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Hydrogenaudio Forum => General Audio => Topic started by: j8ee on 2009-03-11 21:27:04

Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: j8ee on 2009-03-11 21:27:04
Some of you may have read it already on Slashdot or elsewhere, but I thought it would be good to have a post here about an interesting article that suggests that more and more people seem to prefer music with encoding artifacts over the original audio or better encodes. Mp3's with noises from bad encodes are apparently so common and widespread that it's much of a norm for how music should sound.

"The Sizzling Sound of Music" by Dale Dougherty - http://radar.oreilly.com/2009/03/the-sizzl...d-of-music.html (http://radar.oreilly.com/2009/03/the-sizzling-sound-of-music.html) The article builds upon work and tests by a professor of music at Stanford, Jonathan Berger.

Looking at myself, I can understand how this can happen. I remember having an old cassette with a recording of The Smiths Hatful of Hollow, listening to it a lot, and when later getting a CD of it, it sounded really bad and strange at first because I was so used to the hiss and noise on the cassette. In the article above something like this is also said about people that prefer vinyl over CD, that this preference of crackle and noise from vinyl could be a sort of fetish...


edit:

Here's a link to another post - http://i.gizmodo.com/5166649/ipods-and-you...destroyed-music (http://i.gizmodo.com/5166649/ipods-and-young-people-have-utterly-destroyed-music) - where a little more is mentioned how the test was made. http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/03/11/153205 (http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/03/11/153205) is the post that got my attention in the first place.

From the gizmodo post, this appears to be a quote from Berger:
Quote
Students were asked to judge the quality of a variety of compression methods randomly mixed with uncompressed 44.1 KHz audio. The music examples included both orchestral, jazz and rock music. When I first did this I was expecting to hear preferences for uncompressed audio and expecting to see MP3 (at 128, 160 and 192 bit rates) well below other methods (including a proprietary wavelet-based approach and AAC). To my surprise, in the rock examples the MP3 at 128 was preferred. I repeated the experiment over 6 years and found the preference for MP3 - particularly in music with high energy (cymbal crashes, brass hits, etc) rising over time.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: rpp3po on 2009-03-11 21:54:37
I wonder wether those test were blind (let alone double blind) or wether the professor was standing behind his mixing console archly cheering about anyone preferring track B.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Garf on 2009-03-11 23:18:32
The article is mostly hearsay, being a Professor doesn't mean you do a test the scientific way.

TOS 8 applies
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: gorgekko on 2009-03-12 00:49:48
It actually wouldn't surprise me if people preferred what they were used to. A lot of the arguments people -- who tended to be older -- made in support of vinyl over  compact discs wouldn't have passed HA's TOS requirements but they were vociferous in their partisanship. Why? Because that's what they were used to.

The youngest music listening generation is probably consuming it via lossy MP3 and would be surprised to hear what a properly mastered CD sounds like. I remember as a kid being disappointed by music bought on tape after I heard a song on the radio -- I always seemed to prefer the radio version despite the fact that it likely was compressed and on AM.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Axon on 2009-03-12 01:13:06
Does "the youth" actually listen to poorly encoded MP3s? It's really hard to screw up iTunes or WMP to the point of giving you an encode with the magnitude of badness alluded to in that article. I mean, we just don't live in a Xing 128k CBR world anymore...

My guess is that these kids simply are more comfortable listening to something if they know it is coming from an MP3.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: MichaelW on 2009-03-12 01:33:42
The article is mostly hearsay, being a Professor doesn't mean you do a test the scientific way.

TOS 8 applies

You said it. As reported, this is totally devoid of any kind of content, except the "mp3 is bad" rant. Maybe the tests were controlled, and maybe they knew what bitrate the lossy files were, and maybe they were checking that the students were really able to tell them apart, but there's nothing here to tell us.

An alternative explanation: he's been using low bit-rate mp3s for a long time. At first, differences between mp3 and lossless were clearly audible, and Stanford music students preferred the better reproduction. MP3 has got a lot better for a given bit-rate, he's using freshly made rips, it's much harder to tell the difference (even for young people with good high-frequency hearing), so "preferences" are getting much more randomized, which shows up as an increasing preference for mp3. From the blog-post, there doesn't seem to be any way to choose between these interpretations.

You don't get to be a professor at Stanford without being real smart, but that doesn't mean you have to be critical of your preconceptions.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: gorgekko on 2009-03-12 02:27:31
Does "the youth" actually listen to poorly encoded MP3s? It's really hard to screw up iTunes or WMP to the point of giving you an encode with the magnitude of badness alluded to in that article. I mean, we just don't live in a Xing 128k CBR world anymore...


We may not live in that Xing world anymore, thank heavens, but your argument carries the unspoken assumption that everyone rips their own CDs or buys them from iTMS or Amazon. Plenty of garbage still floating around on P2P sites which I would wager still delivers more lossy music files than all the legitimate sites put together.

But I`ll grant you, it`s likely the average quality of MP3s has risen since Ye Olden Days so perhaps I`m labouring under my own assumptions.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Axon on 2009-03-12 03:02:49
You don't get to be a professor at Stanford without being real smart, but that doesn't mean you have to be critical of your preconceptions.
I was going to issue some snide remark about the fact that he's a professor of music - meaning you really shouldn't trust his opinion on psychoacoustics any more than any other random artist. But looking at his publications (http://ccrma.stanford.edu/%7Ebrg/pubs.html), this dude is the genuine article.

That said, there has been some independent confirmation (http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:UKKUmh-giMQJ:www.flork.com/sticksmateo.html+%22Live,+Memorex+or+MP3.%22+-sizzling&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a)of what was said at the panel. Somebody really ought to email Berger and clarify things.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: MichaelW on 2009-03-12 03:37:57
I was going to issue some snide remark about the fact that he's a professor of music - meaning you really shouldn't trust his opinion on psychoacoustics any more than any other random artist. But looking at his publications (http://ccrma.stanford.edu/%7Ebrg/pubs.html), this dude is the genuine article.

That said, there has been some independent confirmation (http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:UKKUmh-giMQJ:www.flork.com/sticksmateo.html+%22Live,+Memorex+or+MP3.%22+-sizzling&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a)of what was said at the panel. Somebody really ought to email Berger and clarify things.


I thought that might occur to someone, and I was going to add that of all the humanities subjects, music is the one in which there is least place for fluff--or at any rate, nothing but fluff (former teacher of medieval lit here).

Those articles: hmmm.

He's not first author on most of them--? has sharp grad students? There's a lot about visual presentation of music, including the human genome as music: that sounds like conceptual art to me, rather than psychoacoustics. OTOH, there's a lot about timbre, which suggests that he might, perhaps, have statistical-outlier hearing, and is astonished--perhaps genuinely--that lossy encoding at moderate bit-rates has got good enough to be transparent to a large proportion of the population. One problem is that the articles on which he is lead author, and which are purportedly linked to, come up 404.

We are astonished if people really couldn't tell a live singer from an Edison cylinder, but we are not astonished if, in less than ideal listening conditions, a lot of people can't tell MP3 from a CD. This seems to be, from the blog post axon referenced, what is happening.

It would be nice to have a fuller account.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: woody_woodward on 2009-03-12 06:30:58
I can absolutely relate to this.  I am now a senior citizen.  I can remember back in the early eighties after years of listening to music mostly on cassettes going to a live concert, it just sounded 'wrong.'  I wanted to reach out and turn the treble counter-clockwise.  Logically I knew that the live orchestra didn't sound 'wrong' my ears were simply accustomed to a 'different' sound.  I now try to attend concerts as often as possible.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: j8ee on 2009-03-12 06:47:40
I just edited my first post with links to the slashdot post and a blog with what seems to be a quote from Berger, giving a little more information about how the tests were made.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Axon on 2009-03-12 06:57:42
Quote
I repeated the experiment over 6 years and found the preference for MP3 - particularly in music with high energy (cymbal crashes, brass hits, etc) rising over time.


Cymbals, eh.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but what happens to cymbals in low bitrate MP3 could be considered a form of peak limiting, no? The energy content is smeared, so that the instantaneous peak power is reduced substantially.

Could a valid (hypothetical) interpretation of this result be that the listening volume is so high that the uncompressed samples have peaks so high as to cause an unpleasant sensation, while the MP3 has the most smearing and therefore the "least unpleasant" result? I would imagine that a professor such as he would be using some absolutely primo, uncompressed percussion recordings. That could easily be uncomfortable to listen to at normal college-freshman listening volumes.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: HotshotGG on 2009-03-12 13:04:49
Quote
Students were asked to judge the quality of a variety of compression methods randomly mixed with uncompressed 44.1 KHz audio. The music examples included both orchestral, jazz and rock music. When I first did this I was expecting to hear preferences for uncompressed audio and expecting to see MP3 (at 128, 160 and 192 bit rates) well below other methods (including a proprietary wavelet-based approach and AAC). To my surprise, in the rock examples the MP3 at 128 was preferred. I repeated the experiment over 6 years and found the preference for MP3 - particularly in music with high energy (cymbal crashes, brass hits, etc) rising over time.


I just read this article on Slashdot and my reaction to him is WTF is he talking about? Were they double-blind stimulus tests or pseudo-scientific ones that he pulled out of his ass? I am with Garf the T.O.S 8 approach applies here.


Quote
Cymbals, eh.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but what happens to cymbals in low bitrate MP3 could be considered a form of peak limiting, no? The energy content is smeared, so that the instantaneous peak power is reduced substantially.


I am not an engineer, but isn't it called the Gibbs Phenomenon or is that something different?
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: MichaelW on 2009-03-13 02:01:03
BTW, what are these "sizzle sounds" of which they speak? I can't hear MP3 artifacts, and I aim to keep it that way (ignorance is, if not bliss, at least listening undisturbed to the music), but what I've read about sounds more like an absence of sizzle.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Woodinville on 2009-03-13 04:05:20
Quote
Students were asked to judge the quality of a variety of compression methods randomly mixed with uncompressed 44.1 KHz audio. The music examples included both orchestral, jazz and rock music. When I first did this I was expecting to hear preferences for uncompressed audio and expecting to see MP3 (at 128, 160 and 192 bit rates) well below other methods (including a proprietary wavelet-based approach and AAC). To my surprise, in the rock examples the MP3 at 128 was preferred. I repeated the experiment over 6 years and found the preference for MP3 - particularly in music with high energy (cymbal crashes, brass hits, etc) rising over time.


I just read this article on Slashdot and my reaction to him is WTF is he talking about? Were they double-blind stimulus tests or pseudo-scientific ones that he pulled out of his ass? I am with Garf the T.O.S 8 approach applies here.


Quote
Cymbals, eh.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but what happens to cymbals in low bitrate MP3 could be considered a form of peak limiting, no? The energy content is smeared, so that the instantaneous peak power is reduced substantially.


I am not an engineer, but isn't it called the Gibbs Phenomenon or is that something different?


