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Author Topic: Zero headroom and unforgiving of overs (was 192kHz)  (Read 8230 times)

Paul Frindle

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Zero headroom and unforgiving of overs (was 192kHz)
« on: July 19, 2004, 08:37:04 pm »

Quote:



or any of the other problems with digital such as zero headroom and unforgiving of overs.



Now there's a subject that requires attention. This is probably the single most damning issue I can think of with current equipment and modern production techniques.

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2) I could make what comes out of the system sound far better than what goes in --- this comes under that somewhat vague phraseology of "warm, thick, euphonious" - and is often associated with the even-harmonics.  




Don't forget odd harmonics too Smile
But this cannot be done reliably unless the system is initially correct. We must provide what IS correct as far as the ear is concerned before we think about artistically messing with it. Otherwise we cannot know why it has improved and we can never be sure that the improvement is robust and can be relied upon.

It's no use making something deliberately broken for the sole reason that it's easier (or we are forever encouraged) to break it further - because we are continually dissatisfied with it and find ourselves in a manic cycle of random changes - in the hope that it will all 'just get better'. There is no magic bullet Sad

In many respects the 'more and more' campaigners are appearing like people forever locked in an ultimately negative pursuit, the impetus for the cycle being forever fuelled by the unsatisfying fruits of their endeavours. And may I respectfully add - that this is very convenient from a marketing perspective - is it not?
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Extreme Mixing

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Re: 192KHz sample rate for audio
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2004, 08:41:04 pm »

Anyone who spends much time lamenting that digital audio is not high quality enough, and therefor, can't do good work, is misdirected in their priorities.

Look for ways to make the sound you can hear better.  I think the biggest limitation is always ones own imagination and creativity.

Steve

Nika Aldrich

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Re: 192KHz sample rate for audio
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2004, 12:06:57 am »

Johnny B wrote on Tue, 20 July 2004 01:00

Yes, I know I'm pushing the limits here, I did say "fantasy system" did I not?


Yes, but your fantasy is in large part irrational.  We, as humans, and as digital communication being the protocol that is inherently used between our sensory organs and our brains, are inherently band limited creatures.  It is irrational to request a system that provides more than is necessary to transmit an accurate sensory performance to the body.

What we really need is not a system that can reproduce the waveform with 100% accuracy, but rather one that can reproduce a waveform with 100% accuracy as far as the receiver of that waveform is concerned.  With audio, that receiver happens to be the human body.  We only need to capture the waveform accurately enough to be necessary and sufficient to reproduce accurately what the human body will perceive from the original.  If the human body can't perceive 'x" then there is no rational reason to record "x."

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There are a couple of factual disagreements here, the main one being that human beings are "limited" to a 20-to-20 experience. There is absolutely no credible proof that people "only" have a 20-to-20 experience, in fact, credible testimony strongly suggests the opposite is true.


On the low end, not on the high end, and the low end is adequately covered with base sample rates so we simply have no need ever to discuss those again on this thread.  The limitation is the high frequencies.  Period.  Now, what, pray tell, is the overwhelming evidence that we can perceive above 20kHz on the high end?  And when you think you have it you will prove exactly my point - that you are irrationally only trying to understand information which validates your case and are ignoring very useful and overwhelming information to the contrary.  If you want to understand this stuff you have to do it as a whole.  You simply do not understand conceptually enough about what is going on in digital audio, and you present to me the notion that you really aren't interested.  It is for that reason that explaining more to you about what goes on at converter chip manufacturers seems like a waste of our cumulative time.

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It is certainly not true *all* live performances are limited to 20-to-20. Can we agree on that much?


All live performances are essentially unbound by frequency - containing frequencies to infinitely high levels.  Sure, we agree on that.  So?

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As to the filters, great, go ahead fix them, I would not expect that particular fix to solve all the problems. I hope it does, but I rather doubt it. After all, it's been 20 years!


Well hell, it's been 20 years.  It must either be perfect or that's just not the area of problems!  How long have we now been putting vehicles into space?  They screwed up 2 years ago.  How long have we been making cars?  Why did mine break down today?  How long have people been fighting wars in the Middle East?  Why, after thousands of years, did we  screw that up, too?  20 years and it should be perfect, eh?

Just because we've been working on the math for 20 years does not mean it can't be done.  Virtually all digital filters include tradeoffs between many things, one of the primary of which being cost.  Any converter chip manufacturer has to design for several markets and they simply can't afford to create powerful enough chips (at least until very recently) that have adequate filtering at the price point that is needed for the market they try to appeal to.  That's not to say it can't be done.  You've read Bob Katz's experiment in your research, yes?  And you've read Paul Frindle's, yes?  So clearly your argument doesn't hold water.  Right?

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Lastly, I would hardly call it "irrational" to want to be able to record and re-create the full experience of a live performance. YMMV


No.  Precisely.  Nothing irrational about trying to recreate the experience of a live performance - granted.  But after the human ear filters most of it away we find that we just don't need to record very much for the experience to be accurately captured.  What you say here is indeed very rational - but is very different from what you ask for above.

