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Old 26th April 2011, 10:41 PM   #1571
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Originally Posted by doug20 View Post
Yeah, I can see how two questions are just hard to answer.

1. Do you really think the brain has no control over the functionality and the ear handle everything on its own sending the final signal to the brain??

2. Are you saying there is more processing in the ear then in the brain when it comes to audio?

Doug20, if I may have a shot at these two questions? It will be a summary of an excerpt, so there is much more to say about it.

Question 1: It is a two way street between the brain and the ear when you look at neuron pathways, with the brain receiving about 10 times more inputs from the ear than the other way around. It is also known, that the inner ear contains tiny muscles, which contract to avoid damage at high SPL. Furthermore, it is known that the inner haircells, tiny band path filters, may have very steep slopes, up till 1000 dB per octave. If you would try to replicate such a high Q filter with man made technology, this could not be done without considering amounts of ringing. Yet, this does not happen inside the ear. So, in short, a lot of processing is done by the ear, but at a low level; to tidy up the signal, so to speak. As to the question how this biological/neurological system works, much remains unanswered. However, we do have a fair understanding of what comes out of the ear subsystem. Unfortunately, they found out by tapping into the auditory nerve in live cats with tiny needles, but thanks to that, we know that what comes out is like a flat cable, with each individual wire connected to an array of bandpath filters (the ear). See my earlier post. And all this is not linear. The frequency response of the ear is like a banana, belly up. And we also know that the banana gets flatter at higher SPL.

So, this is what the ear subsystem basically does, and all further processing takes place in the brain.

Which brings me to your point 2. Although the ear is not a linear transducer, and also performs a Fourier analysis on incoming sound, the main processing takes place in the brain. The auditory nerve weaves a path through the brain. On this path, it is connected to a series of sub processing centres, which all do very different jobs. It may excite a startle response when it passes through one of the oldest parts of the brain, the pons or brainstem. In the superior olives (some brain parts have odd names), intensity and frequency matching between both ears allows us to locate sound in space. When it goes through the thalamus, it may trigger an emotional response. In Wernecke's area, it may be decoded into intelligeable speach.

All this happens more or less in parallel, and in music, it sometimes leads to an integration at all levels.

My definition of audiophile quality is when this integration can take place, without intervening artifacts. I have only my own brain to decide whether this happens to me, or not.

At the same time, much research has taken place to find out what such intervening artifacts could be. Ringing or non-flat frequency reproduction are known issues that lead to audible artifacts, and so is distortion. We also know that dynamic range is a factor. Noise is more complicated; the ear itself is never silent; it even produces its own sounds which can be picked up from the outside!

I personally can live with some noise in a system, so I partly share the earlier comment that the brain can compensate for imperfections inherent to the LP. Alas, my brain is very unforgiving when it comes to scratches or static. Others may have brains that are able to filter those out better than mine, and for them vinyl might still be an option.
 
Old 26th April 2011, 11:33 PM   #1572
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Thank you Vacuphile, there's also seems to be a compression taking place inside the ear reducing the 120dB auditory range that the ear is sensitive to into a range of vibrations (30–40dB) suitable for transduction by the inner cochlear hair cells - this is an important factor for audio & also demonstrates the non-linear processing taking place in the ear. Also the model is by no means complete as yet & there is more to be discovered!
 
Old 26th April 2011, 11:49 PM   #1573
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@jkeny,

Yep, there is more to be discovered. Perhaps it could be interesting to open a thread along the lines "sound processing by the human auditory system and it's relevance for audio reproduction". But I am new to this site and the subject may have been mulled over a quadrillion times already.
 
Old 26th April 2011, 11:53 PM   #1574
jkeny is offline jkeny  Ireland
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Nice idea - it would be good to get some experts to post on it - I would like to learn more about the field - I don't think it has been done before but maybe I'm wrong - others might be able to say?

EDIT: I've only seen JJ Johnston (the psychoacoustics master) mentioned a couple of times here - I think he might post on Stereophile, don't know if he still does. You seem to know a fair bit about the area?

Last edited by jkeny; 27th April 2011 at 12:06 AM.
 
Old 27th April 2011, 02:08 AM   #1575
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Originally Posted by doug20 View Post
+1 I just received a 500GB drive with 50,000 songs Can not play that on a turntable. Heck, I can not even play that on an Ipod
I assume those are MP3s - or else really short songs.

G
 
Old 27th April 2011, 02:12 AM   #1576
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And did he pay for the songs?
 
Old 27th April 2011, 02:17 AM   #1577
jkeny is offline jkeny  Ireland
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SY, interesting that you totally ignore my points on psychoacoustics & introduce your own red herring about reproduction & yet you also state this
Quote:
[snip] If you take a broader definition, as I do, there's wonderful and technologically germane stuff being done by lots of people. It's just that they're not looking at magic beads and power cords, they're actually out there unravelling the mysteries of psychoacoustics and reproduction in real-world rooms."
Cable distortion and "micro diodes"

You've obviously completely reversed your stated position - care to say what caused this?

Last edited by jkeny; 27th April 2011 at 02:19 AM.
 
Old 27th April 2011, 02:24 AM   #1578
SY is offline SY  United States
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Originally Posted by jkeny View Post

You've obviously completely reversed your stated position - care to say what caused this?
False premise.
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Old 27th April 2011, 02:28 AM   #1579
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False premise.
Brilliant answer, as expected!
 
Old 27th April 2011, 02:34 AM   #1580
jkeny is offline jkeny  Ireland
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Ah maybe you admired the work of Thomas Gold then but now you state:
Quote:
Originally Posted by SY
Quote:
Your ear is not a microphone.
Yes it is, albeit a crude, low performance one. It's the brain where the magic happens. But I've said that a few hundred times with no apparent effect.
So you think the ear is a crude microphone!
 

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