That could start an argument, but infact what happens is that the broadband cymbal signal has bits and peices missing, and it gets a metalic, tonal structure as  a result.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: buktore on 2009-03-13 05:17:25
I'm not surprise to see some people preferred the "smoothed" version of some rock music. I don't like it but I can see why some peoples like it.

If peoples start to like the sound of artifact in jazz, orchestra, ETC.. Now that would be really interesting.

Come to think of it, I really want to know what the encoder use to created 128 kbps rock tracks. Last time I tested LAME 128 it was pretty good and didn't have "Sizzling sound" that much. May be they use BLADE or something.. 
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Slipstreem on 2009-03-13 09:14:50
It was this "sizzling sound" on other people's CBR128 MP3 encodings that put me off using MP3 for many years. It wasn't until I looked into how to make MP3 encodings properly myself that my mind was changed. Maybe the Prof should be making it clearer that it's abuse of the standard that can lead to clearly audible artifacts rather than the standard itself?

Cheers, Slipstreem. 
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: MichaelW on 2009-03-13 09:28:58
So there are two possibilities.

1. He's using old, bad MP3 encodes which are definitely NOT transparent, but for some reason undergrads have got more tolerant of this effect. This is what he's claiming, but the prima facie problem is that while his examples might be crap, it's unlikely that this year's freshmen have heard such bad files; as the recent ~128 kbps listening test has shown, the most popular MP3 codecs have all more or less caught up with LAME, and the other really widespread format, AAC, is at least no worse. So how could the studes have got used to a lower standard?

2. When he first did the tests and listened for himself, there really was a marked difference, which both he and his students could hear. As the years have passed, he's used recent encodings, which have got progressively better, but he hasn't noticed, for a variety of reasons which could affect all of us. His students, however, in many cases can't tell the difference, hence the rise in preference for MP3 (if the test is properly blind, one would expect people who can't hear a difference, but are constrained to state a preference, to choose the MP3 about half the time. If the MP3 is transparent for half the group, then you'd expect about a 25% preference for the MP3).
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Slipstreem on 2009-03-13 10:01:32
But bear in mind that the recent ~128Kbps listening test was using VBR, not CBR, so a bitrate of up to 320Kbps will have been available to most (if not all) of the encoders as and when deemed necessary by the encoders on-the-fly. It sounds to me as though the Prof is deliberately strangling whichever encoder he's using by encoding in CBR.

CBR128 encodings even with the current version of LAME still exhibit the "sizzling sound" and transient crushing to my ears with some specific musical content (eg, rock with heavily 'ridden' cymbals), whereas a VBR encoding averaging 128Kbps doesn't, or at least not so badly. FYI: The "sizzling sound" equates to someone rubbing my ears out with sandpaper whilst I'm listening and used to give me migraines after short periods of listening, although I can tolerate CBR128 a decade on if there's no alternative. LAME in VBR at -V3 (~175Kbps) always provides me with stress-free listening even if the results aren't always entirely perceptually transparent.

I agree with your second point entirely and believe that the improvement in encoding quality even in CBR at sub-optimal bitrates may explain why the students have become more accepting over the years. I don't think the Prof is proving anything that most of us here don't know already, but I do disagree with the way he's interpreting and presenting the results.

Cheers, Slipstreem. 
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Sound-of-Muzak on 2009-03-14 00:16:50
There's an entire generation growing up thinking mp3s are what music sounds like.  Depressing really.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: uart on 2009-03-14 03:19:20
[quote author=Sound-of-Muzak link=msg=621049 date=1236989810]There's an entire generation growing up thinking mp3s are what music sounds like.  Depressing really.[/quote]

Oh well, I grew up thinking that AM radio and low quality cassette tapes were what music sounded like, so I guess they're the lucky ones. Especially if they're using good quality encoders at a decent bit rate.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: zipr on 2009-03-14 03:26:55
[quote author=Sound-of-Muzak link=msg=621049 date=1236989810]There's an entire generation growing up thinking mp3s are what music sounds like.  Depressing really.[/quote]

By that do you mean unidentifiable from the source material?
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Sound-of-Muzak on 2009-03-14 03:43:04
[quote author=Sound-of-Muzak link=msg=621049 date=1236989810]There's an entire generation growing up thinking mp3s are what music sounds like.  Depressing really.


By that do you mean unidentifiable from the source material?
[/quote]

No. The kids subconsciously preferred the lesser quality file. Most people don't use good encoders like the people here at HA. As well, many listen on terrible quality earbuds. I should have been more precise. People used to obsess over the best possible stereo equipment they could find. Now the emphasis is on not having to be bothered with listening to the music, but rather how convenient is it.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: MichaelW on 2009-03-14 04:19:21
I think the kids now with moderate grade earphones are the equivalents of the kids of my generation, who grew up on 45 rpm singles played with a ceramic cartridge through one dodgy speaker. And some of them have grown up to be the farts who buy Sun Studio Presley recordings, or the 1951 Furtwaengler Beethoven 9, or whatever. Seriously, I think top-quality reproduction has never been high on teenage priorities, for as long as there have been teenagers, and it's not always the top concern for music lovers.

Enjoy.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: krabapple on 2009-03-14 04:30:36
[quote author=Sound-of-Muzak link=msg=621076 date=1237002184]
[quote author=Sound-of-Muzak link=msg=621049 date=1236989810]There's an entire generation growing up thinking mp3s are what music sounds like.  Depressing really.


By that do you mean unidentifiable from the source material?
[/quote]

No. The kids subconsciously preferred the lesser quality file. Most people don't use good encoders like the people here at HA. As well, many listen on terrible quality earbuds. I should have been more precise. People used to obsess over the best possible stereo equipment they could find.[/quote]


Only some people.  And only some people still do.


Quote
Now the emphasis is on not having to be bothered with listening to the music, but rather how convenient is it.


apparently you've forgotten

--portable radio
--the 45 single and 'portable' devices for playing them
--the LP/45 'changer' where you stacked discs up
--car stereo
--the cassette
--the walkman

and that's all before the CD revolution

Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Axon on 2009-03-14 06:45:39
I emailed Dr. Berger asking for clarification on the testing protocol, encoder settings and samples. Hopefully he hasn't yet disconnected all his email accounts and will respond
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: HotshotGG on 2009-03-14 15:10:11
Quote
I emailed Dr. Berger asking for clarification on the testing protocol, encoder settings and samples. Hopefully he hasn't yet disconnected all his email accounts and will respond


I would be interested in seeing what his results are. Knowing that the article has been circulating to several news outlets all over the web without any clarification is not very helpful. It's funny watching baboon's getting into arguments over the results he concluded in the article and listening to people on other web sites who have clearly no idea what they are talking about. No I litterally see this article everywhere now. Talk about crappy 3rd hand reporting.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Sound-of-Muzak on 2009-03-14 18:13:34
[quote author=Sound-of-Muzak link=msg=621076 date=1237002184]
[quote author=Sound-of-Muzak link=msg=621049 date=1236989810]There's an entire generation growing up thinking mp3s are what music sounds like.  Depressing really.


By that do you mean unidentifiable from the source material?


No. The kids subconsciously preferred the lesser quality file. Most people don't use good encoders like the people here at HA. As well, many listen on terrible quality earbuds. I should have been more precise. People used to obsess over the best possible stereo equipment they could find.[/quote]


Only some people.  And only some people still do.


Quote
Now the emphasis is on not having to be bothered with listening to the music, but rather how convenient is it.


apparently you've forgotten

--portable radio
--the 45 single and 'portable' devices for playing them
--the LP/45 'changer' where you stacked discs up
--car stereo
--the cassette
--the walkman

and that's all before the CD revolution
[/quote]

No I havent forgotten, but thanks for the reminder.  I should stop caring so much.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Frumious B on 2009-03-15 19:53:23
What is this sizzling sound of which they speak?  Seriously, I've never heard anything on any of my mp3s that approximates a sizzling sound.  Are there examples of it?  Is it something that would be more likely to crop up in an mp3 from a file sharing network that has been transcoded?
 
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: MichaelW on 2009-03-15 20:52:47
SSSizzling sssoundsss explained by Slipstreem in post #19.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Mike19 on 2009-03-15 22:10:13
SSSizzling sssoundsss explained by Slipstreem in post #19.


I wonder if the popularity of MP3 among today's "youth" has little to do with music , either the genre or the quality, but  is due mainly to:

(a) portability of the players (a student can listen in class and tune out the teacher);

(b) earbuds + player hanging around the neck as mandatory fashion accessory.

Earlier today, I asked my friend's 15 year old daughter what she was listening to on her Ipod. Dig this:

She: "I dunno."
Me: "Is it rock?"
She: "Yeah, kinda."
Me: "Do you like it?"
She: "Its okay."
Me:" What kind of music do you like?"
She: "I dunno."
Me: 'Do you like Metal?"
She: "What's that?"
Me: "Very heavy hard rock, like Led Zeppelin."
She: "Oh, you mean Hardcore."
Me: "Yeah."
She: "Its okay." 
Me: "Well, is there some type of music that you like more than just 'okay'?"
She: I dunno." 
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Slipstreem on 2009-03-15 22:25:25
Thanks for making me chuckle, and welcome aboard!

Cheers, Slipstreem. 
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Sound-of-Muzak on 2009-03-15 23:54:49
SSSizzling sssoundsss explained by Slipstreem in post #19.


I wonder if the popularity of MP3 among today's "youth" has little to do with music , either the genre or the quality, but  is due mainly to:

(a) portability of the players (a student can listen in class and tune out the teacher);

(b) earbuds + player hanging around the neck as mandatory fashion accessory.

Earlier today, I asked my friend's 15 year old daughter what she was listening to on her Ipod. Dig this:

She: "I dunno."
Me: "Is it rock?"
She: "Yeah, kinda."
Me: "Do you like it?"
She: "Its okay."
Me:" What kind of music do you like?"
She: "I dunno."
Me: 'Do you like Metal?"
She: "What's that?"
Me: "Very heavy hard rock, like Led Zeppelin."
She: "Oh, you mean Hardcore."
Me: "Yeah."
She: "Its okay." 
Me: "Well, is there some type of music that you like more than just 'okay'?"
She: I dunno." 


Further proof of why I find the iPod culture depressing.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: kornchild2002 on 2009-03-16 00:43:10
I am part of the "iPod culture" yet I do not fit within that group.  I enjoy carrying around my entire lossy library.  Is there something wrong with that.  Granted, I do feel that some people use iPods and those white earbuds as fashion statements.  I call them pod people and just ignore them.  These people are really using a brand (Apple) and name (iPod) to fit in with whomever they feel like (or be a non-conformist conformist and get a different brand simply because they hate iPods because they are iPods).  I don't think it is right to blanket label these people and call them "the iPod culture."  I have been using iPods since about 2003 and there was only one time when I used the stock earbuds: when I first got my 3G 40GB iPod and realized how lousy the earbuds were.  After the first day of lectures, I went to Best Buy and picked up a nice over-the-ear Sony pair and have been using them for a while now.