Nika.
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PP

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Re: 192KHz sample rate for audio
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2004, 01:07:43 am »

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Level

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Re: 192KHz sample rate for audio
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2004, 01:20:24 am »

Quote:

Something is happening here but we don't know what it is?


We only know what we subjectively perceive as more authentic to the source. This is my absolute measurement.
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Duardo

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Re: 192KHz sample rate for audio
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2004, 01:31:41 am »

Quote:

Yes, I know I'm pushing the limits here, I did say "fantasy system" did I not?


Johnny, I'm sorry, you seem to have misinterpreted what I was trying to say.  It was not meant to be complimentary.

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It could very well be that everything up to now has to be scrapped and we have to start all over, I dunno.


Why?  Where?

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As to the filters, great, go ahead fix them, I would not expect that particular fix to solve all the problems. I hope it does, but I rather doubt it. After all, it's been 20 years!


Nika already addressed this, but he didn't point out the fact that we've come a long way over the past twenty years in this respect.  And things are still getting better. It's not a question of "broken" or "fixed".  So again, to suggest that we scrap everything and start over makes no sense.

There are a couple of factual disagreements here, the main one being that human beings are "limited" to a 20-to-20 experience. There is absolutely no credible proof that people "only" have a 20-to-20 experience, in fact, credible testimony strongly suggests the opposite is true. We human beings seem to have a total experience of far more. It is certainly not true *all* live performances are limited to 20-to-20. Can we agree on that much?

As for the Sterophile article that Peter refers to...I don't see anything new there.  Just another reference to the one study people always want to use as "proof" that we need to capture more than 20 kHz worth of information which actually proves no such thing.

-Duardo
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PP

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Re: 192KHz sample rate for audio
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2004, 03:10:55 am »

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davidc

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Re: 192KHz sample rate for audio
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2004, 04:17:09 am »

Peter  Oxford wrote on Tue, 20 July 2004 08:10

http://www.dcsltd.co.uk/papers/aes97ny.pdf

Best Wishes Peter


Peter Poyser


Thanks for posting that Peter,

here is an extract from it:

Quote:


Direct comparisons of the same source material, recorded and reproduced at 44.1 kS/s, 96 kS/s and
192 kS/s show that there is an advantage in going to the higher rates - it sounds better! The
descriptions of those used to making such comparisons tend to involve such terms as “less
cluttered”, “more air”, “better hf detail” and in particular “better spatial resolution”. We are left
wondering - what mechanism can be at work? It seems unlikely that we have all suddenly
developed ultrasonic hearing capabilities.



Alternatively one could conclude that the technology favours certain subjective attributes over others that may have been reduced.

http://recforums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/t/1280/915/?SQ=e9 4aab6ae3b053c205985215e11c606c

Best Regards

David C
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Johnny B

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Re: 192KHz sample rate for audio
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2004, 05:50:37 am »

Nika,
To me, great music is all about an emotional experience, just as love is an emotional experience. These kinds of experiences do not fit nicely within the confines of a math formula or even rationality. From my limited perspective, to be human is to be irrational at times. Having the proper balance between rationality and irrationality is something I will forever struggle to achieve.    

Bill Roberts,
I got your email and enjoyed the link very much. Thank you.

There's a link somewhere I posted on one of these threads to some work being done at Princeton University which you may find interesting. I dunno.

Peter,
Thanks for those links, I love the Bob Dylan quote. I fear I am in the the same sort of shape as Mr. Jones.  

Paul,
Yes, that headroom issue really should be addressed, along with all the other legitimate concerns.

I'll share an amusing aside with you about a very proper and accomplished motorcycle mechanic I once knew. He worked on classic British machines, he used to have a funny saying, "If it don't work, break it."

The normal response to his statement was always "Wait, wait, we don't have to go that far!" And of course he usually did not have to employ such draconian measures.

OTH, there really is a certain logic to this approach at times, for example, you have to break the eggs to make an omelet, right?

As always, I'm uncertain about everything. However, I do want to express my gratitude for all the wisdom you share with us on the forum. Your posts always cause me examine and re-examine my thinking.
 

   
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steve parker

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Re: 192KHz sample rate for audio
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2004, 07:39:36 am »

Quote:

that headroom issue really should be addressed


this is surely a problem of engineering and mastering technique...??
24 bit recording allows much more leeway than analogue ever did - even if the response to illegal levels may have been nicer.

the stereophile article claims that something is going on that is not to do with high frequencies (as there weren't any. Mike Story's claims that inaudible frequencies affect audible ones.
both of these papers have been quoted and linked in this thread or related threads already. they have been answered at some length.

steve parker.
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Nika Aldrich

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Re: 192KHz sample rate for audio
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2004, 10:54:20 am »

Peter,

Ahh, yes, this one.  I thought we already discussed the various serious issues with this study?

Oh, and the dCS one - didn't we discuss the errors in that study on the web as well?

