down" the peaks and you get a kind of limiting & dynamic compression and the distortion depends on how hard you overdrive it.    It's not as "harsh" as digital clipping or the kind of hard clipping you get from most solid state circuits. 

In addition, tape has NAB equalization (similar to RIAA EQ) where the highs are boosted during recording and reduced to normal during playback.   This tends to further soften the sound of the distortion.


Tape is a really good place to produce intermodulation distortion.  It DEFINITELY softens the sound -- the common NR systems used with analog tape also softened the sound on top of the tape itself.  The tape NR systems were a Faustian bargain, where tape hiss was generally bad enough that the recording people decided to trade off some quality for less hiss.

Nowadays, the little distortions associated with tape, tubes 'or valves', etc (oh -- old fashioned transistor amplifiers/pre-amplifiers) are so very obvious because of the near perfection of todays equipment.


Re: Scams in "audio"?

Reply #31
We're not talking about mastering done either good or bad, that's kinda orthogonal to the discussion about what happens during playback.

When a source is mastered badly, there's no amount of tweaking that'll restore the original sound, you can only mask some of the errors to make it less garrish. But it doesn't work like the "ENHANCE" programs often used in television series, where they have a 200x300 pixel blurry image and then they "ENHANCE" and it's a 10 megapixel high-res picture where you can see every pore.

The "Bad mastering" also happens in film, where it's even more noticeable, for a long time, the VHS release of "5th Element" was better in quality than the BluRay release for some reason. It was like a crappily transcoded version of the DVD release, the sound was almost unbearable. No amount of video filtering or tweaking will add detail where there is none.

 

Re: Scams in "audio"?

Reply #32
We're not talking about mastering done either good or bad, that's kinda orthogonal to the discussion about what happens during playback.

When a source is mastered badly, there's no amount of tweaking that'll restore the original sound, you can only mask some of the errors to make it less garrish. But it doesn't work like the "ENHANCE" programs often used in television series, where they have a 200x300 pixel blurry image and then they "ENHANCE" and it's a 10 megapixel high-res picture where you can see every pore.

The "Bad mastering" also happens in film, where it's even more noticeable, for a long time, the VHS release of "5th Element" was better in quality than the BluRay release for some reason. It was like a crappily transcoded version of the DVD release, the sound was almost unbearable. No amount of video filtering or tweaking will add detail where there is none.

Probably the worst recent hoax:
Actually, I am talking about 'no mastering' -- which is what happened to CDs...  Yes, it CAN be fixed.  Should it be fixed by the consumer?  Probably not, unless they are desperate to recover their collection.

I am trying to explain where some of the 'digital sound' problem comes from -- then it became self-perpetuating that 'digital' was somehow inferior.  This is exactly on topic -- the whole thing about somehow there is a magic in analog comes partially from the very poor digital mastering (which is essentially none at all.)  That is one of the biggest hoaxes in the audio world and has been for 30yrs.

(There were also other problems with 'digital' at the time, but by far the worst -- which is pretty much gone for recent material -- was the problem of non-mastering.  The problem is NOT gone for re-releases, but there is yet another problem with those, probably everywhere, and that is loudness wars -- but this IS off topic.)



Re: Scams in "audio"?

Reply #33
Probably the worst recent hoax:
Actually, I am talking about 'no mastering' -- which is what happened to CDs...  Yes, it CAN be fixed.  Should it be fixed by the consumer?  Probably not, unless they are desperate to recover their collection.
Erm, that is very anecdotal, and claiming CDs received "no mastering" is certainly incorrect. Fixing it after the fact by the consumer is a misnomer as I wouldn't call using reconstructive measures on something "fixing", it's simply a remedy to mask errors.

I am trying to explain where some of the 'digital sound' problem comes from -- then it became self-perpetuating that 'digital' was somehow inferior.  This is exactly on topic -- the whole thing about somehow there is a magic in analog comes partially from the very poor digital mastering (which is essentially none at all.)  That is one of the biggest hoaxes in the audio world and has been for 30yrs.
It's true that some lazy production resulted in bad products, which some people associate with "bad digital sound". However I have a bunch of badly mastered tapes and a couple really crappy mastered vinyls; no amount of "veil lifting" from a tube amp will make them into a nice listening experience.

(There were also other problems with 'digital' at the time, but by far the worst -- which is pretty much gone for recent material -- was the problem of non-mastering.  The problem is NOT gone for re-releases, but there is yet another problem with those, probably everywhere, and that is loudness wars -- but this IS off topic.)
Well, yes, I wasn't meaning loudness wars either.

Re: Scams in "audio"?

Reply #34
Probably the worst recent hoax:
Actually, I am talking about 'no mastering' -- which is what happened to CDs...  Yes, it CAN be fixed.  Should it be fixed by the consumer?  Probably not, unless they are desperate to recover their collection.
Erm, that is very anecdotal, and claiming CDs received "no mastering" is certainly incorrect. Fixing it after the fact by the consumer is a misnomer as I wouldn't call using reconstructive measures on something "fixing", it's simply a remedy to mask errors.

I am trying to explain where some of the 'digital sound' problem comes from -- then it became self-perpetuating that 'digital' was somehow inferior.  This is exactly on topic -- the whole thing about somehow there is a magic in analog comes partially from the very poor digital mastering (which is essentially none at all.)  That is one of the biggest hoaxes in the audio world and has been for 30yrs.
It's true that some lazy production resulted in bad products, which some people associate with "bad digital sound". However I have a bunch of badly mastered tapes and a couple really crappy mastered vinyls; no amount of "veil lifting" from a tube amp will make them into a nice listening experience.