I do have to change some things around that Mike would say and then I would agree:
(a)  Portability of having access to my entire lossy library.
(b) headphones allow me to listen to my music whenever I like.

Those are just two of the reasons why I like my iPod.  I do feel sorry for the person you talked to though.  I enjoy using my iPod to discover new music that I simply haven't listened to and rated yet.  It is too bad that the "youth" of today really doesn't educate themselves when it comes to lossy/lossless encoding and focus more on the iPod rather than the music the device is playing.

Welcome to the boards.  Oh, one more thing, Led Zeppelin aren't metal.  They used to be but, by today's standards, they are boarder rock-hard rock.  I wouldn't even classify a band such as Black Sabbath as being metal anymore.  Someone gave me their Crooked X album to listen to.  They said it was some pretty "hard metal."  I listened to the opening track while they were standing there and promptly gave them the disc back saying they were nothing more than generic radio rock.  Sigh, good metal is hard to come by.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Sound-of-Muzak on 2009-03-16 00:54:44
The "blanket" term applies to the group, and people like you don't fall into the group. Like you said, kids like this only care about the ipod not so much the music. Someone like you cares about the music. Sadly, I don't think people like yourself are in the majority. There are subcultures within cultures, and you and the kid are in two different subcultures. I also wouldn't classify zeppelin as metal, but they certainly helped get it going.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: gorgekko on 2009-03-16 02:07:01
[quote author=Sound-of-Muzak link=msg=621511 date=1237161289]Further proof of why I find the iPod culture depressing.[/quote]

Judging by your posts on HA you seem to find a lot of things iPod related depressing.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Mike19 on 2009-03-16 03:42:13
Going totaly off thread - IMO there ain't been any good Metal since about 1973. I mentioned LZ to Diane because I figured she would recognize the name.

My point was in response to the OP: Why would the MP3 generation (w/ exceptions, of course) care about compressed audio, when they don't seem to even care about what they are listening to? I have a suspicion that many kids I see with buds in their ears don't even have the players turned on. 

But there is a good use for MP3 players. Kids can listen to music in thier rooms as loudly as they like w/o disturbing the rest of the house.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: MichaelW on 2009-03-16 04:00:18
I guess the thing is that people use music in various ways. Sometimes it's used as background. In the 18th century, apparently a lot of chamber music which is now treated fairly reverentially was used as background music, by people who had the money to have musos playing for them. Today, most people use background music in the car. Some people only use music for background, and have the radio going all the time, and it tends to drive me nuts if I'm forced to listen to other people's background music, so I for one welcome our new white earphone overlords, especially since you don't get the sound leakage from them you used to get from a Walkman.

The iPod Shuffle is, certainly, designed for music-as-background exclusively, but it's a helluva lot more socially responsible than a boom box carried over the shoulder. Music-as-background tends to get identified with the technology that makes it possible; I recollect reading about "cheap music on cheap gramophones" from the 1930s; there was demonization of the transistor radio; demonization of the Walkman. Digital is nothing new. Oh, and the great founding hero of the digital age, Babbage himself, waged a spirited campaign against barrel organs, and damn right, too.

And, also, I'd be surprised if anyone old enough to have a friend with a 15 y.o. daughter would get straight answers from said daughter; I mean, we just wouldn't understand (and, very probably, we wouldn't).

And, finally, let me end this rambling rant with a reminder of Sturgeon's Revelation: "Ninety per cent of everything is crap."

But Apple gear certainly looks good, and doesn't sound bad, to my cloth ears, either.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: uart on 2009-03-16 05:30:19
Earlier today, I asked my friend's 15 year old daughter what she was listening to on her Ipod. Dig this:

She: "I dunno."
Me: "Is it rock?"
She: "Yeah, kinda."
Me: "Do you like it?"
She: "Its okay."
Me:" What kind of music do you like?"
She: "I dunno."
Me: 'Do you like Metal?"
She: "What's that?"
Me: "Very heavy hard rock, like Led Zeppelin."
She: "Oh, you mean Hardcore."
Me: "Yeah."
She: "Its okay." 
Me: "Well, is there some type of music that you like more than just 'okay'?"
She: I dunno." 


Thanks for sharing that Mike. That conversation reminds me a lot of a song called "Sorta Dunno Nothing" by Australia Peter Denahy. It's pretty funny if anyone wants to have a listen here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKaUL2mtAqA...feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKaUL2mtAqA&feature=related)
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: singaiya on 2009-03-16 06:31:54
And, also, I'd be surprised if anyone old enough to have a friend with a 15 y.o. daughter would get straight answers from said daughter; I mean, we just wouldn't understand (and, very probably, we wouldn't).


I was going to mention the same thing. It's been a long time since I was 15, but I could easily see myself giving the same brush off to an older person. Like, how could they possibly understand?

The whole topic seems much ado about nothing. Most people like what they're used to. Age-old ageisms resurface and only the technological implements change names.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Axon on 2009-03-16 06:47:09
I would more easily believe that said 15-year-old just didn't want to take the time to explain it. Whether because of embarrassment at what she's listening to, or the expectation that older people in general wouldn't understand, or simple impatience, or whatever. A large number of people would respond like that to a stranger no matter what their age.

She's also young enough to quite possibly not have any major music preferences. Some people are like that all their lives.

She could have also screwed up all the tags on her pirated MP3s, and thus, really doesn't know who is playing what.

I'm not sure which is funnier... considering LZ an example of metal, or or hardcore.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: 2Bdecided on 2009-03-16 10:14:25
I wonder if the popularity of MP3 among today's "youth" has little to do with music
It's because it's available (illegally) for free, is convenient, and is easily copied and given to friends.

It's like cassettes on steroids. Sound quality is irrelevant.


However, I'm sure music matters, in the same way(s) that it always did - some of the importance is related to the actual notes being played/sung!

Cheers,
David.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: DyingSun on 2009-03-16 11:38:42
This is what I posted as I reply to the original article, plus some additional thoughts...

Having recently acquired the Dead Can Dance MFSL remasters in Audiophile SACD editions, I can honestly say that there's nothing quite like the experience of listening to these masterpieces in a decent stereo system - I mean decent, not absurdly expensive (mine consists of a simple Technics amplifier and a pair of Jamo speakers, both 20 years old and a €250 Cambridge Audio DVD/SACD player). The sound is just immense, crystal clear and involving in a way that no compressed digital format comes ever even close! But at the same time, I enjoy listening to my home-made 256k/AAC tracks in my iPhone every day. Amidst all the noise of a working place or as background music while reading, they're perfectly fine. And quite convenient!
All this to say that each thing has its own place. One is not meant to replace the other, as the experience is clearly different (and whoever thinks it isn't, simply hasn't listened to music on a decent stereo system).

I'd add that, like others mentioned, younger generations have far more serious issues regarding music apprecitaion than preferring MP3s to high quality recordings. I believe Mike's conversation with that young kid (putting aside an awkward definition of Metal  ) quite accurately represents the worst about nowadays' musical "panorama". Most people simply don't care what they listen to. And it's not a matter of taste and other subjective (and pointless) considerations. It's really a matter of not caring at all. They're fed the mainstream radio playlists (which are all the same) or the illegal downloads of the latest mainstream hype and they're happy enjoying it for a couple of weeks until the next mainstream hype turns up and replaces the previous one on their iPods. Most of the times, most people don't even know what they're listening to! Why? Because their illegal MP3s don't carry the respective tags.

It's this apathy towards music and a disregard to any kind of knowledge about it that scares me.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Slipstreem on 2009-03-16 11:49:19
Audiophile SACD editions... The sound is just immense, crystal clear and involving in a way that no compressed digital format comes ever even close!

I realise that you're new around here, but I'd highly recommend that you read the Hydrogenaudio Terms Of Service (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=3974) (specifically TOS#8) before posting utter nonsense like this again... unless you were joking, of course.

Cheers, Slipstreem. 
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: odyssey on 2009-03-16 12:51:15
Most people simply don't care what they listen to. And it's not a matter of taste and other subjective (and pointless) considerations. It's really a matter of not caring at all. They're fed the mainstream radio playlists (which are all the same) or the illegal downloads of the latest mainstream hype and they're happy enjoying it for a couple of weeks until the next mainstream hype turns up and replaces the previous one on their iPods.

I disagree that this behavior is what people want. The entire music business is designed for this (maybe because people want it). This is even the way I listen to music nowadays, but I miss the care that were on the few musicians that did something special. I've been a long time lover of Michael Cretu's "Enigma" project, but it was never mainstream and this is one of the few artists that I dig up from my collection to play once in a while. Others probably exists, but I have no idea how to find those, because the music business are not designed for it! The only reason I even know Enigma today is that a friend of mine, bought the album of the one-hit-wonder "Return to innocence".
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 2009-03-16 12:53:16
I wonder if the popularity of MP3 among today's "youth" has little to do with music



Actually, it has everything to do with music and just music. They want the music, whether its well-reproduced or not.

People my age lived in an era where the mainstream SQ was AM radio, played on 5 tube AC/DC receivers and transistor radios that sounded even worse.  Mainstream SQ was worn-out 45s played on the same crappy audio section and speakers, using a crystal cartridge and worn-out sapphire needle.

My first hand-me-down record player had a spring, a steel needle, and an acoustic reproducer.

There is simply nothing modern that compares with the horrid SQ of those days (late 1940s and early 1950s).

FM became part of the mainstream when I was in high school. But, the audio sections and speakers of mainstream FM radios was little better.

That leaves lots of listening to music in grade school and middle school that was as above.

BTW, the standard tubed output stage of the era was a SET (Single-Ended Tetrode). ;-)

Quote
It's because it's available (illegally) for free, is convenient, and is easily copied and given to friends.

It's like cassettes on steroids.


Speak of the devil! Cassette was really designed for about AM-radio quality, but with Dolby and metal tape, it could (very) roughly approximate LP and FM radio.

By the time I was in college component stereo and brown-goods audio were coming into the mainstream. The Vietnam era facilitated Pacific Rim producers  breaking into the U.S audio market with relatively high quality goods at more reasonable prices. LPs were frequently being reproduced near the practical limits of the medium, and people were dabbling with tape. It wasn't all that bad - but probably no better than 128 kbps MP3 done right.

Quote
Sound quality is irrelevant.


Sound quality is as a rule, so much higher than it ever was, if you have a true historical perspective.

Quote
However, I'm sure music matters, in the same way(s) that it always did - some of the importance is related to the actual notes being played/sung!


To non-audiophiles, that is simply how it is. You don't have to hear all the instruments to enjoy  music, just most of the notes of the basic tune. It is for sure that if you can hear all the instruments, the timbre need not exactly duplicate their live sound.


Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 2009-03-16 13:17:12
Having recently acquired the Dead Can Dance MFSL remasters in Audiophile SACD editions, I can honestly say that there's nothing quite like the experience of listening to these masterpieces in a decent stereo system - I mean decent, not absurdly expensive (mine consists of a simple Technics amplifier and a pair of Jamo speakers, both 20 years old and a €250 Cambridge Audio DVD/SACD player). The sound is just immense, crystal clear and involving in a way that no compressed digital format comes ever even close!