Neither of these prove your point.

Nika.
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Nika Aldrich

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Re: 192KHz sample rate for audio
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2004, 10:56:27 am »

Johnny B wrote on Tue, 20 July 2004 10:50

Nika,
To me, great music is all about an emotional experience, just as love is an emotional experience. These kinds of experiences do not fit nicely within the confines of a math formula or even rationality.


Oh.  I thought we were talking about engineering.  If you're talking about music  and its subsequent irrationality then we don't really need to talk about the engineers at AKM, I suppose.

Nika.
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ted nightshade

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Re: 192KHz sample rate for audio
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2004, 11:37:21 am »

Nika Aldrich wrote on Tue, 20 July 2004 07:56

Johnny B wrote on Tue, 20 July 2004 10:50

Nika,
To me, great music is all about an emotional experience, just as love is an emotional experience. These kinds of experiences do not fit nicely within the confines of a math formula or even rationality.


Oh.  I thought we were talking about engineering.  If you're talking about music  and its subsequent irrationality then we don't really need to talk about the engineers at AKM, I suppose.

Nika.


I for one, am always talking about music. That's the whole f-cking point right?

The fact is, we are not limited by our ears in experiencing music. Yes, eyes can get involved too, but I'm willing to skip all that myself. Perfectly reasonable to insist on full visuals, and nothing like a drop of sweat from the singer landing on your forehead. Then you KNOW you're there!

But for me personally, sound is almost enough- the emotional impact though is absolutely crucial. I have no doubt that engineering is possible in that direction- you'd have to start with a lot of questions.

But, the point of all this engineering is to make a buck, pure and simple. There will be a very few passionate exceptions, and thank gracious goodness for them!

It turns out you can make many bucks selling crummy recordings, crummy speakers, crummy mics, etc. Or selling "state of the art" super-specs ones. Or whatever.

Johnny, I don't know, but I don't think that reproducing DC to 100kHz is going to take us much closer to the real experience of live music. Incrementally, perhaps. I don't know what wavelength emotion and soul and storytelling travel on, but I have the distinct impression that no medium is needed to capture these things. It's all out there to be taken in, if you are vulnerable and open and need it.

Yes some recordings serve as better references for these invaluable things than others- it's curious to find that issues well within the realm of audio engineering as we know it can make or break the effect... I was there in the room when she sang the part,  closer than we usually get to the artist and the actual performance, and one reproduction has me on my knees, another has me scrutinizing geeky details. Yet Jimi Hendrix died the year I was born, and on some occasion a pretty-good recording of an especially lucid live performance ( The Wind Cries Mary, Paris Theater in London, 1967, I'm pretty sure), reproduced on the tiniest cassette boom box you've ever seen, has me THERE.

I don't think it's about the frequency response, and I believe that whatever is out there that we can tune into so hauntingly sometimes is quite free of time and space constraints. Recorded music can be a powerful cue, but I've had it coming in scary strong without a noticeable cue. The Sufis sing, "open up the doors in the center of your chest and let the spirits fly in and out". Only, it may not be easy to do the math or make the buck while doing so...
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Johnny B

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Re: 192KHz sample rate for audio
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2004, 12:39:34 pm »

Ted,

You have raised some excellent points. As to Hendrix, perhaps, more credit should be given to Les Paul and Eddie Kramer and others who were such a large part of the Hendrix phenom, Chas. Chandler, Little Richard, and even Tommy Chong who had a club in Seattle and a band in which Hendrix was a member. I was once told that the late Mike Bloomfield said something to the effect that Hendrix had an uncanny ability to hear things, esp. the slightest variations in frequencies. I dunno if it's true or not, but it sounds plausible to me.

And you may very well be right, I don't think that most people working with sound would care about any of the technical issues if they were not forced to deal with them. Who really wants to learn all about memory locations, accumulators, pointer files, assembly code, microns, bit depths or sample rates, UARTs, or any other tech weenie/propeller-head thing if they did not have to? I think people learn and struggle to try and understand these things because of the vast promise of digital and because they have clear goals in mind.  

Can we all agree that audio often behaves in the complete reverse of how you'd logically expect it to?

Digital appears to be no exception. For example, in the Analogue domain, reducing gain always *reduces* distortion. In the wonderful world of Digital, reducing gain *increases* distortion.

"'Tis a puzzlement to me." But then again, I have a small and irrational mind as has been so eloquently pointed out. I'm Ok with that, I'll live, it's all those other body parts I'm worried about.




 
         
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Duardo

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Re: 192KHz sample rate for audio
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2004, 01:53:34 pm »

Quote:

Can we all agree that audio often behaves in the complete reverse of how you'd logically expect it to?


I don't think so.

Quote:

Digital appears to be no exception. For example, in the Analogue domain, reducing gain always *reduces* distortion. In the wonderful world of Digital, reducing gain *increases* distortion.


I don't think you can make a statement like that without further qualification.  In most cases I don't think it's even true.

-Duardo

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