Old 08-12-2010, 12:48 AM   #41
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Sadly, much of the original post (whomever was being quoted) is false, because it reaches conclusions based on the wrong facts. Facts & statistics are meaningless if they are misinterpreted.

But I don't have the time nor desire to respond in detail. Been through this ad nauseum in the old days, and done too many double-blind tests (along side guys like George Massenburg) to count.

Just use your ears, and don't trust ANY expert nor ANY test.

And FWIW, recording at 88.2K, with lots of plugins, and then using a really good SRC, will definitely sound better than recording at 44.1k. That is NOT just my opinion.
-it's also NOT what that Mix test was actually testing.

-------

OK, fire away, I'm out of here.
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Old 08-12-2010, 01:15 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by Cableaddict View Post
Sadly, much of the original post (whomever was being quoted) is false, because it reaches conclusions based on the wrong facts. Facts & statistics are meaningless if they are misinterpreted.

But I don't have the time nor desire to respond in detail. Been through this ad nauseum in the old days, and done too many double-blind tests (along side guys like George Massenburg) to count.

Just use your ears, and don't trust ANY expert nor ANY test.

And FWIW, recording at 88.2K, with lots of plugins, and then using a really good SRC, will definitely sound better than recording at 44.1k. That is NOT just my opinion.
-it's also NOT what that Mix test was actually testing.

-------

OK, fire away, I'm out of here.
sadly, your head never quite made it out of your ass before you left

Giving you the benefit of the doubt, you must have misread most of the thread.

Give my regards to George
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Old 08-12-2010, 01:56 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by Cableaddict View Post
Sadly, much of the original post (whomever was being quoted) is false, because it reaches conclusions based on the wrong facts. Facts & statistics are meaningless if they are misinterpreted.

But I don't have the time nor desire to respond in detail. Been through this ad nauseum in the old days, and done too many double-blind tests (along side guys like George Massenburg) to count.

Just use your ears, and don't trust ANY expert nor ANY test.

And FWIW, recording at 88.2K, with lots of plugins, and then using a really good SRC, will definitely sound better than recording at 44.1k. That is NOT just my opinion.
-it's also NOT what that Mix test was actually testing.

-------

OK, fire away, I'm out of here.
exactly! if you'd read the thread I also said that upsampling or recording at a higher sample rate will give better results!! the test was about the END STEREO MIX comparison for the end user that's al, what's your problem with that?

I thought there was some good food for thought in there. photographer Vernon Trent's quote was very telling IMHO -

"Amateurs worry about equipment, professionals worry about money, masters worry about light. I just take pictures"

I've been doing this 25 years now professionally and if there's one thng I've learned that I'd like to pass on to others, it's that it's not about the gear, it really isn't. As I've said on this forum before, as it stands now it's actually hard to buy a peice of equipment you couldn't make a decent record on, from chinese mic's to free software.

It's a great time to be making music,stop obsessing about things that at the end of the day are small details and don't make for better music.Sure get the best that you can afford and strive for quality in all that you do, but a Prism AD/DA isn't going to make a better record than an MAudio AD/DA, you are and it's all down to you,so take responsability for your actions and make some music


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Old 08-12-2010, 02:48 AM   #44
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The point in 64 bit processing is basically so you get back a valid 24-bit result, not so you get some kind of uber resolution.

32 bit floating point, as is well document, is only 24 bits of precision.

So, you do an operation on your 24 bit number, and it comes back a longer word length.

That's why, whilst 64bits is a bit overkill, it's a good idea.

You basically get a calculation that stands more chance of being representative of your original audio.

This is particularly the case in something recursive, like a filter, or something that involves summing thousands of individual components, like an FFT (apologies for the gross simplifcation dsp gurus).
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Old 08-12-2010, 05:44 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by Cableaddict View Post
Sadly, much of the original post (whomever was being quoted) is false, because it reaches conclusions based on the wrong facts. Facts & statistics are meaningless if they are misinterpreted.
Do you have an idea of who is Ethan Winer? no? He is an audio engineer very recognized...

Do you know something about the very important Audio Engineering Society no?

Then Check it: http://www.aes.org Ethan Winer is part of this society.

The problem in this post is than the video is missed...

Please for everyone take a look:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYTlN6wjcvQ


is large video and very explained...

So, (Cableaddict) Take your time and after tell me again with a Good argument than everything is false...

By the way, another important link in this thread is broken... So CHECK this:

http://mixonline.com/recording/mixin...s_new_sampling



Also if you dont understand the Monkey example take a look of this:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_monkey_theorem


The monkey is just a powerful example of random choice. That is, a creature not actually doing the task with any knowledge of what they are supposed to be doing.

So if you sat a monkey down in-front of two buttons A and B and you play the two sounds (and he gets a peanut for hitting a button) he will just randomly poke at whatever button he wants.

He will in fact get 50% correct on average. So 50% correct is actually very bad. You need to do better than that to prove you can hear something.

People still grapple with the idea that if they got 50% correct that perhaps they did hear something. But then remembering an untrained monkey got the same score, they should realise it sucks

Also a trained monkey may just be able to do the task.