That's where you run headlong into science.  There's nothing audible on a SACD that 44/16 (CD format) can reproduce with complete sonic accuracy. And, there's nothing audible on a SACD that high bitrate compressed formats can't reproduce with complete sonic accuracy.

Quote
It's this apathy towards music and a disregard to any kind of knowledge about it that scares me.


I somehow sense some mixup between music and audio.

Some of the people I know who are most engaged by music, such as composers, arrangers and performers, are surprisingly accepting of you and I would agree is poor quality reproduction. For example I have a good friend with a PhD in music who directs, composes and arranges all of the time. He often makes arrangements by downloading a low-bitrate MP3, transcribing it using a MIDI jkeyboard, and then basing his arrangements on that. I have another friend who is a widely respected singer in local venues, but she practices using cassette tapes or a CD being played on a boombox.

The point is that musicians can be remarkably non-critical of SQ. Depending on their exact situation, they need only be able to figure out the basics of the melody, or at most the major parts. They don't need to hear every note played by every instrument, and they don't need to hear the instruments with natural timbre. Some instruments, particularly high range percussion, are completely dispensibe for many purposes that musicans may have, and may even be distracting to them.

That's music! It is not what we'd call good audio, but is is music and the people that work at that level are knowlegable and highly engaged with the music.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: krabapple on 2009-03-16 15:33:47
Audiophile SACD editions... The sound is just immense, crystal clear and involving in a way that no compressed digital format comes ever even close!

I realise that you're new around here, but I'd highly recommend that you read the Hydrogenaudio Terms Of Service (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=3974) (specifically TOS#8) before posting utter nonsense like this again... unless you were joking, of course.

Cheers, Slipstreem. 


Raving over Dead Can Dance SACD remasters amuses me for another reason: I have a few of the old CDs up to AION, and these were pretty frickin' amazing sounding as just plain old CDs. They were not 'loudness wars victim' CDs AFAIR.  Which brings up the question, why is a catalog deemed to be in 'need' of remastering in the first place?




Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Slipstreem on 2009-03-16 15:36:30
Which brings up the question, why is a catalog deemed to be in 'need' of remastering in the first place?

To squeeze money out of the gullible?

Cheers, Slipstreem. 
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Ron Jones on 2009-03-16 16:38:34
I'm not sure which is funnier... considering LZ an example of metal, or or hardcore.

Well, we all know that Gollum and Mordor and whatnot (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramble_On) are pretty hardcore, right?
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: YaIBetYouDo on 2009-03-16 17:54:51
I wonder how much of this sizzling mp3 is due to clipping. I recently encoded several albums for my ipod using the latest lame encoder and the V0 setting.
I was considering using mp3gain to make the percieved volume more or less the same for all tha albums and was suprised to see when using the analysis mode, almost every single track throughout the set of albums exibited clipping and mp3 gain recommended a reduction in volume in every album to eliminate this clipping, I have yet to test whether this clipping is evident in the original cd or wether the mp3 encoder is setting the volume information too high in the frame headers.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: GregDunn on 2009-03-16 18:47:10
And, also, I'd be surprised if anyone old enough to have a friend with a 15 y.o. daughter would get straight answers from said daughter; I mean, we just wouldn't understand (and, very probably, we wouldn't).


It depends on the individual, for sure.  When my daughter was 15, we used to have long discussions about musical styles and specific bands.  This led eventually to her joining a band, and introduced me to other young people who also had good awareness about music.  Today, she owns a coffee shop and I get to chat frequently with her employees and younger friends, most of whom also have surprisingly thorough knowledge of music (old and new) and styles.  I could list more examples; it may be related to the fact that I tend to hang out with educated people and their kids.  But it surely isn't a problem holding a sensible conversation with the majority of them.

Quote
And, finally, let me end this rambling rant with a reminder of Sturgeon's Revelation: "Ninety per cent of everything is crap."


Utterly true.  I have listened real-time to over 50 years of music, so I remember the 50s, the 60s, etc.  Every time someone confronts me with the inevitable "Oh, the [fill in decade] was the best; they haven't had any good music since then"  I come back immediately with "90% of it was crap.  Also 90% of the music from the 50s was crap.  And the 60s.  And..."  I switched radio stations a lot while listening, because the ratio of quality to junk was so low.  That's part of the reason I started buying records, and why I have my iPod close at hand.  I can keep that 10% from each decade all in one place and listen to what I want.  Without the scratches, warps, pressing errors, wear...

It just struck me as an amusing side observation: 128k MP3s throw away about 90% of the signal in their compression.  It surely doesn't seem to do much damage to the sound quality.  Maybe even 90% of the good stuff is crap, too.   
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: MichaelW on 2009-03-16 20:06:14
@GregDunn: your daughter, and her friends who know you, sure; teenager meeting new adult, not so much.

Hmm, a 90/10 rule. Like the old one about advertising: You can throw away 90% of music, and no one will care: the trick is knowing which 10% to keep.

From another ancient member of the Crocs 'n' iPods crowd.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: kornchild2002 on 2009-03-16 20:53:41
almost every single track throughout the set of albums exibited clipping and mp3 gain recommended a reduction in volume in every album to eliminate this clipping


There was a discussion about this a few days ago.  It seems that MP3Gain reports clipping even though it isn't always audible.  I still think it is wise to reduce the volume of tracks down to -89dB so that they all match and the affects of clipping are reduced.  Just know that the tracks that MP3Gain reports as having clipping may not have audible clipping.  That and I don't think clipping has anything to do with why mp3 is preferred.  Clipping will be there whether people listen to an audio CD or an mp3 ripped from that audio CD.  More than likely, the sound of mp3 may be preferred (given that this test was actually blind and scientific) simply because people have become used to it.  I remember when I used to listen for that hiss when playing my cassette tapes.  In fact, I purchased Korn's self-titled album on cassette and then purchased it on CD later that year (1994) as I purchased my first CD player.  I was disappointed when I didn't hear what I thought was a standard audible hiss.  I don't know if that is the case with what this study was trying to prove as the methodology has come into question and so has the encoder settings.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: GregDunn on 2009-03-17 03:14:40
@GregDunn: your daughter, and her friends who know you, sure; teenager meeting new adult, not so much.


Agreed; but music makes a great conversation starter. 

Quote
Hmm, a 90/10 rule. Like the old one about advertising: You can throw away 90% of music, and no one will care: the trick is knowing which 10% to keep.


Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle. 
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Axon on 2009-03-17 03:34:05
@GregDunn: your daughter, and her friends who know you, sure; teenager meeting new adult, not so much.


Agreed; but music makes a great conversation starter. 
Actually no. Musical tastes are a private matter for many people. I myself have a rather uncomfortable habit of expressing what has been construed as naked condescension in music discussions IRL (which I do need to work on), sooo it's often a pretty good idea to keep my opinions to myself.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: singaiya on 2009-03-17 05:03:57
Yeah it depends, but for me it brings people together. My closest and oldest friend I met because I was wearing a band shirt he liked so we started talking music. We talk or hang out on a weekly basis still and we met in 1991.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: DyingSun on 2009-03-17 11:26:03
I realise that you're new around here, but I'd highly recommend that you read the Hydrogenaudio Terms Of Service (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=3974) (specifically TOS#8) before posting utter nonsense like this again... unless you were joking, of course.


Well, so much for a welcoming message...

I had no idea you needed a PhD in physics and an audio lab set up at home to substantiate your personal opinions.
With the TOS article you mention in mind, it seems to me that your comment represents as much nonsense as mine, with the added rudeness towards a newcomer that you so arrogantly display.

I sincerely have no further interest in collaborating in this or any other discussion in such an elitist forum.

Regards,
J.C.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Slipstreem on 2009-03-17 11:48:11
There's nothing even remotely elitist about this forum. If there was, I'd certainly have no interest in it. I was merely pointing out the rules that you agreed to when joining this forum. I wasn't being deliberately rude.

Your statement of...

Quote
The sound is just immense, crystal clear and involving in a way that no compressed digital format comes ever even close!

(emboldened for clarity of my point)

...looked more like a statement of fact than personal opinion to me. If that's not the case then I apologise for any upset caused. On the other hand, if you're saying that SA-CD is sonically better than a properly used lossy format then you have to substantiate that claim.

This could easily be done by yourself at no expense by comparing the two with Foobar2000 and the ABX Comparator tool that comes with it. Your personal scientifically-proven findings would interest many of us here, I'm sure.

I don't make the rules, I just do my best to stick to them, as do all the other members. As long as you do likewise you'll be made to feel welcome.

Cheers, Slipstreem. 
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: kornchild2002 on 2009-03-17 12:19:00
Well, so much for a welcoming message...


Well, so much for someone actually reading the rules (terms of service) before they post.  The terms of service apply to people regardless of how new or how long they have been here.

I had no idea you needed a PhD in physics and an audio lab set up at home to substantiate your personal opinions.
With the TOS article you mention in mind, it seems to me that your comment represents as much nonsense as mine, with the added rudeness towards a newcomer that you so arrogantly display.


You don't.  The terms of service (TOS) were made to stop unsubstantiated claims.  Terms like more full, warmer, natural sounding, etc. are often used by self-proclaimed "audiophiles" who would rather spend $200 on an RCA analog cable than take blind ABS tests proving their points.  The TOS are designed to stop people like this and to stop new people from making bogus claims without conducting the proper double blind tests to backup their claims.  Otherwise anyone can make audio claims and expect to be believed.  The TOS also help clear things up for someone who just joined the site looking for answers or someone conducting a Google search.

I sincerely have no further interest in collaborating in this or any other discussion in such an elitist forum.


Well, your loss.  I don't see why you should get all up in arms over this especially since Slipstreem was nice about things.  They could have been an ass by making a truly negative reply, reporting you to the mods/admins, and having your account banned.  Did that happen?  No, they simply pointed you to the TOS (something of which EVERYONE needs to follow) and said that you need to substantiate your claims.  I don't see what the big deal is.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: DyingSun on 2009-03-17 12:35:06
There's nothing even remotely elitist about this forum. If there was, I'd certainly have no interest in it. I was merely pointing out the rules that you agreed to when joining this forum. I wasn't being deliberately rude.

Your statement of...

Quote
The sound is just immense, crystal clear and involving in a way that no compressed digital format comes ever even close!

(emboldened for clarity of my point)

...looked more like a statement of fact than personal opinion to me. If that's not the case then I apologise for any upset caused. On the other hand, if you're saying that SA-CD is sonically better than a properly used lossy format then you have to substantiate that claim.

This could easily be done by yourself at no expense by comparing the two with Foobar2000 and the ABX Comparator tool that comes with it. Your personal scientifically-proven findings would interest many of us here, I'm sure.

I don't make the rules, I just do my best to stick to them, as do all the other members. As long as you do likewise you'll be made to feel welcome.

