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Topic: 'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus (Read 17387 times) previous topic - next topic
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'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

The science they quote shows nothing of the sort, of course.

Behold the latest steaming load of horsh*t from the vinylphile camp

[a href="http://mic.com/articles/104250/what-the-internet-has-done-to-your-love-of-music" rel="nofollow"]http://mic.com/articles/104250/what-the-internet-has-done-to-your-love-of-music[/a]

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #1
Quote
Research shows that musical quality has a huge effect on emotional response. A recent study performed by audio researchers at DTS divided a group of listeners into two groups — one that watched a video accompanied by standard stereo 96-kbps sound (Spotify's default audio setting) and the other group listened in 256-kbps audio format. The responses in the brains of the group listening with the 256-kbps audio were 14% more powerful on metrics measuring memory creation and 66% higher on pleasure responses. And this was just 96 to 256 kbps.
A good bourbon enhances the experience for me, although it probably doesn't improve memory creation.


'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #3
My favorite part is when the author tries to recruit Poppy Crum to his cause, but is forced to note

Quote
To her mind, though, the benefits of streaming in terms of access and broad music appreciation far outweigh the potential negative effects of streaming habits on our emotional experience.



The way he glides past that 'elephant in the room' is almost Amirian.

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #4
Quote
But this compressing process strips about 91% of the actual musical data and fills in the gaps using algorithms. The volume is then jacked up to make up for this lack of distinctiveness, and the resulting waveform is barely recognizable.

Clueless twit.

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #5
Quote
But this compressing process strips about 91% of the actual musical data and fills in the gaps using algorithms. The volume is then jacked up to make up for this lack of distinctiveness, and the resulting waveform is barely recognizable.

Clueless twit.


I thought this was supposed to be basically an accurate representation of what is actually done with most commercial MP3 files. Is it not true? Do the files not commonly go through both data compression and also dynamic compression?

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #6
I stopped reading when they started on the standard "lossy compression is bad" diatribe.

But the start of the article - where Poppy Crum gives her concerns about our change in listening habits - struck me as right on the button. Back in the Good Old Days™, buying a record was a moderately significant event. We were choosing to invest something in it, and so we gave it the attention it deserved. As Poppy says, repeated and careful listening meant that we were able to derive the maximum return on our investment.

We must have all experienced cases where an album seemed initially unremarkable, but after repeated listenings turned out to be very good indeed. (Some examples off the top of my head are: Amarok by Mike Oldfield, Wild Orchids by Steve Hackett, Amused to Death by Roger Waters, Nostradamus by Kayak). Had I briefly sampled any of these wonderful works on a streaming service, they would have been dismissed and forgotten, and as a result I would have denied myself the pleasure they have given me.

So the way we listen to music is VERY important. A delivery medium that requires that we make some kind of effort (go to a shop and buy a CD or LP) will provide greater rewards than one which is cheap and fleeting (streaming). It has nothing to do with whether it's digital, analogue, or lossily compressed. What's required is that we are encouraged to actually *listen*, rather than treat music as ephemeral auditory wallpaper.

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #7
Do the files not commonly go through both data compression and also dynamic compression?


The files are compressed because MP3 is a lossy format. It has nothing to do with dynamic compression. That has to do with the masters used to create them. It isn't some automatic step that is done when creating MP3s.

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #8
I love this one:

Quote
Vinyl records are estimated to play at a whopping 1000 kbps. Music might not just have lost its revenue when it switched to digital; it may have lost its emotional power too.


Estimated by the brilliant minds at Yahoo Answers, that is.

Never mind that the much-maligned CD delivers an even more "whopping" 1411kbps, so it must automatically be better than vinyl, really.

In a way, I actually feel sorry for these people who can only get emotionally involved in a piece of music unless it was physically read off the surface of a piece of plastic using a needle.

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #9
A good chunk of the internet consists of information-free written-for-pence-in-minutes click-bait articles. I don't think I've ever seen one that was accurate (about any subject), so I wouldn't worry specifically about this one.

Cheers,
David.

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #10
Do the files not commonly go through both data compression and also dynamic compression?