-------------------------------------------------------
P.S: (norbury brook) please repair the broken links
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Old 08-12-2010, 05:46 AM   #46
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uughh, when will people understand the difference between rendering a final mix @ higher bit/sample rates and running vst(i) or recording at higher bit/sample rates....
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Old 08-12-2010, 05:58 AM   #47
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uughh, when will people understand the difference between rendering a final mix @ higher bit/sample rates and running vst(i) or recording at higher bit/sample rates....
I think many people here lose the real point of this article...

i recomend to all to check the video in my latest answer to (Cableaddict), The links there works...
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Old 08-12-2010, 06:01 AM   #48
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And FWIW, recording at 88.2K, with lots of plugins, and then using a really good SRC, will definitely sound better than recording at 44.1k. That is NOT just my opinion.
I think that constitutes an opinion.
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Old 08-12-2010, 06:19 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by Temptation_07 View Post
Do you have an idea of who is Ethan Winer? no? He is an audio engineer very recognized...

Do you know something about the very important Audio Engineering Society no?
I vaguely recall hearing the name a wee bit here and there
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:11 AM   #50
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Do you have an idea of who is Ethan Winer? no? He is an audio engineer very recognized...
Considering the fact that Cableaddict, in another thread, called Ethan a 'bumbling idiot'...
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:40 AM   #51
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Thanks a bunch and more, norbury brook and temptation_07 and all around here for this thread. Extreme helpful read and to learn from
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Old 08-12-2010, 05:10 PM   #52
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Considering the fact that Cableaddict, in another thread, called Ethan a 'bumbling idiot'...
hehe, well its easy to answer him, i want to see him working in the "Audio Engineering Society"

http://www.aes.org

hard words and hard fact
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Old 08-15-2010, 09:04 PM   #53
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Fantastic thread.

Echoing and expanding a couple of earlier points:

- If you can afford the disk space (which I think almost everyone can these days), and if you have the hardware to do it, it is always worth recording at 24bit, not for a significant improvement in sound quality, but because ti allows the reordist to safely and easily record at way below full-scale (0dB on your meter) with no fear of loss of resolution. Setting your peak record level to -12 means not having to agonize over peak lights or inconsistent performances. And there is very close to zero additional CPU power used when recording at 24-bit on a modern high-res audio engine (such as REAPER or practically anything else). TL;DR: If you can, always record at 2 bit and set your record levels low and then don't worry about it.

- Sampling rate is a bit stickier (or a lot stickier, depending on your POV). For one thing, higher sample rates ARE expensive in terms of CPU cycles. Recording at 88.2 instead of 44.1 basically cuts your plugin/track count in half. Modern computers are getting ridiculously powerful, but modern plugins are also getting ridiculously demanding (maybe for improved sound quality, maybe not: separate discussion).

If you record sane, real-world music or speech through a good-quality converter set to internal clock at both 44.1 and 192, and play it back in a double-blind ABX test, nobody is going to hear the difference. BUT, if you apply additional digital processing (digital eq, etc), then the additional processing MIGHT cause real and audible problems IF the processors are not doing a good job with aliasing distortions.

The short and over-simplified version is that 44.1 sound contains everything you can hear, but it has a sharp, distorted "cutoff" just above the range of your hearing. If you put that through an EQ (for example), and boost the highs, then the EQ can cause "ripple" effects from that ultrasonic distortion to trickle down into the audible range (basically the delay/phase-shift of the eq causes the nasties to smeared across the top part of the audible spectrum, to put it science-itificalley).

Now, any respectable modern plugin or output converter (if you're using outboard effects) *SHOULD* be correcting for this via oversampling or internal antialiasing filters etc, so a simple workaround would be to say: if your plugin sounds bad, use a different plugin. But we could argue all day and night about whether that's really a solution...

And then there are a whole bunch of other details with sample-rate that thick up the plot even more, such as the fact that converting from a high sample rate back down to 44.1 causes its own distortions (which again, SHOULDN'T be a serious problem with good-quality modern SRC, but that's a whole nother set of flame wars over minutiae...)

the TL;DR with bit depth is easy-- record at 24 bit if you can, so you can set your record levels low enough to never lose a take due to clipping. The TL;DR with sample rate is more like: knowledgeable and ignorant people alike are arguing about it way more than the topic deserves.

The TL;DR overall is that 94.3% of bad sound, and 99.99% of good sound is caused by the skill of the recordists, the quality of their listening, and the basic recording practices that they are using, with whatever gear is available to them.
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Old 08-15-2010, 09:06 PM   #54
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Please for everyone take a look:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYTlN6wjcvQ
PS-- this is an awesome video that everyone interested in audio should set aside an hour to watch.
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Old 08-15-2010, 11:00 PM   #55
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A very good post - enjoyable reading (if you happen to be into this sort of thing which I guess we all are).