Cheers, Slipstreem. 


Perhaps I should rephrase that as: "...in a way that no compressed digital format came ever even close in my experience". It is, as I said, a personal opinion, like most music-related discussions are matters of personal taste.

I never intended to prove anything scientifically, because reducing the music-listening experience to a pile of numbers and graphs is such a narrow-minded way of looking at an incredibly complex subject. It has a lot more to do with the way it "feels" than the way it's actually (digitally) written down.

Furthermore, I mentioned the Dead Can Dance SACDs just for the sake of an example... not for the being SACDs per se, but for being albums I am particularly familiar with and which were recently released in such wonderfully remastered editions (and please don't ask me to prove that they're good remasters, I just know they are, as I've lived with the previous versions for many years).

And while a 256k/AAC compressed track from of one of those albums (and I mean the stereo layer, nevermind the SACD thing) sounds great, it lacks something in the listening experience, when compared to the actual CD (or SACD, for that matter). I can't tell you exactly what's missing, but it simply doesn't sound the same way. As I said, it's not as immense, clear or involving, namely in the lower frequencies. I can't explain it any better, it's just the way it feels.

(Off-topic, how can I revert the forum layout to a straight list of complete posts, instead of having the first post and a summary tree below?)
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Soap on 2009-03-17 12:43:33
Perhaps I should rephrase that as: "...in a way that no compressed digital format came ever even close in my experience". It is, as I said, a personal opinion, like most music-related discussions are matters of personal taste.

While this statement might be on the edge of what is allowed here...
And while a 256k/AAC compressed track from of one of those albums (and I mean the stereo layer, nevermind the SACD thing) sounds great, it lacks something in the listening experience, when compared to the actual CD (or SACD, for that matter).

Is clearly beyond.
You might not fully understand the point of HydrogenAudio.  What you describe above is 100% testable.  100% objective.  That's who we are, that's where you are:  HydrogenAudio.org is an objectivist board.
I can't tell you exactly what's missing, but it simply doesn't sound the same way. As I said, it's not as immense, clear or involving, namely in the lower frequencies. I can't explain it any better, it's just the way it feels.
 
While it would be cool and helpful to all if you could describe the subjective difference between the two versions, that's not required.
What is required, though, is that you prove you can discern an objective difference before continuing with such claims.  That's the nature of the beast, the point of this board.

From your own description of your claim, an ABX test (http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=ABX) should prove quite simple, easy, and consume little time.  The fact it is required is just part of the social contract here.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Slipstreem on 2009-03-17 12:54:08
In short, excluding any visual input, the "feel" of the music will be absolutely identical if there is no audible difference. You can only prove that there is an audible difference (to you) by carrying out ABX tests. If there isn't an audible difference then that's undeniable proof that the "feel" is down to placebo effect and is in no way real.

We deal in reality here, not make-believe. That's why it's such a popular place for audio lovers who live in the real world.

Cheers, Slipstreem. 
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: 2Bdecided on 2009-03-17 13:20:41
if you're saying that SA-CD is sonically better than a properly used lossy format then you have to substantiate that claim.

This could easily be done by yourself at no expense by comparing the two with Foobar2000 and the ABX Comparator tool that comes with it.
I think you will struggle to run SACD through the fb2k ABX comparator - or fb2k itself, for that matter, unless there's a DSD plug-in and DSD sound card that I've missed!

You can do it with a hardware ABX box. It's been done, and been reported in the Audio Engineering Society journal (with some controversy). There were some threads about it here last year.

Cheers,
David.

Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Slipstreem on 2009-03-17 13:48:45
Fair point. But someone around here must know what the sample-rate and bit-depth are and I'd be surprised if there weren't some legitimately downloadable samples somewhere in a 'friendlier' format for comparison against a self-made lossy version in Foobar2000. Either way, I think we already know what the conclusion will be from many trips down a similar road.

Cheers, Slipstreem. 
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: DyingSun on 2009-03-17 14:56:17
Good lord!

I really don't know why I wasted my time trying to further explain my point of view.

It's alright, I get it. You don't care about opinions here, only numbers and scientific facts. Well, fine, but sorry to disappoint you folks, the real world is much richer and complex than that.

It's just funny that I find so many personal opinions scattered around these forums and nobody gives a damn, so I don't understand why you're nit-picking with me... Furthermore, I don't see the point of a public forum if one can't state his opinion on matters, that's so silly, namely on a topic which essencially involves personal taste (shall I remind you that the topic's title is ""Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred"?!). But then, I guess you really don't care and the purpose of whoever started this topic was to make a scientific analysis of taste. Good luck with that.

So, this time's for real, this is my last post here.
No bad feelings, I'll simply spend my precious free time in a place where I can breathe and share my points of view. That is what a forum is about.

Cheers!
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Slipstreem on 2009-03-17 15:17:16
It's alright, I get it. You don't care about opinions here, only numbers and scientific facts. Well, fine, but sorry to disappoint you folks, the real world is much richer and complex than that.

The world of sound comes down to what an individual person can or cannot hear. That can be proved or disproved scientifically. It's as simple as that.

Quote
It's just funny that I find so many personal opinions scattered around these forums and nobody gives a damn, so I don't understand why you're nit-picking with me...

Nobody is nit-picking. All of the personal opinions you see around here are based upon scientific fact. If not, they are almost always challenged.

Quote
Furthermore, I don't see the point of a public forum if one can't state his opinion on matters, that's so silly...

See above.

Quote
...namely on a topic which essencially involves personal taste (shall I remind you that the topic's title is ""Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred"?!). But then, I guess you really don't care and the purpose of whoever started this topic was to make a scientific analysis of taste. Good luck with that.

The title of this thread is taken directly from the article under discussion. There wouldn't be much sense in calling it anything else, would there?

Quote
So, this time's for real, this is my last post here.

I bet it isn't.

Quote
No bad feelings, I'll simply spend my precious free time in a place where I can breathe and share my points of view. That is what a forum is about.

That's exactly what the HA forums are all about if the points of view and opinions expressed are based in fact. All HA members have to be prepared to be challenged if the validity of their point of view or opinion flies in the face of already known (or already thought to be known) facts.

Bye... for now.

Cheers, Slipstreem. 
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: HotshotGG on 2009-03-17 15:33:56
Quote
I never intended to prove anything scientifically, because reducing the music-listening experience to a pile of numbers and graphs is such a narrow-minded way of looking at an incredibly complex subject. It has a lot more to do with the way it "feels" than the way it's actually (digitally) written down.

Furthermore, I mentioned the Dead Can Dance SACDs just for the sake of an example... not for the being SACDs per se, but for being albums I am particularly familiar with and which were recently released in such wonderfully remastered editions (and please don't ask me to prove that they're good remasters, I just know they are, as I've lived with the previous versions for many years).

And while a 256k/AAC compressed track from of one of those albums (and I mean the stereo layer, nevermind the SACD thing) sounds great, it lacks something in the listening experience, when compared to the actual CD (or SACD, for that matter). I can't tell you exactly what's missing, but it simply doesn't sound the same way. As I said, it's not as immense, clear or involving, namely in the lower frequencies. I can't explain it any better, it's just the way it feels.


The way it "feels" in the scientific world is just the "placebo effect". This kind of terminology would be acceptable in a musical critical listening and analysis lab, but doesn't fly here. Even if you found a remaster that was consider "good" that does not mean every remaster is good. I don't think you have heard of the "loudness war" recently? you might want to familiarize yourself with that.  The last paragraph is complete BS. If you were to provide an ABX test to proove that you could actually hear a difference I would believe you. The bottom line is you aren't the first person to visit HA and describe this audiophile garbage and you certainly won't be the last 
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: kornchild2002 on 2009-03-17 16:46:22
Good lord!

I really don't know why I wasted my time trying to further explain my point of view.


You should have read the TOS first and then posted.  It is fine that you have a personal opinion.  As you said, opinions are stated here all the time especially when someone asks about which lossy format to use and at what bitrate.  However, the bitrate portion is backed up by personal experiments.  Otherwise people will just brush them off.  This also stop people from making audiophool statements such as more full, warmer, less harsh, etc.  You want forums that allow you to express your opinion using such jargon?  Good.  Hydrogenaudio won't be for you then.  Imagine if someone were to come on these forums and the TOS weren't in place.  They would see all sorts of negative BS that would turn them completely away from iPods, make them listen to SACD/DVD-A only, think that vinyl is still the absolute best format on Earth, think that lossless files aren't lossless, and think that blind ABX tests are only for people who are stupid and picky.  I am sorry but hydrogenaudio just isn't the kind of place that will allow such nonsense as it can confuse new people, people who are searching, and goes against theories where people should backup their claims.  Hell, if people didn't backup their claims, we would have a world filled drugs promising to cure cancer and the value of the dollar would be a lot less.

So you can either conform to hydrogenaudio's TOS like everyone else (EVERYONE must conform to the TOS no matter how new or how seasoned they are) or find some other audiophool forums that live off of nonsense and loose jargon (warm, fuller, something is missing, etc.).
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: 2Bdecided on 2009-03-17 18:10:01
Fair point. But someone around here must know what the sample-rate and bit-depth are
Of course - the sample rate is 2.8224MHz (64x44.1) and the bitdepth is 1-bit.

While the datarate is easily manageable these days, there are no sound cards that accept and D>A convert a 1-bit 2.8224MHz input (AFAIK).

Aside: does anyone have a sample DSD stream? AFAIK SACD has never been ripped, but I could be wrong.

Cheers,
David.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Axon on 2009-03-17 19:12:13
This is what I posted as I reply to the original article, plus some additional thoughts...

Having recently acquired the Dead Can Dance MFSL remasters in Audiophile SACD editions, I can honestly say that there's nothing quite like the experience of listening to these masterpieces in a decent stereo system - I mean decent, not absurdly expensive (mine consists of a simple Technics amplifier and a pair of Jamo speakers, both 20 years old and a €250 Cambridge Audio DVD/SACD player). The sound is just immense, crystal clear and involving in a way that no compressed digital format comes ever even close! But at the same time, I enjoy listening to my home-made 256k/AAC tracks in my iPhone every day. Amidst all the noise of a working place or as background music while reading, they're perfectly fine. And quite convenient!
All this to say that each thing has its own place. One is not meant to replace the other, as the experience is clearly different (and whoever thinks it isn't, simply hasn't listened to music on a decent stereo system).

I'd add that, like others mentioned, younger generations have far more serious issues regarding music apprecitaion than preferring MP3s to high quality recordings. I believe Mike's conversation with that young kid (putting aside an awkward definition of Metal  ) quite accurately represents the worst about nowadays' musical "panorama". Most people simply don't care what they listen to. And it's not a matter of taste and other subjective (and pointless) considerations. It's really a matter of not caring at all. They're fed the mainstream radio playlists (which are all the same) or the illegal downloads of the latest mainstream hype and they're happy enjoying it for a couple of weeks until the next mainstream hype turns up and replaces the previous one on their iPods. Most of the times, most people don't even know what they're listening to! Why? Because their illegal MP3s don't carry the respective tags.