The files are compressed because MP3 is a lossy format. It has nothing to do with dynamic compression. That has to do with the masters used to create them. It isn't some automatic step that is done when creating MP3s.


I understand that they are two different, mutually independent things and that MP3s do not "have to" be dynamically compressed. But this actually is what happens to most commercial MP3s we find on Spotify is it not? For consumers of these files this is a real problem right?

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #11
I understand that they are two different, mutually independent things and that MP3s do not "have to" be dynamically compressed. But this actually is what happens to most commercial MP3s we find on Spotify is it not? For consumers of these files this is a real problem right?
I have doubts that any streaming service adds DRC. Most likely, their lossy files were sourced from either very modern masters or remasters done within the last 10-15 years. They would tend to be loud. However I've downloaded lots of $5 albums from Amazon and you never know what you'll get. Some of them had very high DR values. It all depends on their source.

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #12
Is there a link between excessive dynamic compression and listener fatigue?
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?  ;~)

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #13
1) The volume can jump wildly from track to track on Pandora.

2) It's difficult to find a CD that hasn't been subject to heavy DRC for at least the last decade.

3) The ubiquity of vinyl being sourced from a different master that was not compressed is grossly exaggerated. Claims that specific titles were sourced from a different master that was used to create the CD counterpart are often (typically?) wrong.

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #14
Quote
But this compressing process strips about 91% of the actual musical data and fills in the gaps using algorithms. The volume is then jacked up to make up for this lack of distinctiveness, and the resulting waveform is barely recognizable.

Clueless twit.


I thought this was supposed to be basically an accurate representation of what is actually done with most commercial MP3 files. Is it not true? Do the files not commonly go through both data compression and also dynamic compression?



Our hearing strips away huge amounts of data before it reaches our brain. If the lossy compression is throwing away stuff that we are going to throw away anyway before it reaches our brains, what difference does it make? Ignoring this shows a complete lack of understanding of psychoacoustic compression.

And is the waveform "barely recognizable" in a properly controlled DBT/ABX listening test, or only in ways having nothing to do with hearing?

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #15
Is there a link between excessive dynamic compression and listener fatigue?
I would like to know more about listener fatigue in general. Wiki says it's not even a clinically recognized state. Anecdotally, my 25 minute commute to work is more pleasant having sought out dynamic versions of the albums I like. There probably isn't a singular cause though.

Back to what streaming services offer, I can think of an example where an Amazon MP3 album (probably the same version they stream for their service) was exactly the same master as the old CD, at least according to peak and DR values. I bought Prince's Purple Rain (don't laugh) via Amazon MP3 and a couple years later I found an old Made-in-Japan CD. They turned out to be the same mastering. I felt stupid but at least it was nice to get a physical copy. I think the same thing happened with Motley Crue's Shot at the Devil.

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #16
I especially liked that his reference link for vinyl being equivalent to 1000kbps was Yahoo Answers. (h/t to the commenter who pointed it out. Who can go through all that drivel to find out?)

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #17
Meanwhile this has been done at the radio station for broadcast long before mp3s existed!

...speaking of the means to hear music in a way that makes it less indelible. And if you didn't like the song you had the option to change the station.

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #18
Quote
2) It's difficult to find a CD that hasn't been subject to heavy DRC for at least the last decade.


Classical CD's (the ones I've bought at least) have been fine.

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #19
Quote
But this compressing process strips about 91% of the actual musical data and fills in the gaps using algorithms. The volume is then jacked up to make up for this lack of distinctiveness, and the resulting waveform is barely recognizable.

Clueless twit.


I thought this was supposed to be basically an accurate representation of what is actually done with most commercial MP3 files. Is it not true? Do the files not commonly go through both data compression and also dynamic compression?



Our hearing strips away huge amounts of data before it reaches our brain. If the lossy compression is throwing away stuff that we are going to throw away anyway before it reaches our brains, what difference does it make? Ignoring this shows a complete lack of understanding of psychoacoustic compression.

And is the waveform "barely recognizable" in a properly controlled DBT/ABX listening test, or only in ways having nothing to do with hearing?