It's a double edged sword living in the time we do where we the technology available to us has reached the limit of human perception (audio that is) - it's nice to know that we can produce "the best that can be heard" but a bit sad to know that there's nowhere much to go from here.... (other than being more portable / more automated etc).

So with all this great gear I did a master a few weeks ago - played it for the client in the studio and they loved it, a week later they called and said it sounded great on their stereo system .... a week later another call saying they thought the peaks were distorting on their laptop ?!?!?!?!?!? and a few more ????s Whaddaya do.... cut out a few bits / slice off a few KHz.... (that's a joke son)


And then that little cockroach gets me every time Mr Tallisman.... rofl
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Old 08-16-2010, 07:12 PM   #56
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...it's nice to know that we can produce "the best that can be heard" but a bit sad to know that there's nowhere much to go from here.... (other than being more portable / more automated etc)...
Heh.

If you want something to aspire to, try to beat the sound quality of "Kind of Blue" or "Take Five". If you're looking to use technology to surpass existing productions, try to beat Pet Sounds or Sgt Peppers or Detroit-era Motown or Thriller for production creativity...

There's still plenty left to do.
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Old 08-16-2010, 07:35 PM   #57
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Heh.

If you want something to aspire to, try to beat the sound quality of "Kind of Blue" or "Take Five". If you're looking to use technology to surpass existing productions, try to beat Pet Sounds or Sgt Peppers or Detroit-era Motown or Thriller for production creativity...

There's still plenty left to do.
Oh, definitely! Fred Plaut's work is very inspiring, particularly on Kind of Blue and Time Out!

But you have to make a distinction between "sound quality" (technical quality - where we do indeed have much better sound quality in a DAW than Plaut did with analogue tape), and "sound quality" (the subjective quality of those recordings, which stems from the characteristics and limitations of the equipment, the finesse of the musicians and engineers, and the simplicity of a few well-placed mics in a room that sounds amazing in the context of the music).
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:59 PM   #58
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Oh, definitely! Fred Plaut's work is very inspiring, particularly on Kind of Blue and Time Out!

But you have to make a distinction between "sound quality" (technical quality - where we do indeed have much better sound quality in a DAW than Plaut did with analogue tape), and "sound quality" (the subjective quality of those recordings, which stems from the characteristics and limitations of the equipment, the finesse of the musicians and engineers, and the simplicity of a few well-placed mics in a room that sounds amazing in the context of the music).
To my way of thinking (and I'm just a guy on the internet), the second type of "sound quality" is really all that ever matters, when it comes to music (I mean, maybe the former is more important for forensic analysis or some such).

If it sounds good, then that's really all that has ever mattered for music.

In fact, I would consider "sound quality" to be an entirely experiential judgement. Some might call that "subjective". I would call the former, more technical definition "fidelity" rather than "quality".

Those two albums (Kind of Blue and Time Out) sound like mid-century American "cool"... smoky and sophisticated, late-night and elegant. You can hear the spittle in the horns and the callouses of fingers on the string bass. It sounds like the rustle of cocktail dresses and worsted-wool suits with loosened ties, the subtle clink of ice and scotch in a heavy rocks glass, the flick and fire of a zippo lighting a cigarette in a high-ceilinged loft where the air is thick but the crowd is thin with the lateness of the night... it's after-hours music, played with a casual and heavy-lidded ego-less-ness. It's music for the quiet hours, neither reverential nor formal, background music for a world where the ambiance and background are the foreground and the focus. The sonic texture is all velvet and leather soles on plush but stained carpets.

It is impossible to say how much of that sound is artifice and how much of it is fidelity, but it is possible to say that, if it could be improved upon with modern technology, it has not been, so far.

Similar things could be said about, for instance, the best Beach Boys recordings, which are all suntans and sand-in-the-hair and short-sleeve seersucker shirts and carefree California innocence. Plenty of records have tried to match that vibe, but can anyone honestly say that, for example, Smashmouth records don't sound like contrived and fake forced attempts in comparison to "Help Me Ronda" or "I Get Around" and so on?

And I'm not just talking about the composition and performance, but the sonic quality as well: maybe the technical fidelity is improved or maybe not, but the genuine "quality" is no more improved than machine-made furniture is more permanent or sturdy than handmade antiques... in many respects, the old furniture that was fit together with joints formed and cut by eyeball and "feel" is often of empirically better "quality" than laser-cut, precision-made stuff that was made without sensitivity to the way that wood swells and contracts in humidity, or responds to torsional forces or varying grain...

The great works of human achievement are works of imagination and effort: to prove that some new chisel is more accurate in no way proves that sculptures made with are "better quality" than the Pieta.
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Old 08-16-2010, 09:23 PM   #59
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uughh, when will people understand the difference between rendering a final mix @ higher bit/sample rates and running vst(i) or recording at higher bit/sample rates....
and when i talk with a graphic artist about antialiasing or dither, why is it that they know what these
things are, and when to use them; and that they should generally be be used in every production ?
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Old 08-16-2010, 09:28 PM   #60
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In fact, I would consider "sound quality" to be an entirely experiential judgement. Some might call that "subjective". I would call the former, more technical definition "fidelity" rather than "quality".
Good call, fidelity is a more convenient term.