It's this apathy towards music and a disregard to any kind of knowledge about it that scares me.


We just ran a guy out of town on TOS8 because of that?


A couple posters on this thread need to start taking their meds.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Slipstreem on 2009-03-17 20:32:56
You know that's not true, Axon. 90% of the post is absolutely fine, so why quote all of it?

Nobody chased anyone anywhere. DyingSun seems to have decided that the Terms Of Service are stupid and don't need to be followed. He clearly argues with them and says that he has no intention of complying with them. Aren't they there for everybody's benefit? I think so. He's been treated in exactly the same way as anyone else who behaves in the same way, so why are you getting your panties in a bunch over it? 

Cheers, Slipstreem. 
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Axon on 2009-03-17 20:43:04
If your sole first response to a post is a TOS8 warning, you are being a pedant and are being needlessly argumentative. I mean, jesus... you're not even a mod. You are doing something that isn't even your job.

If your sole response to a post is a TOS warning, do not reply to it, REPORT IT. The (!) button is there for a reason. Hell, flag my post too if you want to be fair about it, it's a pretty deliberate TOS2.

If you feel the desire to respond, do so on the merits, like what Arny did. That approach is just as assertive of the principles of the forum, with the added bonus of not pissing people off as much. And, you know... when I have to compliment Arny on being non-argumentative, something's wrong.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Slipstreem on 2009-03-17 20:53:19
So report me for helping to uphold the rules when there seemed to be no Mods around to do it for us. It's not just the Mods who are under this obligation you know. Officially maybe, but morally, no!

I'll take the alternative route of sneaking around behind people's backs like a coward if it makes the powers that be happy, but I'd rather be a man and be upfront about it if given the opportunity.

Cheers, Slipstreem. 
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Axon on 2009-03-17 21:24:08
Are you kidding me? HA is one of the most actively moderated (and well-moderated) sites out there. If you want to see scarce mods... look at Head-Fi. Or Audio Asylum. But definitely don't look here.

But, it does rely on users bringing stuff to the mods' attention (like many good forums do). If you have a problem with a post, and you report it, in my experience, the mods take care of it quite quickly - if they agree with the problem.

It's a lot more cowardly to hide behind TOS8 in an argument than to take the time and effort to construct a cogent and reasoned response.

Morality has nothing to do with this. Actually, I take that back - if you want to talk morality, you're on the wrong side. It seems to me like you are framing this in an us-vs-them mentality - that there are offenders who are to be punished, and that reporting the offense is morally just. That's an extremely counterproductive strategy that perpetuates the myth that HA is a board that's out of touch with reality, overargumentative, spiteful, etc. Which is something I hear a lot out of the audiophile boards.

That's only as true as we want it to be. Some of the people making those statements really are douches, but some of them aren't. TOS8 is an extremely high bar for new posters to surpass. It is a counterintuitive rule that most lay people simply do not use in normal human conversation. Helping posters make that bar - and by extension, growing the community, helping as many people as possible, and improving the mindshare of pro-DBT opinions - requires reasoned and empathetic discussion, not brickbats. Insofar as those goals are moral, what you're doing isn't.

I'm being especially hard on you here, but if you're confident enough to be righteous about this, you better be able to take it just as well as you can dish it.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Slipstreem on 2009-03-17 21:46:38
I'm not going to allow myself to be dragged into a protracted and, in my personal opinion, convoluted argument about the rights and wrongs of what's happened here because that would do more damage to the reputation of HA than the simple act of a public pointing out of a TOS violation by a concerned and enthusiastic member who genuinely believed that he was doing the right thing.

I will suggest, however, that anyone reading this exchange between myself and Axon reads the preceeding posts that lead to it and see that I'm not the only one who considered this the right thing to do and that others were actually vitriolic in their responses where I had merely been factual. I seem to be being singled out as an example of all that's bad about this forum, and I'm none too happy about it.

These are my last words on this subject publicly although I'll happily discuss my behaviour with an Admin or Moderator via PM if they consider it necessary, and any changes deemed necessary in my behaviour when visiting HA will be made gladly with immediate effect.

Cheers, Slipstreem. 
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: rpp3po on 2009-03-17 21:54:09
While the datarate is easily manageable these days, there are no sound cards that accept and D>A convert a 1-bit 2.8224MHz input (AFAIK).


Maybe the following algorithm would work for a conversion:

Convert the bitstream to 2822400 32-bit samples per second: The first sample is 0. Each next sample is the preceding sample +1 for any 1 in the SACD-stream and -1 for any 0. Now form blocks of 147 samples each and average them to get a 192khz/32-bit stream. This conversion would be lossless within the range of 0-96khz (most people arount here can only hear up to 18khz or less) and 192db dynamic range (enough to make you deaf within seconds).

As far as I can understand it Sony chose the 1-bit path solely for patenting reasons (to have control over the technology behind the new HD audio marketing). A 192khz PCM track can be filtered as easily from quantization noise as a 2.8224 Mhz track, even when you want to preserve several times the range of human hearing from filtering artifacts. There really isn't any practical difference.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Axon on 2009-03-17 22:00:11
I will follow Slipstreem's (excellent) lead and discontinue this line of argument, and for that sake, avoid replying to his above post.  I've said what I thought needed to be said - and admittedly with a sizable amount of insult thrown in that probably should not have been there - and I can live with this result.

Mods might wish to split off my post and subsequent replies, because it is, admittedly, completely OT.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Sound-of-Muzak on 2009-03-17 22:08:26
I'm not going to allow myself to be dragged into a protracted and, in my personal opinion, convoluted argument about the rights and wrongs of what's happened here because that would do more damage to the reputation of HA than the simple act of a public pointing out of a TOS violation by a concerned and enthusiastic member who genuinely believed that he was doing the right thing.

I will suggest, however, that anyone reading this exchange between myself and Axon reads the preceeding posts that lead to it and see that I'm not the only one who considered this the right thing to do and that others were actually vitriolic in their responses where I had merely been factual. I seem to be being singled out as an example of all that's bad about this forum, and I'm none too happy about it.

These are my last words on this subject publicly although I'll happily discuss my behaviour with an Admin or Moderator via PM if they consider it necessary, and any changes deemed necessary in my behaviour when visiting HA will be made gladly with immediate effect.

Cheers, Slipstreem. 


Damn, you should be a lawyer
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: kornchild2002 on 2009-03-17 23:04:05
I seem to be being singled out as an example of all that's bad about this forum, and I'm none too happy about it.


I can't speak for the mods/admins but I wouldn't worry.  I thought you were spot on with trying to advise either someone who was new or an obvious troll (I am leaning towards the latter).  Hell, if your comments need to be edited then so do many other people's including myself.  I am not sure why that user decided to single you out other than you have an opinion and pointing the rules that everyone must follow (I guess they thought they were exempt from the rules).  Oh well, I think I will follow in your footsteps and not further comment if that user decides to come back.  I would like to know more information about the actual topic (ie the "test" that was conducted) but I don't know if the person who conducted the test will let us in on what they did.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Axon on 2009-03-17 23:17:13
Going back on topic.

The way the press has handled this has been just breathtakingly dishonest. Not merely lazy or stupid - simply manipulative and catering to people's prejudice against lossy formats. Several news sources are claiming this was a blind test. In reality, there was only one person who actually scooped this - Dale Dougherty for an O'Reilly blog - and he didn't mention anything about blind testing. As far asi I can tell, from Berger's actual statements, the idea that this test was conducted blind is an outright lie. Never happened.

Some news sites are even going so far as to say that Berger published a paper.... when in reality he simply was on what appears to be some fluff panel at an Academy of Arts and Science conference and mentioned these results in his 20-minute time block or something like that. About as non-peer-reviewed of a forum as one could get. Again, the notion that this was any kind of study or paper - in the sense of being scientifically valid and peer reviewed - is a pure interpolation on the part of the media to make this study sound more conclusive than it really is.

And oh, even though this is a scientific study, you couldn't expect a journalist to, you know, look for some kind of dissenting expert opinion for such an obviously speculative result. No. That's just asking too much of course. Instead they are interviewing a lot of yes men (http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/personal_tech/article5847674.ece) - producers and engineers who have literally no competence to evaluate the merits of the study.

I suppose that anybody who pays attention to how science is handled in the media is not surprised at any of this (David and jj can chime here anytime with how often journalists have twisted their words), but this hits unusually close to home and covers a very broad range of topics.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: HotshotGG on 2009-03-18 01:56:50
Quote
Some news sites are even going so far as to say that Berger published a paper.... when in reality he simply was on what appears to be some fluff panel at an Academy of Arts and Science conference and mentioned these results in his 20-minute time block or something like that. About as non-peer-reviewed of a forum as one could get. Again, the notion that this was any kind of study or paper - in the sense of being scientifically valid and peer reviewed - is a pure interpolation on the part of the media to make this study sound more conclusive than it really is.

And oh, even though this is a scientific study, you couldn't expect a journalist to, you know, look for some kind of dissenting expert opinion for such an obviously speculative result. No. That's just asking too much of course. Instead they are interviewing a lot of yes men - producers and engineers who have literally no competence to evaluate the merits of the study.


It's this kind of BS third hand reporting that we are constantly bombarbed with, because of internet outlets. One person picked up the story and then everyone else jumped on without even questioning whether or not the tests he performed were blind-listening tests. This is how FUD and misinformation spread like a wild fire your absolutely right. I think I am through venting. Did Professor Berger even bother to e-mail you back or was he soaking up the fame with his BS 20 minute conference about more utter BS? We can't allow people to merily get away with this garbage.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: 2Bdecided on 2009-03-18 10:08:40
I think this is how journalism has always worked.

Certainly accurate reporting of anything vaguely scientific / technical is in the tiny minority - even if you only read "quality" newspapers.

I suspect accurate reporting of anything is a minority activity for almost all news outlets - it's only in areas where you have a personal interest that this becomes so apparent.

Sorry to sound so cynical.


@rpp3po,

Yes, you can convert it, but then it's not DSD - I think Arny has already covered this in the SACD thread - while many a rational person would say "it's as good as DSD", DSD proponents will only accept DSD itself in the comparison, not some PCM conversion sourced from DSD.

Cheers,
David.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: rpp3po on 2009-03-18 11:08:11
@rpp3po,

Yes, you can convert it, but then it's not DSD - I think Arny has already covered this in the SACD thread - while many a rational person would say "it's as good as DSD", DSD proponents will only accept DSD itself in the comparison, not some PCM conversion sourced from DSD.


Both input and output sets are recursively enumerable. I'm pretty sure it could be proven mathematically within which bounds (frequency and dynamic range) this conversion would be possible without loss of any information. It's funny how a marketing gag can set off such religious, irrefutable confidence.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 2009-03-18 12:05:10
@rpp3po,

Yes, you can convert it, but then it's not DSD - I think Arny has already covered this in the SACD thread - while many a rational person would say "it's as good as DSD", DSD proponents will only accept DSD itself in the comparison, not some PCM conversion sourced from DSD.


