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Topic: is WAV normalization lossless? (Read 41569 times) previous topic - next topic

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  • knutinh
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is WAV normalization lossless?
Reply #100
If the applied gain can be expressed as a integer bitshift of fixed-point representation data, and the dynamic range of input data as well as target channel permits, then gain could be lossless I think.

For other situations, gain would be lossy as in "original data could be non-recoverable", but no one in for the music and audio quality would care. Only those obsessive about perverse audiophile stuff would care, and miss the chance to enjoy their music :-)

This discussion is similar to the debate of digital vs analog volume control I guess.

-k

  • Axon
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is WAV normalization lossless?
Reply #101
You're spot on, and I agree 110%, except...

Professional audio has created for itself a parallel universe. The rules of science, evidence, objectivity etc don't apply there. There are different realities which people accept.

...and in those realities, they're very knowledgeable. The "best" people there don't lack anything.

If you were being kind, you'd say that it's the intersection of art and science, and why should those on the art side be excepted to understand the science.

Why indeed. Problem is, they believe that they do, and happily spout about it. We, here in the scientific real world, know its unsubstantiated bollocks, but in their world, it's accepted "truth".

Well, yeah, but...

It is extremely important to clarify here: what we call a "parallel universe", really is their reality. Outside the relatively small world of theoretical audio engineering, the audio field is by and large a subjectively defined reality, especially for corporations. Look at how consumer prejudice of 128kbps MP3s has dictated what MP3 bitrates are considered acceptable nowadays for band downloads etc, which tend to have no relationship whatsoever with the actual quality of the encoder. Look at stories on forums about how clients come to mixing/mastering engineers with other bands' albums as reference points. I don't think there is anything "kind" about bringing art into the discussion - I think that, in the grand scheme of things (especially with what the vast majority of people in the audio field do for a living), the notion of a purely objective reality for audio engineering is something of an abberation.

It is far, far too easy for us with 4-year engineering degrees (at least!) to whip out bottomless resorvoirs of elitism here. After all, audio engineering is one of the few engineering professions where a 1-2 year technical diploma is considered acceptable, if not above average. Orthogonal to the art/science axis here, I think that those of us who sit more on the analytical/theoretical side of the field know very little about the practical/technical side, and vice versa. And people talking out of their league without realizing it seems to be the root issue here.

Sometimes it seems like two or more completely different fields are rolled under "audio engineering", and calling somebody an audio engineer in one field seems to give that person authority to comment on all the other fields under the same name. I'm reminded of jj recently starting a thread on The Womb about how mixing/mastering engineers there craft their mono mixes. That sh*t is important! And in a very real sense, "we" know far less than "they" do about it.

(Funny side anecdote: I remember once talking to a guy who, when talking to an EE graduate student, realized the student had no idea what a relay was.)

Elitism is definitely a bad sentiment here. I would even go so far as to say that personality largely influences the mindset of anybody in this controversy. Some people are just intrinsically more attuned to a subjective/objective viewpoint than others. And art, of course, is all about the subjective and the human.

To be honest I feel kinda guilty for ragging on lay audio professionals after seeing/engaging in really good discussions about bridging the divide on The Womb, which jj has been tirelessly working towards (whereas I've had considerably less stamina with the subject). In fact after thinking more about the practical/analytical dichotomy I'm going to walk back the comment about understanding power spectra, at the very least. It's really easy to b*tch about the situation but impugning pros and authority figures gets us nowhere. Education is the way out, and not just "force everybody to take more math".

I'd also like to opine that the liability for failure in an audio engineering context is spectacularly lower than for virtually any other engineering field. A lot more kinds of mistakes will not impact a bottom line in audio engineering, compared to other fields. That's a good thing in some ways and a bad thing in others. In particular, I think it's one of the leading reasons for the low cost of entry into the field (and thus the despicably low wages...).

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I think you're being generous to the AES. While there's lots of hard science in there, some people who are proponents of what you criticise are paid up members - and vocal ones at that. The AES as a body doesn't subscribes to TOS 8 / DBTs you know!

Of course I'm being generous, but it isn't like we have a choice. I think that the AES is far and away the organization with the greatest potential of actually educating people about a lot of subjects like this.
  • Last Edit: 24 June, 2010, 06:21:17 PM by Axon

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is WAV normalization lossless?
Reply #102
I think you're being generous to the AES. While there's lots of hard science in there, some people who are proponents of what you criticise are paid up members - and vocal ones at that. The AES as a body doesn't subscribes to TOS 8 / DBTs you know!

Of course I'm being generous, but it isn't like we have a choice. I think that the AES is far and away the organization with the greatest potential of actually educating people about a lot of subjects like this.
You'd be surprised how many people point to HA first.

...and I'm only half joking.

Cheers,
David.