Quote:
It is impossible to say how much of that sound is artifice and how much of it is fidelity, but it is possible to say that, if it could be improved upon with modern technology, it has not been, so far.

Similar things could be said about, for instance, the best Beach Boys recordings, which are all suntans and sand-in-the-hair and short-sleeve seersucker shirts and carefree California innocence. Plenty of records have tried to match that vibe, but can anyone honestly say that, for example, Smashmouth records don't sound like contrived and fake forced attempts in comparison to "Help Me Ronda" or "I Get Around" and so on?

And I'm not just talking about the composition and performance, but the sonic quality as well: maybe the technical fidelity is improved or maybe not, but the genuine "quality" is no more improved than machine-made furniture is more permanent or sturdy than handmade antiques... in many respects, the old furniture that was fit together with joints formed and cut by eyeball and "feel" is often of empirically better "quality" than laser-cut, precision-made stuff that was made without sensitivity to the way that wood swells and contracts in humidity, or responds to torsional forces or varying grain...
Well the only issue I have with the above is how utterly subjective it all is. I'm *sure* there are some people who love the Beach Boys' music, but think it sounds "kind of bad and distorted". And they have a point. It's really difficult to escape your own bias toward certain styles and sounds, because they may be what you grew up hearing and may convey strong nostalgic imagery to you, consciously and sub-consciously. Or maybe those things are not the reason, and you simply love the sound world that was created. Both are equally valid.

It's completely a matter of opinion and perspective if classics like Pet Sounds, Kind of Blue and Time Out have not been improved upon so far. For the most part, I don't think they have either............but it's simply an opinion.

Btw, that's a *lovely* depiction of the atmosphere that swirls out of Kind of Blue and Time Out.

Quote:
The great works of human achievement are works of imagination and effort: to prove that some new chisel is more accurate in no way proves that sculptures made with are "better quality" than the Pieta.
I hope you don't think that I was suggesting that tools are more important than inspiration, creativity, experience, spontaneity, technique, recklessness, experimentation, composition, execution, practice..........etc.........I wasn't meaning to say that at all.

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Old 08-16-2010, 11:43 PM   #61
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Well the only issue I have with the above is how utterly subjective it all is. I'm *sure* there are some people who love the Beach Boys' music, but think it sounds "kind of bad and distorted". And they have a point...
I don't really agree with this notion that the qualities of the above are "subjective" in the sense of purely ephemeral...

Instead of talking about what some hypothetical person might say, I would like to hear, setting aside whether the Beach Boys were good or bad, a case be made that some record has done a better job of achieving the same effect.

The examples I cited are not my favorite records (many of my favorite records are quire bad recordings of favorite musicians: "Karate" by the Emperors is probably my all-time favorite pop song, and the recording is atrocious). They are examples of great recordings, in the sense of records that put no space between the listener and the material, and that, if anything, bring the material closer to listener, and that achieve more fully the mental/emotional/physiological/psychic/spiritual state of communion that music brings about at its best: recordings that help to put the listener in the state of mind the music is meant to evoke, so to speak.

That might all sound hard to quantify, and it is, but "hard to quantify" is not the same as purely subjective. Not everything real can as yet be quantified with existing measurements, as music proves. There is no formula to discern good music from bad, but there is certainly a difference between good and bad music, and we can very safely and definitively say that Bach is better than William Hung, for example. Just because we cannot produce the measurement for it does not prove it empirically untrue: it just places it into the realm that includes most of the still-mysterious things that make life worth living.

With regards to Time Out/Kind of Blue, we can look both backwards and forwards in time, cite any example you want of any musical caliber or production budget: modern lounge/smooth jazz artists from Pat Methany to Morphine to Amy Winehouse to Erin McKeown, or vintage stuff like Duke Ellington's small ensemble recordings or Sarah Vaughn or Billie Holiday or Charles Mingus or even John Hammond's brilliant one-mic recordings of the Benny Goodman Orchestra, but I submit that, in terms of a recording, none of them matches Fred Plaut's work on those two albums when it comes to putting the listener in that space that the musicians created.

Just because a characteristic is hard to quantify with existing measurements does not mean that it is false, or imaginary, or purely subjective. Pain, love, greed, compassion, anger, and vanity are not easy to quantify, but they are all very real, and all cause a tremendous amount of quantifiable real-world destruction, creation, life and death.

Only a solipsist, a nincompoop, or a lawyer would suggest that the "Free Credit Report Dot Com" commercials are artistically equivalent to the Taj Mahal or the Ode to Joy, and only the hopelessly pedantic would try to create a litmus test or ruler by which to judge such things with existing technology. (Not that I am attributing any of the above to you or to anyone else in this thread).

Some things are purely "subjective", and depend entirely on the opinion of the subject, but other things exist which do have empirical qualities that still exist outside the realm of the precisely measurable. In fact, most of what makes life worth living fits into the latter, I would say.