I was not making any pro or con argument about the use of data compression. I was only asking whether or not the article was stating true facts about the files on Spotify being both data compressed AND dynamically compressed.

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #20
Do the files not commonly go through both data compression and also dynamic compression?


The files are compressed because MP3 is a lossy format. It has nothing to do with dynamic compression. That has to do with the masters used to create them. It isn't some automatic step that is done when creating MP3s.


I understand that they are two different, mutually independent things and that MP3s do not "have to" be dynamically compressed. But this actually is what happens to most commercial MP3s we find on Spotify is it not? For consumers of these files this is a real problem right?




I think you're  framing the question incorrectly. Excessive dynamic range compression -- a result of the 'loudness wars' --  predates the popularity of mp3 by years.  It's common on *lossless* audio, and therefore it will be preserved on the *lossy* versions  of the same tracks.  It happens during mixing and mastering, because producers and musicians think 'louder' means 'better'.

Historically, dynamic range compression *IS* often added for radio broadcast (and, I suppose, internet streaming too).  Nowadays this would be *on top of* the DR compression baked into the mastering of the source.  The lossy compression aspect is immaterial to that.

So yes, I  would not be surprised if Spotify streams were both lossy and dynamically compressed.  But one does not cause the other.  And the article conflates them recklessly.

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #21
Classical CD's (the ones I've bought at least) have been fine.

I'm sure you're right about that, and likely many (most?) acoustic jazz recordings too.
How about the mp3 versions of these titles available for purchase?

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #22
Do the files not commonly go through both data compression and also dynamic compression?


The files are compressed because MP3 is a lossy format. It has nothing to do with dynamic compression. That has to do with the masters used to create them. It isn't some automatic step that is done when creating MP3s.


I understand that they are two different, mutually independent things and that MP3s do not "have to" be dynamically compressed. But this actually is what happens to most commercial MP3s we find on Spotify is it not? For consumers of these files this is a real problem right?




I think you're  framing the question incorrectly. Excessive dynamic range compression -- a result of the 'loudness wars' --  predates the popularity of mp3 by years.  It's common on *lossless* audio, and therefore it will be preserved on the *lossy* versions  of the same tracks.  It happens during mixing and mastering, because producers and musicians think 'louder' means 'better'.

Historically, dynamic range compression *IS* often added for radio broadcast (and, I suppose, internet streaming too).  Nowadays this would be *on top of* the DR compression baked into the mastering of the source.  The lossy compression aspect is immaterial to that.

So yes, I  would not be surprised if Spotify streams were both lossy and dynamically compressed.  But one does not cause the other.  And the article conflates them recklessly.


Well OK, sorry if my question was hard to understand or seemed poorly framed. But it does sound like you are agreeing with the basic facts stated in the article that you found so objectionable. Why do you find it so objectionable?

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #23
I was only asking whether or not the article was stating true facts about the files on Spotify being both data compressed AND dynamically compressed.

That is not the message the quote was presenting. The article is not stating true facts about the process of lossy compression.  Saying heavy DRC is there to make up for a lack of distinction caused by the lossy encoding process is a load of bunk too!

Quote
this compressing process [...] fills in the gaps using algorithms [...] to make up for this lack of distinctiveness

The delivery method (streaming or local storage) has nothing to do with what is quoted above.

AFAICT, Spotify was mentioned in the article with reference to listening habits and data rate.

Please show me where in the article it claims Spotify uses dynamic range compression, besides the implication that it baked into the cake per the quote I gave.

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #24
Classical CD's (the ones I've bought at least) have been fine.

I'm sure you're right about that, and likely many (most?) acoustic jazz recordings too.
How about the mp3 versions of these titles available for purchase?


The few MP3's I have (mostly freebies from a Dutch radio station, the name of which escapes me) have been excellent.

Also the few non classical CD's I've bought, Godspeed, you black emperor, REM, Natalie Merchant, John Surman, Yello, so on and so forth... have all been OK, either that or I'm deaf to brickwalling... :-)


 
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