(There were also other problems with 'digital' at the time, but by far the worst -- which is pretty much gone for recent material -- was the problem of non-mastering.  The problem is NOT gone for re-releases, but there is yet another problem with those, probably everywhere, and that is loudness wars -- but this IS off topic.)
Well, yes, I wasn't meaning loudness wars either.
Rather than just having an opinion - it would be good to listen the existence proof that I have provided.  Well, technically doing a -3dB@3k/Q=0.707 is 'mastering', but that is like saying that connecting a phono cable to a preamp is 'engineering.'  Fully more than 1/2 of my collection has the mastering (DolbyA) problem -- I guess people aren't sensitive to the problem.
A hoax has been perpetrated on music listeners since CDs were released (please listen to the 99 Red Balloons example.)

John


Re: Scams in "audio"?

Reply #35
Fully more than 1/2 of my collection has the mastering (DolbyA) problem
Limited corpus you have, but it reeks of those extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence. (And "I like it better when" is actually not.)
High Voltage socket-nose-avatar

Re: Scams in "audio"?

Reply #36
Fully more than 1/2 of my collection has the mastering (DolbyA) problem
Limited corpus you have, but it reeks of those extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence. (And "I like it better when" is actually not.)


I agree that my collection is limited.
I just cannot go out and purchase 1000's of CDs or downloads...  That is asking way too much.
Open minds to new facts are a good thing...  This IS worth an investigation...
Again, refer to the WWW site, and the data set has NO selection bias other than the timeframe of the recordings.
Selection bias beyond the timeframe of the recordings would be cause for some skepticism, but I have found the problem on both premium and non-premium recordings.

It would be worthwhile to do some kind of study -- because the facts of the demos are irrefutable (for those who have hearing.) 

Specifically look at the Cars example (the undecoded vs decoded version)  -- I just found from another correspondent that my decoded copy matches their commercial copy which happened to be properly processed.   This is not an all or nothing situation -- it is very variable, which makes statistics important.  On a superficial review -- my decoded copy sounds like the properly mastered commercial copy -- not everyone who pays good money gets the 'good version'.

I don't have the resources for more complete testing & statistics, but anyone interested in what we are purchasing should be curious.   People spend $10ks of money on their equipment, but get cheated on their recordings?   I had found that some people in the industry are sometimes 'hush hush' until eventually there become anecdotes like -- "mgmt said they didn't want me to do a decode because it costs money."

I am not a conspiracy theorist -- just the opposite, as I am more establishment than practically anyone who might be reading this.  I just give a darned, and will never profit in any way (probably irrtate more than make happy), especially those making money by doing something 'on the cheap.'  My project was a research project that SOMEONE ELSE wanted to use -- my interest is in facts and understanding what is wrong with the recordings (as  research and engineer -- not just as a consumer.)

I am done with this discussion (I privately said that I won't reply to someone else's comments), and I know as long as someone who really has the resources looks at the issue, then the truth will be exposed.  Truth and facts dont always win, however.  Fairness isn't guaranteed -- is it?  People don't always get what they pay for -- and that fact bothers me.  Those who don't want to know don't deserve to know.

John

Info from an involved person about the DolbyA issue..

Reply #37
I have been bringing this subject about DolbyA encoded material getting into the consumer hands for at least 3 yrs now, and even being motivated to write my own -- VERY GOOD -- DolbyA decoder...

Just now: the answer as provided by someone who had to process the old tapes -- to produce 'greatest hits' type releases...  (Just got the answer 1/2 hour ago -- FINALLY.)

TADA: mislabeled tapes/messed up documentation/missing tones/etc.

Apparently, the condition of the archives isn't always very good (depending on label), so unless someone is funded to do a *really complete* job, mistakes or 'wrong choices' get made.   Additionally -- he wrote that it happened A LOT.

1)  it wasn't really a scam, but instead a screw-up
2) it did and still does happen a lot
3) the 'wrong choice' doesn't always sound obviously bad.

The fault is apparently with the accounting for the integrity of the archives and labeling issues that cause confusion.
Today is the first time that i have ever gotten a fully satisfactory/coherent answer.

John

Re: Scams in "audio"?

Reply #38
So ... does this make for an an argument that those loudness war-ridden remasters were actually not an "audio scam", but repaired a genuine problem?
High Voltage socket-nose-avatar

Re: Scams in "audio"?

Reply #39
So ... does this make for an an argument that those loudness war-ridden remasters were actually not an "audio scam", but repaired a genuine problem?

The reason for my follow-up post instead of just keeping silent:  I had to decide whether or not to violate my statement that I was no longer going to discuss the matter vs. telling the 'truth' that I just found.  I decided that it was better to correct my strong implication and explain exactly what I just found out.

The answer that I finally got (after 3+yrs -- actually longer knowing that there was a problem) the problem is common, but is NOT a hoax -- but is more of an organization/documentation and resource issue.  It is NOT a conscious decision to cheat (well, an error of omission rather than commission.)

Some 'premium' material still has the DolbyA encoding:  e.g. the Carpenters Singles from HDtracks (not so much HDtracks fault -- they are selling what they get from their distributor.)

I have found DolbyA encoding on remasters also -- specifically the 'The Complete Studio Recordings' from ABBA.  It appears that they compressed the undecoded DolbyA material.

John



 
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