Just because we do not have any suitable measuring tape to assess the quality of music does not mean that there is no such thing as bad music or good music, and it doesn't mean that we can't make some categorical statements about the quality of outliers, even if the in-between stuff is hard to sort empirically. We can all tell the superiority of really good farm-fresh eggs, and we can certainly tell the inferiority of outright rotten eggs, even though there is a broad and blurry range in-between. There is no precise instant when an egg goes from "old" to "rotten", but anyone who has ever cracked the latter knows when they've hit it.

Recording "quality" usually has a large component of "fidelity", and "fidelity" in key components of the recording chain is certainly a desirable characteristic. But the ultimate "quality" of the recording is not always purely one of strict "fidelity". The very best recordings are not necessarily the most clinically accurate, but those that leave no "space" between the experience the musician is creating, and the experience the listener has. High-fidelity gear is a valuable tool in the creation of good recordings, but the measure of the recording is the degree to which the listener is drawn into the world the musician is making for her.
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Old 04-08-2014, 07:40 PM   #62
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There are many traps for young players...
The world is full of marketing departments trying to convince you that equipment and specifications can substitute for talent & hard work. This is not true, the 'performance' transcends the medium every time. The performance includes musicianship, vocals, orchestration, arrangement and the mixing decisions. These are all under your control and have little to do with the DAW software you use or plugins you have.
This statement is what i believe this whole thread was truly meant to be about. It certainly resonates with my own experience, and is the same message I find myself trying to convey to other musicians. Especially the ones who are new to recording. My own band falls into this category.

In the past I discovered that I was falling victim to gear lust. I always thought, "If I just had that piece of gear, I would really be stellar!", but over the years I have come to realize that all that great new gear just created more distractions to keep me from becoming a better musician. In the end nothing can replace hard earned skills or pure talent. My cousin reminded me,"Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect." I have come to grips that I have nearly hit the limit of my musical talent in regards to the fact that I have hit the limit of the amount of time that I can afford to allot to the creation of music and overall practice to become better at my instrument. While a bit depressing, it has been a quite freeing conclusion.

What is much more important than having the best gear is to have the gear that fits your workflow the best. I think that limiting your available resources truly forces you to be more creative in reaching your end goals. I used to produce on a Yamaha RM1x and though the sounds of its XG engine were horrible compared to my Motif ES. I ultimately made more (quantity) and more interesting beats on that old box because I knew it like the back of my hand. When I worked on it man and machine became one.

My tools have gotten much better over the years, and my skill sets have changed and improved, but I have never become a true master of my instrument. I am only a mediocre keyboardist, an average or better home recording engineer (if you can call it that)and now life responsibilities have taken priority over musical development. If I could do it all over I would have focused all the time and energy I spent learning the technical aspects of recording, and music in general, learning to be a better musician on an instrument.

Don't get me wrong. I love playing and recording music. I just mean to say that if you look at the history of recorded music and compare the equipment used to the fidelity of the equipment that the average person can afford to put in his/her bedroom, the quality of that recording really does boil down to the talents of the musicians who performed it and the engineers who recorded and mixed it.

@YEP: I don't think I've ever seen such an elegant forum post before. I appreciate your contribution to this discussion. I enjoyed your posts and the OP, especially.
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Old 06-29-2014, 02:43 PM   #63
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Default the subjectivity of objectivity

technical breakdown of human systems in audio measuring

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_LN7qUiTpo#t=230
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Old 07-13-2014, 10:18 PM   #64
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+100 to that point. 16 bits can get a bit long in the tooth for recording. For example if there happens a case where the signal needs to be boosted a lot to make it audible. A lot meaning something like 40 decibels. In that case the low resolution of the 16 bit signal could very well be exposed in an audible way. Something like that is of course a bit pathological case, but if using 24 bits resolution while recording avoids or at least alleviates such possible problems, there's no reason not to record at 24 bits.
Well, realistically, you'll be lucky to get a noise floor of -96 db equivalent to 16 bits in even the best studios, let alone where most of us record. For the most part 24 bit recordings just give you a better recording of the background noise :P If your background noise is at around -80db then 24 bit recording won't help you avoid that noise if you turn stuff up.

Your noise floor is only ever as good as the worst source of noise. With good quiet electronics, the room becomes the next limiting factor.

And of course, the obligatory link to the best most awesome video ever made explaining digital audio concepts (aka, the "stairsteps don't exist in digital audio" video):

D/A and A/D | Digital Show and Tell (Monty Montgomery @ xiph.org)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIQ9IXSUzuM

Should be required watching before anyone is allowed to say anything about digital audio.

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Old 07-13-2014, 10:34 PM   #65
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And of course, the obligatory link to the best most awesome video ever made explaining digital audio concepts (aka, the "stairsteps don't exist in digital audio" video):

D/A and A/D | Digital Show and Tell (Monty Montgomery @ xiph.org)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIQ9IXSUzuM

Should be required watching before anyone is allowed to say anything about digital audio.
Indeed!!
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Old 07-14-2014, 12:13 AM   #66
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Having 24bit/96KHz audio in a DAW is not about the end mix. It's about having headroom to process and work with the audio. So the OP is IMO actually bringing up a non argument.