Both input and output sets are recursively enumerable. I'm pretty sure it could be proven mathematically within which bounds (frequency and dynamic range) this conversion would be possible without loss of any information. It's funny how a marketing gag can set off such religious, irrefutable confidence.


Vanderkooy and Lipshitz would know. ;-)

I can see no reason to invest energy in issues related to SACD because it seems to be yet another dead format. Ironically, SACD appears to be a format that never really existed, in the sense that V&L proved that a *pure* conversion from analog to DSD cannot be performed without creating artifacts, and even Sony admited that they resolved this issue by using a hybrid DSD/PCM converter.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: HotshotGG on 2009-03-18 12:28:37
Quote
Certainly accurate reporting of anything vaguely scientific / technical is in the tiny minority - even if you only read "quality" newspapers.


Nobody puts journalists on the spot enough for their inaccurate reporting. Having taken a Journalism class I understand when you are writing a story you need to simplify a lot of technical jargon for the lay person to understand that I am ok with. The thing that bothers me is when "quality" journalists if there are any "left" take stories and butcher them without doing a fact checking first. That's what I mean about "third hand" reporting as opposed to the "first hand" reporting we used to all be familiar with. Any idiot can write a "news" article today. That's just my two cents. 
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: rpp3po on 2009-03-18 14:09:03
I can see no reason to invest energy in issues related to SACD because it seems to be yet another dead format. Ironically, SACD appears to be a format that never really existed, in the sense that V&L proved that a *pure* conversion from analog to DSD cannot be performed without creating artifacts, and even Sony admited that they resolved this issue by using a hybrid DSD/PCM converter.


The point with the V&L paper, as I read it, is that you can't do useful things like dithering properly with a 1 bit stream. So to say that at a given data rate r1 a properly dithered PCM stream will always be better (better SNR, etc.) than a DSD stream at r1 is true. It doesn't say that it would be impossible, given pair of SNR and frequency range, to perfectly capture this with DSD at a data rate r2. You just have to increase r2 until SNR and captured frequency range surpass your chosen limits. The data rate of SACD is large enough to cover a much larger spectrum than CD audio perfectly (without V&L's flaws within the audible range). It could just be even "better" if the same data rate had been spent for a properly dithered PCM stream. Since both would be far above what's needed (~100db, 0-20khz), that's, of course, purely theoretical.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: 2Bdecided on 2009-03-18 17:12:55
I'm pretty sure it could be proven mathematically within which bounds (frequency and dynamic range) this conversion would be possible without loss of any information. It's funny how a marketing gag can set off such religious, irrefutable confidence.
But the bounds of DSD are ~ 1MHz (with a low SNR!  ) in the frequency domain, and ~120dB (with a low bandwidth!  ) in the dynamic range domain.

It wasn't marketing. I met the people who designed it. They had the Columbia archive to digitise (Sony bought Columbia) and the best ADCs at the time were 1-bit 64fs. In conventional CD use, the output of 1-bit ADCs was filtered digitally, giving 16- to 24-bit @ 44.1kHz - then noise-shaped down to 16-bits. They thought, quite logically, why bother with those last stages? Just store the 1-bit 64fs version so there's as much data as possible to work with in the future. So they did.

Then someone had the bright idea of making a commercial format out of it, and someone else had to figure out how to process this stuff. The answer, usually, was to turn it into PCM. The other irony is that by the time it was a commercial format, the "best" converters were no longer 1-bit, so the entire (dubious) justification for the format had gone.

I'm guessing this (and more!) is all documented in the SACD thread.

Cheers,
David.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: rpp3po on 2009-03-18 17:22:32
When doing a D-D conversion from DSD to PCM you can chose arbitrary bounds like, for example, 100db SNR and 20 khz bandwidth. Within those bounds conversion should be provable lossless, shouldn't it, if those bounds neither exceed the input nor the output format's capabilities?

But that's interesting background info about the format's roots...
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Mike19 on 2009-03-18 17:48:40
I apologize for bringing this thread back to Rule #8, but as a newcomer to this forum, I am confused.

If I posted the following would it violate Rule #8?

" My CD of Led Zeppelin II sounds better to me on my system than the MP3 version that I downloaded from Walmart."

Thank you.

Mike
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: rpp3po on 2009-03-18 18:04:50
I apologize for bringing this thread back to Rule #8, but as a newcomer to this forum, I am confused.

If I posted the following would it violate Rule #8?

" My CD of Led Zeppelin II sounds better to me on my system than the MP3 version that I downloaded from Walmart."

Thank you.

Mike


If this comparison was time-synced, level matched, and blind no. If it wasn't, this statement isn't worth a penny and a waste of space here. If you do a proper comparison eliminating any placebo effects, you're welcome.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Slipstreem on 2009-03-18 18:08:46
Just ignore me. Hissy-fit over. Humble apologies. 
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: greynol on 2009-03-18 18:17:24
Qualifying a statement with "IMO" does not absolve you from TOS #8.

However, regarding the claim on Led Zeppelin II, it could be that you're comparing different masterings and prefer one over the other.

If you're comparing your CD and a 64-kbit forced-stereo encoded mp3 created from the CD and say you like the sound of the CD better I don't think anyone is going to challenge you.  If you compare it with a 320 kbit mp3 and say you hear a difference in "soundstage" then be prepared to provide DBT results.

I think people (including myself!) should try to be a bit more polite to newbies by attempting to point them in the right direction rather than bashing them over the head right out of the gate.  At the same time, I don't think I'm alone in saying that as a moderator I appreciate it when people do point out the rules to those who violate them.  Just make sure you don't treat people disrespectfully (TOS #2) and you don't drag the discussion too far off topic (TOS #5).  We usually grant people more than enough allowance regarding both of these rules, especially when it's clear that the violator has no interest in following the rules himself.

Please play on (play through, whatever)!
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: krabapple on 2009-03-18 19:58:58
We just ran a guy out of town on TOS8 because of that?



No, more because of the unfortunate nonsense he spewed *after* that.



Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: krabapple on 2009-03-18 20:04:36
Yes, you can convert it, but then it's not DSD - I think Arny has already covered this in the SACD thread - while many a rational person would say "it's as good as DSD", DSD proponents will only accept DSD itself in the comparison, not some PCM conversion sourced from DSD.

Cheers,
David.



IIRC SACD copy protection has never been hacked, but there is a company out there that (for a hefty fee) will modify an SACD player to tap the digital stream directly from the DAC....presumably bypassing the copy protection that otehr digital transmission technology (HDMI  and ilink) afford to DSD.


Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: krabapple on 2009-03-18 20:08:17
I'm pretty sure it could be proven mathematically within which bounds (frequency and dynamic range) this conversion would be possible without loss of any information. It's funny how a marketing gag can set off such religious, irrefutable confidence.
But the bounds of DSD are ~ 1MHz (with a low SNR!  ) in the frequency domain, and ~120dB (with a low bandwidth!  ) in the dynamic range domain.

It wasn't marketing. I met the people who designed it. They had the Columbia archive to digitise (Sony bought Columbia) and the best ADCs at the time were 1-bit 64fs. In conventional CD use, the output of 1-bit ADCs was filtered digitally, giving 16- to 24-bit @ 44.1kHz - then noise-shaped down to 16-bits. They thought, quite logically, why bother with those last stages? Just store the 1-bit 64fs version so there's as much data as possible to work with in the future. So they did.

Then someone had the bright idea of making a commercial format out of it, and someone else had to figure out how to process this stuff. The answer, usually, was to turn it into PCM. The other irony is that by the time it was a commercial format, the "best" converters were no longer 1-bit, so the entire (dubious) justification for the format had gone.

I'm guessing this (and more!) is all documented in the SACD thread.

Cheers,
David.



Yup, that's the way I heard it to.  An archiving medium (with simple transcodability to standard PCM formats) was rejiggered to be a consumer delivery format...for reasons that were certainly not all about sound.  (Did I mention that SACD DRM has never been hacked?)
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: krabapple on 2009-03-18 20:09:50
Just ignore me. Although HA will always be my reading reference for the absolute truth on audio, I'm off to spend more time in less stifled environments. Please ban my account to save me from further temptation. Bye.




Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Slipstreem on 2009-03-18 20:33:59
See re-edited post. Hissy-fit over and apologies offered.

Cheers, Slipstreem. 
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: 2Bdecided on 2009-03-19 11:07:07
When doing a D-D conversion from DSD to PCM you can chose arbitrary bounds like, for example, 100db SNR and 20 khz bandwidth. Within those bounds conversion should be provable lossless, shouldn't it, if those bounds neither exceed the input nor the output format's capabilities?
100dB SNR, 20kHz bandwidth? That's a CD! (with noise shaped dither).

Cheers,
David.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: rpp3po on 2009-03-19 13:11:20
200 points for 2Bdecided! 
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Kees de Visser on 2009-03-19 13:39:11
200 points for 2Bdecided! 
There are another 200 points available for the proof of a lossless conversion.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: rpp3po on 2009-03-19 13:54:48
And 200 points for Kees de Visser for missing Member No. 22222 by 2! 
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: 2Bdecided on 2009-03-19 15:10:48
...what do points make?


Cheers,
David.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Slipstreem on 2009-03-19 15:31:27
Sparks if the condenser has failed?

Cheers, Slipstreem. 
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Nick.C on 2009-03-19 15:33:11
Prizes!
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Anas on 2009-03-19 16:03:37
They bloat the thread.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: 2Bdecided on 2009-03-19 16:43:24
Prizes!
It was a little unfair of me - I doubt  Bruce Forsyth (or Humphrey Lyttelton) are that well known outside of the UK!


Back on topic: there's no guarantee that there's duality in this conversion - CD>SACD and SACD>CD will only meet the "lossless" requirements with appropriate noise shaping in both directions. It's the noise shaping that makes or breaks this (both ways).

Cheers,
David.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 2009-03-19 19:23:30
Back on topic: there's no guarantee that there's duality in this conversion - CD>SACD and SACD>CD will only meet the "lossless" requirements with appropriate noise shaping in both directions. It's the noise shaping that makes or breaks this (both ways).


So what does lossless mean?

* Bit perfect?

Kinda tough when bits mean different things!

* No audible differences?

Makes some sense, but I predict objections. ;-)

* Identical bandwidth and dynamic range, or very nearly so?

What does very nearly so mean? ;-)

Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: 2Bdecided on 2009-03-19 21:52:35
I don't know what lossless means in this context.

However, if the noise floor of medium B is clearly higher than that of medium A, then converting from medium A to medium B cannot be lossless for all possible signals on medium A.


We could have an interesting discussion on this lossless / not lossless point, but I don't think there's any point. The proposed transform wouldn't satisfy DSD proponents that you were testing DSD any more.

