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Old 10th June 2003, 02:22 AM   #21
Wizard of Kelts
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Quote:
Originally posted by haldor

- Compressors set on stun. For some reason a lot of people in the music biz think 10 dB is all the dynamic range you need to get a hit. It is astounding just how overcompressed most popular music is now. I been using the "Scope" visualization on Windows media player and it is disgusting just how often you can see long passages that are into constant limiting. No wonder everthing is starting to sound the same.

----
Someone measured the dB range of a New York AM station that played the big hits. The range? 6 dB.

From a radio standpoint, the more compressed the music, the farther the music can travel without the static overtaking it. Hence, extreme compression.
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Old 10th June 2003, 03:09 AM   #22
PassFan is offline PassFan  United States
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Quote:
Originally posted by kelticwizard


Someone measured the dB range of a New York AM station that played the big hits. The range? 6 dB.

From a radio standpoint, the more compressed the music, the farther the music can travel without the static overtaking it. Hence, extreme compression.
I always understood that radios narrow bandwidth on the dial was responsible for the drastic compression they utilize.


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Old 10th June 2003, 03:44 AM   #23
sam9 is offline sam9  United States
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Default Radio compression

I think the heavy compression is in part do to market studies that show that 80+% of all radio listen is now done in tan automobile. The compression is to counter the ambient noise level of the car.
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Old 10th June 2003, 11:32 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by roddyama

Yes, we have a very good grasp of the principles which apply to sound reproduction. The proof of this is in the fact that you can go to most any appliance store and buy a system for about $1000USD and it will do a decent job of reproducing sound. Whether that system is up to audiophile standards is irrelevant to the question. This system will provide a good reproduction of the original sound and was designed and manufactured based on a solid knowledge of the principles of sound reproduction.

Rodd Yamashita
Rodd:

I have no trouble agreeing that we thoroughly know the principles that enable us to make good sound reproduction. What I was hoping to know is, do we know all the principles that apply to sound reproduction yet? Are people hearing things out there that cannot be explained by our present scientific understanding, but might be explainable by scientific principles or effects yet to be discovered?

There are a lot of threads here where, if someone makes an assertion that something sounds good, he is challenged by someone else to show the scientific principles that make it hearable. The argument is, if you cannot produce the scientific explanation for a phenomena, then presumably it doesn't exist, and the listener is fooling himself.

Unless we can be sure that we presently know absolutely all the scientific principles that apply, how can we know if some listeners are not in fact hearing some differences that cannot be explained by the present state of knowledge?

Are A/B tests of a group of listeners necessarily the conclusive proof?
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Old 10th June 2003, 12:18 PM   #25
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Default rant rant rant...

Quote:
Originally posted by kelticwizard
Circlotron, I sense a core of personal experience here. Have you or anyone you know ever designed a piece of audio equipmant only to have it shot down by a reviewer?

Details, please.
I first became aware of people with this attitude back in the mid seventies when reading some roadtests of then-current cars written by these motoring journalists. Their usual style was to thrash the daylights out of the car and hang it sideways on every dirt road they could find and generally treat it as if it were a purpose-built rally car. They then derided the poor behaviour of the car despite the fact they were driving it in a manner for which it was obviously not designed. There seemed to be this unspoken attitude that if they could break it or at least cause it to behave poorly then this would, among other things, stand as further testament to their drivings "skills" and general "right" to dictate to the reading public what was approved by them therefore ok to buy.

IIRC, one time when these motoring writers were road testing what locally known as a Chrysler (later Mitsubishi) Galant. The running-in instructions (cars at least need burning-in ) stipulated that it should not be driven over X mph until Y miles had been covered. One of the issues was that the pinion bearing, being a tapered roller, has a certain amount of preload applied, in the knowledge that in the first few hours of use the bearing would bed-in after which the previously tight preload would reduce to a correct figure for a long and useful life.

Now these motoring journalists simply got the car and not realising the accelerator pedal was an adjustable device, proceeded to give the car heaps. Sure enough, a few hundred miles down the road the diff pinion bearing failed. Naturally this got written up in the magazine review and I can't remember the details except that the factory engineers bowed to ill-formed opinion and set pinion bearings much looser from then on.

This then meant you could now lay rubber out of the showroom door even before the oil pressure light had gone off (well not really) and drive it like a maniac motoring journalist without the diff conking out. Of course, the journo can give the car back at the end of the week and not give it a second thought, but what about Fred Bloggs' car he bought that starts to get a whining diff 3 years down the track because the pinion gear doesn't engage to the correct depth in the crown wheel teeth anymore? The engineers did their homework and if it had been followed there would have been no problem, but because of these self-appointed guardians of the-way-they-think-things-should-be, what was an end-to-end engineered package gets corrupted because of the sway these scribblers have over the buying public. The comparison with hifi reviewers is obvious.
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Old 10th June 2003, 12:33 PM   #26
SY is offline SY  United States
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Quote:
The argument is, if you cannot produce the scientific explanation for a phenomena, then presumably it doesn't exist, and the listener is fooling himself.
No, that's not the argument. I've never seen anyone say something that silly.
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Old 10th June 2003, 02:30 PM   #27
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Default Music reproduction- Art or Science?