Fact is (and blind tests have proven this over and over again) that most people, including trained engineers, do not have the ability to tell 16bit 44.1K, 24bit 96K or even 256Mbps MP3 apart..
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Old 07-14-2014, 02:27 PM   #67
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A couple of things:

1) recording/dsp/storage audio quality is not the same as playback audio quality and the two should not be confused.

2) the hydrogenaudio forums are useful for sure, but beware of the hyperconservative assaults there on anybody who proposes a nonconformist point of view. they are extremely dogmatic there.

Personally, I like having the opportunity to record high fidelity and I wouldn't want that ability taken away. I feel that I can hear the differences between my own original tunes recorded as FLAC's or MP3's. Most of the differences I can't usually hear, but a few things I hear regularly unless I change the way the MP3's are encoded. I usually hear the swishiness/fuzziness/distortion of the cymbals on the MP3 version. And then, unless I use STEREO mode, I hear a lack of bass spatialness on the MP3.

The solution is easy: I stop using MP3 unless I have to, and if I do have to use it, I don't use JOINT STEREO, which is the encoder's default setting ON ALL MP3 ENCODERS! It's part of the standard!. So I usually use FLAC instead. Also, I stopped using cymbals that much since they are so susceptible to effects.

Anyways, I did watch the linked video. And it's worth studying. I wish more of the hydrogen audio folks would be wise to this type of issue of listener bias, even when the test gear isn't even connected!

Peace and thanks.
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Old 07-15-2014, 01:36 AM   #68
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I usually hear the swishiness/fuzziness/distortion of the cymbals on the MP3 version.
The solution is easy: I stop using MP3 unless I have to
I hear that, too - when the bandwidth is set to 128kbps or something.
Do a double blind test with proper mp3's (320kbps) and see if you still can tell difference.



It's very rare that I hear recordings or mixes that sound bad because of the medium (128kbps mp3s or the like excluded). It's almost 100% because someone did a bad job at mixing, but it's always easier to blame the tools.
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Old 07-19-2014, 12:36 AM   #69
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I hear that, too - when the bandwidth is set to 128kbps or something.
Do a double blind test with proper mp3's (320kbps) and see if you still can tell difference.



It's very rare that I hear recordings or mixes that sound bad because of the medium (128kbps mp3s or the like excluded). It's almost 100% because someone did a bad job at mixing, but it's always easier to blame the tools.
Well badly encoded mp3's can sound terrible. If you want to do a realistic test encode the mp3 yourself with the latest version of the lame encoder. 128k sounds a lot better than it did in the past. 160k is mostly transparent to my ears.
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Old 07-21-2014, 01:33 AM   #70
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Well badly encoded mp3's can sound terrible. If you want to do a realistic test encode the mp3 yourself with the latest version of the lame encoder. 128k sounds a lot better than it did in the past. 160k is mostly transparent to my ears.
?? Y U quote me? I'm not the one who has a problem with mp3's
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Old 01-15-2015, 04:14 AM   #71
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Personally, I am a perfectionist. I'm a little obsessed with the idea to create the best sounding music I can achieve. So, I have the following thoughts on this topic:

First of all, you can *make great music* with even extremely low-end equipment. Take chiptunes as an example. People love the sound of the C64, which runs at 1MHz and has only three voices available in the SID chip. Some people like me love distortion, lo-fi stuff. There are quite a few songs I enjoy a lot, which are made with good old trackers and simple, crappy audio samples.

Good music doesn't depend on the equipment, good music depends on the composer, the emotions and ideas he is capable to put into his music, and on the mix. Keep that in mind when reading the following.

BUT:

Again, I'm a perfectionist. I haven't done A/B tests. Maybe I'm just a biased fool, but I believe that there are cases, in which lossless formats like FLAC make an audible difference to people with healthy ears, decent headphones and who know what to look for in the sound.

It is true, that many, if not most pieces can be perfectly recreated within the capabilities of modern MP3 conversions at a high bitrate. But I dare to argue that many of these cases would sound better in lossless quality, If they wouldn't have been mixed with MP3 in mind. If a producer or audio engineer cuts away everything he thinks won't be present in MP3 anyway, or can't be perceived by most people.. naming: being too aggressive with the good old lowpass filter on every damn instrument... well: There CAN'T be a difference in the end result between MP3 and FLAC. Because the information, a lossless format *could* recreate, has been cut out in the mix already.

If a song is very simple, consisting of only very few instruments, chances are good that MP3 allows for enough data to represent all details.

BUT: If you have a complex piece, where multiple instruments play at the same time, each of which hasn't been "castrated", with its own character and all the detail, especially in the high frequencies still present, I say you WILL be able to hear it. Because lossy formats won't have enough bitrate to allow all the information to be squeezed perfectly in. And the encoders will have to cut out information. You will hear the difference on high frequency sounds like cymbals easily. You will hear it in the "air" of a song, in high frequency details of a piano or strings, you will hear it in the clarity of reverb tails. Maybe in the precision of the low end as well. In some cases you will notice a more precise stereo separation also.