Cheers,
David.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Axon on 2009-03-19 22:12:17
... I had a very witty comment here on the DSD lossless thing, but in light of all the drama in this thread, I think it's probably poor form to openly flout TOS5.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: rpp3po on 2009-03-19 22:48:09

***Please close this thread in violation of TOS42***
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: 2Bdecided on 2009-03-19 23:44:46
42?!

We haven't got anywhere near the meaning of life yet.


If lossless = reversible, we have a problem - since each single conversion isn't even repeatable unless you re-set the noise shapers to the exact same state each time.

Cheers,
David.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: rpp3po on 2009-03-20 00:08:13
Noise shaping is not imperative. If you don't do it, you just waste a bit or two worth of (theoretically achievable) SNR. At 16 bits that's too much, but at 24 bit, for example, no big deal.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: 2Bdecided on 2009-03-20 10:36:31
True - but DSD is entirely noise shaping.

So DSD > anything > DSD doesn't give you the original signal back unless you work very hard to do so. "anything" really could be almost anything - even a hypothetical analogue system with infinite bandwidth and no noise - and it would still be irreversible unless extreme care was taken with the second DSD stage - and even then, I don't believe you could get the same numbers back.

You could cheat, simply adding extra zero samples or bits to the DSD, and then removing them again - that shows it's possible to convert DSD to something else, and back to DSD again, in a lossless and reversible manner - but it's not very useful.


This is all OTT - it's easy enough to do the ABX properly with real DSD, real PCM, and a hardware switch box.

Cheers,
David.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 2009-03-20 11:45:01
I don't know what lossless means in this context.


Then we shouldn't use words whose meaning we don't know?


Quote
However, if the noise floor of medium B is clearly higher than that of medium A, then converting from medium A to medium B cannot be lossless for all possible signals on medium A.


Cledasrly higher, in dB would be?

Quote
We could have an interesting discussion on this lossless / not lossless point, but I don't think there's any point. The proposed transform wouldn't satisfy DSD proponents that you were testing DSD any more.


Agreed that discussion with most DSD proponents I've had the displeasure of conversing with turns futile when rational discussion is attempted.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: 2Bdecided on 2009-03-20 14:38:16
I don't know what lossless means in this context.
Then we shouldn't use words whose meaning we don't know?
It was useful to use it. It made an unknown unknown into a known unknown  I lean towards the definition that lossless = reversible. Not every one is so strict. I guess in that sense it's a useless word - except for situations where it's reasonable to believe that something is reversible, but it's very difficult to do so in practice. In such a case, practically, it's not reversible, but maybe it is still lossless?

Quote
Quote
However, if the noise floor of medium B is clearly higher than that of medium A, then converting from medium A to medium B cannot be lossless for all possible signals on medium A.
Cledasrly higher, in dB would be?
I don't know - let's discuss it in English when you've got a new keyboard

Seriously, are you asking for maths or concepts? Because there are lots of transforms, even on PCM data, that appear to conserve all the information yet are near impossible to reverse (unless specifically designed to be reversible). DSD is far worse. So I'm uncomfortable with saying that something with X or Y parameter is a lossless representation of something else. However, I am comfortable with saying that something isn't lossless.

So, clearly higher, in dB, is probably any positive number.

In many scenarios, even an equal noise floor is not lossless, since the transform adds more noise at the same level, and the noise powers add making the situation lossy. Whereas 16-bit > 16-bit is a (null) transform where the noise floor is equal yet there is no loss.

I'm waiting for SebG to wade in and dazzle us all with the maths behind this vague discussion.

Cheers,
David.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: krabapple on 2009-03-20 17:00:14
Prizes!
It was a little unfair of me - I doubt  Bruce Forsyth (or Humphrey Lyttelton) are that well known outside of the UK!


Back on topic: there's no guarantee that there's duality in this conversion - CD>SACD and SACD>CD will only meet the "lossless" requirements with appropriate noise shaping in both directions. It's the noise shaping that makes or breaks this (both ways).

Cheers,
David.



Did Meyer &  Moran's  DSD-->Redbook setup use noise shaping?  Their conversion was only audible at elevated listening levels (during quiet parts).
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Martel on 2009-03-20 18:59:53
At one point in time I listened to a borrowed casette. It was badly played out but I liked the sound alot. Then I later borrowed a CD from which it was made and came up really disappointed. The sound was much rougher (although it was way cleaner), especially the treble was ear-splitting compared to the casette (where the sound was "mild" and all the roughness was washed out). It, in some sense, reversed the effects of aggressive-sounding recording/mastering (it was metal genre).
I'm not defending lossy sources or lossy playback chains, just pointing out what might have been the reason for the better perceived sound.

About that 15y old girl. Until my 17, I listened mostly to electronic stuff like breakbeat, rave, techno etc. Then I was literally broken by Sepultura's Roots album and two years later I ended up listening to black and death metal... The conclusion is that you can't really foretell anything about the children's music preference the same way you can't predict much about their grown-up personality.
I'm approaching 30 and perhaps I will switch to brass music over time... (I have to be kidding actually!  )
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Chris Norman on 2009-05-21 00:26:54
Jumping on late I bumped into this story of the "Sizzling sound" on a German public radio station (source). (http://www.br-online.de/imperia/md/audio/podcast/import/2009_05/2009_05_08_12_39_39_podcastb5computermagazinso1005_a.mp3)

I thought immediately that this is a bogus story. Especially since they were referencing Green Day as an example. Without running into TOS8 I think this would be a less well chosen style for for the proof of audio compression artifacts. There is a full mp3 interview at CBC Radio with Mr. Berger available here (http://www.cbc.ca/spark/2009/03/full-interview-jonathan-berger-on-mp3s-and-sizzle/) (from which I believe the excerpts for the German radio story where taken from). He said that the last tests where conducted about a year ago, so he could possibly not know of the latest listening test results at HA

I agree that this article in my point of view shows eventually how badly journalism can be conducted at times. Of course Mr. Berger can state anything he wants but it should be the job of the journalists to get at least a competent second opinion.
At the end of the interview he said that he is mostly listening to aac, because he listens to it on an ipod and most of it is actually lossless. That'll be the "Sizzling sound" of the next generation then

I still remember those glichy artifacts that my first Philips mp3-cd player used to make, I never got used to it
-Chris
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: solive on 2010-05-29 19:46:54
From the gizmodo post, this appears to be a quote from Berger:
Quote
Students were asked to judge the quality of a variety of compression methods randomly mixed with uncompressed 44.1 KHz audio. The music examples included both orchestral, jazz and rock music. When I first did this I was expecting to hear preferences for uncompressed audio and expecting to see MP3 (at 128, 160 and 192 bit rates) well below other methods (including a proprietary wavelet-based approach and AAC). To my surprise, in the rock examples the MP3 at 128 was preferred. I repeated the experiment over 6 years and found the preference for MP3 - particularly in music with high energy (cymbal crashes, brass hits, etc) rising over time.



Does anyone know more details about this study: the music samples, test methodology, MP3 encoder used? I'd like to do a similar test using some high school students.

Cheers
Sean
Audio Musings (http://seanolive.blogspot.com)
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: zipr on 2010-05-29 19:56:57
Does anyone know more details about this study: the music samples, test methodology, MP3 encoder used? I'd like to do a similar test using some high school students.


I believe that that is one of the issues with the 'study' itself -- no details, no specifics.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: db1989 on 2010-05-29 19:57:01
You may have to email him or something. I don't know if you read the Gizmodo article in which your quote originated, and is introduced as follows:
Quote
Each year, Stanford Professor of Music Jonathan Berger does an informal test of his students by playing a bunch of different music in a bunch of different formats. Over email, here's how he told me performs the informal study:
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: solive on 2010-05-29 20:06:23
You may have to email him or something. I don't know if you read the Gizmodo article in which your quote originated, and is introduced as follows:
Quote
Each year, Stanford Professor of Music Jonathan Berger does an informal test of his students by playing a bunch of different music in a bunch of different formats. Over email, here's how he told me performs the informal study:



I did email him after the Gizmodo article appeared months ago, as did Floyd Toole and many other people I know. The result:  no response.  I also found no publications describing the study. 

Cheers
Sean
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: doccolinni on 2010-05-29 21:00:39
Some of you may have read it already on Slashdot or elsewhere, but I thought it would be good to have a post here about an interesting article that suggests that more and more people seem to prefer music with encoding artifacts over the original audio or better encodes. Mp3's with noises from bad encodes are apparently so common and widespread that it's much of a norm for how music should sound.

"The Sizzling Sound of Music" by Dale Dougherty - http://radar.oreilly.com/2009/03/the-sizzl...d-of-music.html (http://radar.oreilly.com/2009/03/the-sizzling-sound-of-music.html) The article builds upon work and tests by a professor of music at Stanford, Jonathan Berger.

I don't know if this has been posted already, I presume it should have been because it's blatantly obvious, this seems like precisely the reason why some people seem to prefer the sound of LPs over that of digitised Red Book CD music - they're familiar with the artefacts of music on LPs and better sound seems strange to them.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 2010-05-30 11:23:21
Some of you may have read it already on Slashdot or elsewhere, but I thought it would be good to have a post here about an interesting article that suggests that more and more people seem to prefer music with encoding artifacts over the original audio or better encodes. Mp3's with noises from bad encodes are apparently so common and widespread that it's much of a norm for how music should sound.

"The Sizzling Sound of Music" by Dale Dougherty - http://radar.oreilly.com/2009/03/the-sizzl...d-of-music.html (http://radar.oreilly.com/2009/03/the-sizzling-sound-of-music.html) The article builds upon work and tests by a professor of music at Stanford, Jonathan Berger.

I don't know if this has been posted already, I presume it should have been because it's blatantly obvious, this seems like precisely the reason why some people seem to prefer the sound of LPs over that of digitised Red Book CD music - they're familiar with the artefacts of music on LPs and better sound seems strange to them.


This analysis is exactly consisten with scientific knowlege about how music activates the brain's pleasure centers. A key to the connection witht he pleasure centers is memories about how the music sounded in the past. The pleasure comes not from accurate reproduction or even just sounding good, but rather from something that sounds the same as it did in the past.
Title: "Sizzling sound" of mp3's is preferred
Post by: doccolinni on 2010-05-30 15:45:31
So what does lossless mean?

I presume lossless transfer could be defined as no matter how many times you transfer something repeatedly (you transfer something, then what you got by that transferring you transfer back, then you transfer that back etc. etc.) it will not degrade noticeably relative to what you started with in the first place. Note though that the "noticeably" in this example doesn't ruin it because if something causes loss of data which piles up on transfer, after enough transfers degradation will become noticeable.

An example of a transfer which would fit this definition of losslessness but for which would be arguable if it's lossless in the "standard" sense is a transfer the output of which would for all initial inputs, as the number of transfers approaches infinity, have a limit which is indistinguishable from the initial input for a human, but not perfectly identical to it. This means that no matter how many transfers you made the transferred material wouldn't slowly degrade to rubbish but would stabilise around something which is indistinguishable from the original input but not perfectly identical to it.
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