Microphones are my main field, so I agree that they are very important and where we should spend most of the money :-) As for why this digital issue matters, it's because of two reasons IMHO:a) what's assumed about audibility and human perception must constantly be updated, especially when it comes to anything nonlinear or discrete.b) 16 bit PCM is hopefully not the final word in music or audio, and we need to learn more about what a better format should look like.
16-bit hasn't been the final word in music or audio for years now
16-bit has been the most common final word*length* for home audio listening, and so far, the evidence that it's audibly inadequate to *that* task, in any practical way, is seriously lacking (this thread included).
I don't buy the 'over the long term it may fatigue the listener' argument on current evidence
Don't know about you, but I react very strongly to good music, and even more so if the playback quality is very high. CD has never given me any of those top moments as I can remember.
Quote from: Martin Kantola on 17 February, 2009, 09:51:33 PMDon't know about you, but I react very strongly to good music, and even more so if the playback quality is very high. CD has never given me any of those top moments as I can remember.What formats have?
However, I also know that a 44.1/16 recording of the very same experience would not sound any different to me so long as I didn't already know which format I was hearing.
The listening experience of headphones is quite a bit different than loudspeakers. Of necessity, I do my LP transfers using headphones, and in some ways that might be easier, but various small percussion instruments, and some other transients, can be hard to distinguish from vinyl noise at times on the headphones. It isn’t that these sounds are less audible, they are just distinctly different.Every once in a while I have to write my work to CD so I can use the living room system. Sounds that I was very uncertain about keeping are suddenly revealed very clearly to be, for instance, two wood sticks being struck together. Sounds of some other instruments sound as though they are really being produced by those instruments but on headphones it is nowhere near so clear.Another thing: background noise, such as hiss or vinyl wear noise, will seem fully acceptable on headphones but very intrusive on the speakers. That I decide more NR is necessary after listening on speakers is obviously a personal preference, but the differences in sound, headphones to speakers, is pronounced. Then there is the fact that the sound stage and room ambience are not really there on headphones.Some might believe this all indicates defective equipment but I don’t think so. The soundcard and headphone amplifier are good. I’ve used Sennheiser HD600s, Grado SR125s, Sony MDR-V900s and V6s, and occasionally others. All sound different from each other, but none are poor quality. I’ve discussed this with audio and acoustical engineers; it seems to be well know, accepted, and considered more or less explained. Mixing and mastering people rarely consider headphones to be of any value for their work.None of this says that differences would be undetectable on one and detectable on the other, but the fact hardly seems obvious. Much music really sounds “better” to me on the speakers, but I still enjoy headphone listening; for some kinds of music I prefer the headphone experience.I can’t think of how it would be possible to ABX test headphones against speakers, there are too many obvious clues as to which one is using. Unfortunately I also can’t do audio file ABX testing in the living room, and I have no intention of spending whatever it would take to allow me to operate a computer from my listening chair. These difficulties might lead some to maintain that differences are unproven, but it hardly seems reasonable to deny all experience that one cannot substantiate by tests.
Mixing and mastering people rarely consider headphones to be of any value for their work.
Sorry for asking but how do you know this? Have you actually blind tested it?
None of this says that differences would be undetectable on one and detectable on the other, but the fact hardly seems obvious. Much music really sounds “better” to me on the speakers, but I still enjoy headphone listening; for some kinds of music I prefer the headphone experience.
Quote from: MLXXX on 17 February, 2009, 06:10:28 AM1. Where perceived differences are very small, suspicion develops that the playback equipment may be solely responsible.Always possible, but not very likely, I'd like to think that the playback equipment makes it even more difficult in this case. Why do you think these artifacts would not be tiny? After all, we're messing with a few LSBs here...
1. Where perceived differences are very small, suspicion develops that the playback equipment may be solely responsible.
There's quite a few people here who have copied many records onto CD (or at least, digital). AndyH-Ha and CliveB come to mind. I've done a few myself to (though I just play at it - my interest is more in 78s anyway).The usual answer when someone asks is that it makes no difference. Maybe we're all deaf, or don't know what to listen for - or maybe the magnitude of change between one record and another, or one cartridge and another, and certainly one declicker and another, is so great that any 44.1k vs 96k or 16-bit vx 24-bit differences are insignificant.
I think the difference I thought I heard was either down to the audible noise coming straight off the stylus itself (which is present for both live and digital loop-through, but not when you play the digital file back!) and the physical experience of putting on a record and seeing it spin around (which again, is present for both the live and digital loop-through in my sighted test, but is not present when you click play on the digital file afterwards).
Never said it's 'inadequate'. That's not the point as I see it. Let me rephrase, do you think there's any room or need for improvement over 16/44, or should we sit back, relax and be content with that audio quality?
Don't think I used the word 'fatigue'. What I miss is some of that "whoa, this sounds so great" type of primitive reaction and feeling in the music experience with CD. Don't know about you, but I react very strongly to good music, and even more so if the playback quality is very high. CD has never given me any of those top moments as I can remember. Still, it's the only playback format hooked up in my house at the moment. No vinyl, no 1/4 inch tape and mp3 is only for travel.
The usual question at this point would be, was this in fact an effect on the reproduction chain? For example, does the tweeter behave slightly differently in the presence of the ultrasonic signal in a way that affects the audible signal? Or perhaps due to a non-linearity there was a beat frequency just within your hearing range, but low enough that you were not conscious of it directly?
Is part of listening to music which is both familiar to us and moves us not based to some extent on expectation - a bit like re-reading a book?
That shouldn't stop us tracking down any possible issues with 16-bits or 44.1kHz - some people who believe they hear differences describe them as significant once identified - and now someone appears to be able to ABX a difference. I keep an open mind.
But for me, 44.1kHz 16-bits doesn't stop me having an emotional connection with the music on various levels.
Last night I was listening to Rachmaninoff's 3rd piano concerto via 192kbps discrete stereo mp3. I don't think the power of the music was diminished at all, even though the sound of the piano wasn't adequately conveyed by my little ear buds.
...What I miss is some of that "whoa, this sounds so great" type of primitive reaction and feeling in the music experience with CD. Don't know about you, but I react very strongly to good music, and even more so if the playback quality is very high. CD has never given me any of those top moments as I can remember...