Today, we usually mix with compressed formats in mind. We carve out all the frequencies for other instruments, we cut away the "air" too often, because we think MP3 won't show it anyway, or people can't hear it. I know that it is beneficial to mix in a transparent way, but I think being too aggressive about that can make the music sound unnatural, and lossless formats are capable of showing more than this. Instead of carving and cutting everything to the max, you can add transparency by good use of reverberation and stereo separation. And then, your MP3 will sound muddy, but give it more bitrate and don't let any encoder put dark magic on the sound to save disk space, and you might find the result has more detail to offer.

Also, yes, during production, it is important to work in high samplerates and 24 bit, to have headroom for processing. And personally, I think: Why reduce that for the consumer? Yes, maybe 90% of the people won't hear a difference. But I care for audiophile people, as I am one myself. I have great working ears and wonderful gear to listen music with, so I want the best. There are others like me, and they deserve the best I can give them. So why not give them a 48kHz / 24bit FLAC? Even the cheapest devices have multiple gigabytes of disk space to offer. And you will find the capability of 24bit playback everywhere as well, even my old netbook is capable of it. Every onboard sound can handle it. It's a shame we still use 44.1kHz / 16bit with lossy formats these days. With the tech available, and multiple terabytes of space on our computers to have the music *exactly* like it was made by the artist and sounded in the studio.

Music deserves it.

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Old 01-15-2015, 06:00 AM   #72
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Flactopia, I agree with you on many points, but allow me to be the devil's advocate here...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flactopia View Post
Personally, I am a perfectionist.
Ok, but human ears are definitely not

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flactopia View Post
I haven't done A/B tests. Maybe I'm just a biased fool, but I believe that...
You said it all right there... you haven't done A/B tests, but you "believe"... the first part is affiliated with science, the second is closer to... religion.

Lucky for us, A/B tests have been done by others. Here's one...

http://archimago.blogspot.ca/2013/02...test_3422.html

You may be (really really) surprised to see that people concluded the mp3 sounded better than the FLAC.

I've seen other tests where the results were quite unflattering to so called audiophiles (and the industry built around them).

The latest mp3 blind tests I've seen, showcase transparency (i.e. mp3 indistinguishable from the source) at around 160-190kbps with modern encoders. Since mp3 goes up to 320kbps, I imagine there's room to fool even the best of ears...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flactopia View Post
But I dare to argue that many of these cases would sound better in lossless quality, If they wouldn't have been mixed with MP3 in mind. If a producer or audio engineer cuts away everything he thinks won't be present in MP3 anyway,
Simply go back to pre ipod era, where music was definitely not mixed for lossy compression, and see if you can prove that sound is noticeably better on lossless than mp3.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Flactopia View Post
BUT: If you have a complex piece, where multiple instruments play at the same time, each of which hasn't been "castrated", with its own character and all the detail, especially in the high frequencies still present, I say you WILL be able to hear it.
Hmm.... not exactly how the brain works. Can you tell each violin separately in a violin section playing in unison? Let alone in a complete symphony? Even if you are there, I say you can't.

The audible frequency spectrum can only hold so much information, and the brain has its own lossy filter built in. That's why we use stuff like EQ in mixing, to make room for instruments that need to be heard distinctly. But this can only be done up to a point before it starts sounding like a blur, or a mess.

And who knows, perhaps lossy compression is doing us a favor? By psychoacoustic-modeling how our brain works, it throws out the useless information before the brain does. So the brain has to do less work with the end result, and thus find it a more pleasant experience? That might explain why the mp3 scored (a lot!) better in the previous blind test?
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Old 01-15-2015, 06:11 AM   #73
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Can you tell each violin separately in a violin section playing in unison? Let alone in a complete symphony? Even if you are there, I say you can't.
If I get to tell the violin players where to sit, I may.
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Old 01-15-2015, 10:13 AM   #74
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If I get to tell the violin players where to sit, I may.
Heh, you're a clever fox!

But seriously, this topic has made me curious now. I think I will run some A/B tests soon to check if I'm right or not. The thing is, I fully admit that in most cases I can't distinguish a 320 kbps MP3 from a FLAC, but I'm still pretty convinced that I've heard songs in which so much stuff is happening, that the FLAC sounded noticeably better, more precise. So far, I believe - yes, just believe - that it depends on the source material and the mix. Also, I would fail during A/B tests with classical music too, because I practically never listen to that genre. I simply don't know how it *should* sound in nature. But well mixed electronic music with attention to detail, and I'm not talking about overly compressed dance tracks, I think I'll pass the test. But yet, that has to be proven. I'll leave the results here, once I did it. ^^
I want to test it with my beloved soundcard, which unfortunately is currently inside a broken PC. I'll try with my notebook sound, which isn't that bad. But in case I fail there, I want to make sure when I have a new PC. Might take a few weeks until then. :/

EDIT: With the notebook sound, it is surprisingly hard to find a track / part of a track that is clearly distinct from the 320 kbps MP3. That at least proves that MP3 has come a long way. But it's just an onboard sound, I still wanna give it a shot with my Xonar Essence STX. Well, maybe I'm getting old or I *am* a biased fool.