In my opinion, with the technology that we are currently using there is no way that we can talk about accurate reproduction with a straight face. There are WAY too many variables involved to consider it a scientific process. Too much of it resolves to personal preference.
For example:
An orchestra recorded with only a spaced stereo pair of microphones. Do you place them close to the group, or back in the room where you or I would sit? There are two actual points that are collecting ALL the musical and ambient data. Two points, out of virtually infinite options. Which two points are correct? When you play it back, are your speakers sitting in exactly the same place as where the microphones would have been, and at exactly the correct angles? Do they have the opposite and complementary frequency response to compensate for the microphones flaws? The fact that the room itself is responsible for what we are hearing in a live performance is the part that we can never get "right". we don't have an microphone with infinite position, and we don't have a speaker that will do the same. We can never render the same acoustic space. It is all about good taste... like painting with just the right color scheme, cooking with just the right combination of ingredients.
The question as to whether we can reproduce accurate sound is pretty much ridiculous. Not a chance.
The purest way I could think of would be using a "dummy" head stereo mic (made from a mould of your own head) and a pair of headphones calibrated to the microphones, and used to re-create one person's experience. Even then, there are an infinite number of variables.
I say we should just enjoy it to our taste, and not try to describe the shape of air.
Steve
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Old 10th June 2003, 04:12 PM   #28
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Default Marketing weasels...

From a radio standpoint, the more compressed the music, the farther the music can travel without the static overtaking it. Hence, extreme compression.

Mostly caused by marketing weasels and the uninformed Station Managers. The bane of station engineers everywhere.

This is such a common complaint amoung engineering staff that the jokes are all known by numbers. Left alone, the engineers will work carefully to constuct a compression scheme that maximizes the quality of the sound coming out of your radio, often adjusted during the different parts of the day, where the program changes. For example, a great number of NPR stations actually go to mono for the news magazines - spoken word usually works best in mono. They still transmit stereo signals, but the two sides are the same. If they broadcast classical music at night, they will have more dynamics and less filtering.

On pop stations, the reality is that few new CD's have more than 10dB of dynamics left in them. But that is another rant.
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Old 10th June 2003, 07:50 PM   #29
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Quote:
The argument is, if you cannot produce the scientific explanation for a phenomena, then presumably it doesn't exist, and the listener is fooling himself.
Many hear differences which most engineering types would defend to death as being impossible. What one needs to define are the conditions under which said difference is heard. As long as I hear a difference in any manner then there is a difference. That is for sure. Whether or not that is an audible difference is easily tested for in numerous inarguable ways. Null tests, DBLT's, anechoic chamber measurements, etc. will all yield repeatable dependable results of audibility claims.

What the real crux of the matter is that when I hear a difference, and subsequently that difference can not be heard in a DBLT or seen in a null or whatever, I am not fooling myself per se, I am adding enjoyment of the music through psychological improvement. It is, I think a pretty complex matter. I remember reading an article on psycho acoustics and the statement that if you simply pan a jet or helicopter from right to left it will sound as if it's overhead. Your brain knows that sound, and will put it in the air where it belongs. That is completely real, but will not show up on any measurement of the reproduction gear. You are not fooling yourself, there is no conscious thought involved.

Where the danger lies, is when one fails to recognize this and goes on a quest for a principle of physics to explain it. On such a quest, people are want to dig up any principle no matter how poorly applied or ill understood in order to reenforce such a belief.

In answer to the question at hand, I think that for all parts of the reproduction chain, the principles at work are understood to such an extent that we can test for any audible differences with a great degree of accuracy. Distortion for example, is one thing which even the most subjective of listeners gives over to the measuring community. There is not a reviewer out there who would claim to be able to tell you what the distortion of an amplifier was just by listening to it, yet that same reviewer will turn around and claim to hear things that cannot be measured at all.

Someone a few posts back mentioned a very accurate tweeter vs. his ESL's which he preferred. To me this is an area which is not nearly as well understood as the rest of the chain. ESL's are notoriously difficult to compare measurements with dynamic speakers, so how the sound is dispersed is very important. It would be folly to say we completely understand the reproduction of music in all it's aspects, but to say we are 99% sure we know the design parameters for an amplifier or interconnect that cannot be bested I think is completely reasonable. Accomplishing these goals is simply a matter of engineering.

So to answer the question, are all the aspects completely understood? Of course not. Can we say that under controlled conditions, if someone can hear a difference we can measure it? I'd say yes.

Chris
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Old 10th June 2003, 07:59 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally posted by Christopher
Where the danger lies, is when one fails to recognize this and goes on a quest for a principle of physics to explain it. On such a quest, people are want to dig up any principle no matter how poorly applied or ill understood in order to reenforce such a belief.
Exactly. Then one falls into the same pseudo-science realm as the so-called "creation science" bunch.

If someone TRULY wants to get to the bottom of these issues, they need to take a wholly dispassionate approach and refrain from dogmatically adhering to one belief or another.

se
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