Last edited by Flactopia; 01-15-2015 at 12:05 PM.
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Old 01-15-2015, 11:28 AM   #75
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Originally Posted by Evan View Post
The audio quality of a DAW, converters, sample rates and bit-depths... is just a distraction to keep us from discussing how boring, overproduced, clinically processed to sterility, uninspired, repetitive, heard-this-a-million-times-before... music is nowadays.
OMG did Evan really just say that? +1000 I did switch from 16 bit to 24 bit, maybe needless but it was a painless transition.
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Old 01-16-2015, 08:47 PM   #76
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OMG did Evan really just say that?
Nope. He said it almost 4 1/2 years ago!
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Old 01-17-2015, 01:28 AM   #77
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Posted 22 August 2014 - 12:23 PM
Ok, taking off my MAGIX name tag, back to Tim, Engineer from Eclectica studios, so if you don't like what I say, email me, MAGIX has nothing to do with my opinions.

I did the test about CPU, but its the same test for listen for the mix engine. All day long I have mastering engineers calling me and praising how much better Samplitude and Sequoia sound to everything else out there. Are you saying they are all wrong? Are you saying my ears are deceiving me? Are you saying that even though the null test showed they are different, and my ears heard one as beautiful and 3d and the other as hard and flat, its all in my head?

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Old 01-17-2015, 01:51 AM   #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reaperguy45 View Post
All day long I have mastering engineers calling me and praising how much better Samplitude and Sequoia sound to everything else out there.

Are you saying they are all wrong? Are you saying my ears are deceiving me? Are you saying that even though the null test showed they are different, and my ears heard one as beautiful and 3d and the other as hard and flat, its all in my head?
Well... If he really gets these calls ALL DAY LONG and isn't lying or extremely overstating here, I guess he is too busy with the phone to do anything remotely with producing audio. Maybe it's not even his job then, because obviously, he must be part of the support crew.

And even if the null test may show differences, that doesn't prove these differences are significant enough to be perceived OR even desirable, beneficial effects at all. Therefore, there is a big chance that the answer to his questions would be: "YUP."

Also: If there are differences in the null test, that would mean that either
A) Samplitude's / Sequoia's engine does alter the sound during processing.
or
B) He did something on purpose to create differences
or
C) doesn't know what he's doing and created differences by accident.

None of these possibilities are desirable. A) would mean that you can't rely on the audio engine to reproduce your audio transparently.
B) would mean he is trying to fool other people on purpose to buy the products of the company he is working at and C) would mean he is not as professional as he believes to be, therefore his opinions and statements can be safely ignored, no matter what position he is working at.


Conclusion:

So either we have false advertisement and lies here, a suspicion that could be supported by all the product links he has posted below his "opinion"...

...or he is a very biased person, convinced on imaginary differences and too proud to admit it. Depending on which parts are true, he might be even slightly incompetent (to do proper testing).

It's funny how he fully relies on the effects of his job and position instead of real facts for his argumentation.

Last edited by Flactopia; 01-17-2015 at 02:13 AM. Reason: added conclusion
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Old 01-17-2015, 02:36 AM   #79
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...back to Tim, Engineer from Eclectica studios...
I have not read of any previous dispute in this thread, but this post is worth replying to, because you said the word 'Engineer'

Quote:
Originally Posted by reaperguy45 View Post
All day long I have mastering engineers calling me and praising how much better Samplitude and Sequoia sound to everything else out there. Are you saying they are all wrong?
Don't know, but I am saying there is nothing engineer-y or scientific about this statement. I bet Reaper and FLStudio developers are getting great feedback all day long... does that prove anything factual? (The answer is: No, it doesn't.)

Quote:
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Are you saying my ears are deceiving me?
If you are like any other human on earth, yes they can do that. Very much so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reaperguy45 View Post
Are you saying that even though the null test showed they are different, and my ears heard one as beautiful and 3d and the other as hard and flat, its all in my head?
Same answer as before... yes, it could all be in your head, if you are human. Are you?

Engineers should be the first to know this stuff. Individual perception and opinion proves nothing. It's all a matter of taste, bias, mood and circumstances. If you want to prove, or even make a point under an 'Engineer' flag, you need to resort to a scientific method, like blind testing.
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Old 01-17-2015, 07:30 AM   #80
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Same answer as before... yes, it could all be in your head, if you are human. Are you?

Engineers should be the first to know this stuff. Individual perception and opinion proves nothing. It's all a matter of taste, bias, mood and circumstances. If you want to prove, or even make a point under an 'Engineer' flag, you need to resort to a scientific method, like blind testing.
A null test can be all in your head?

I wouldn't hold up blind testing as a paragon of the scientific method. It's basically just a step up from questionnaires as a research tool - perhaps an important first step in some cases, but still...
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