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lecture: Critical listening/evaluation - a path to the future of quali, George Massenburg in London Wednesday 3rd June 2009
2Bdecided
post Jun 2 2009, 11:18
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This may be of interest to some of you who live near London...

QUOTE
Audio Engineering Society British Section Meetings

Lectures are free and are open to all - members and non-members.


QUOTE
Wednesday 3rd June (extra meeting)

Lecture: Critical listening/evaluation - a path to the future of quality music
George Massenburg, George Massenburg Labs

George Massenburg says of his lecture: "This is pretty audacious but I am hoping to set the current crisis in craft in music recording into a broader, perhaps philosophical context. We'll touch on the tyranny, greed and utter stupidity of big record business in taking down music. Anyone who has worked in a factory will have experienced life as a much-reduced palette - life as formulaic, as a slave to technology. A given technology, once introduced, plays itself out to its logical or natural conclusion. Where technology dominates you end up with machines running the people. Ultimately, the meltdown of the record business might be due in some part to the precipitous decline in quality music and quality music recording.

More down to earth, I will be playing some of the best recordings I can get my hands on. They are not all necessarily conceived as 'high-res' but are definitely deeply scarred by cheap playback methodologies. I've also gotten my hands on some extraordinary multi-track masters, such as Stevie Wonder's Superstition, which we'll play and listen to critically.

My hope for the meeting is to develop ideas between us all as to how we can better demonstrate to students how important quality recording is."

The lecture will be held at The Royal Academy of Engineering, 3 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5DG, just off Pall Mall. The meeting starts at 7.00pm with refreshments at 6.30pm.


http://www.aes.org/sections/uk/meetings/index.html


Edit: an mp3 of the lecture is now available:
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....st&p=640868

Cheers,
David.

This post has been edited by 2Bdecided: Jun 11 2009, 13:43
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Spikey
post Jun 2 2009, 13:27
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Thanks for posting David- good to hear people still do this stuff, I had no idea they did.

If anyone goes, will they post?

- Spike
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Jun 2 2009, 14:17
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Hopefully, the MP3 of this presentation will be online in due course, for those of us in the hinterlands! ;-)

IME George Massenburg is one of the "good guys", someone who has spoken out clearly against the hi-rez recording format myth.

This post has been edited by Frank Bicking: Jun 2 2009, 14:20
Reason for edit: Removed fullquote of the first post.
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ShowsOn
post Jun 2 2009, 15:22
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I think those Superstition multitracks have been floating around the net. This guy has them:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WryUOXo9sfM

The sad thing is there is no good sounding version of that album. I have an original vinyl, original CD, and had the remastered CD release that all sound poor.


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krabapple
post Jun 2 2009, 17:45
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One remarkable thing about this to me is that it looks like he's gonna play the actual Superstition multis. Stevie Wonder has never authorized use of his master tapes for any CDs so far, and his LPs back then were notoriously hard to cut (so I doubt we've ever head this music in best quality). Wish I could hear this.

This post has been edited by krabapple: Jun 2 2009, 17:48
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Jun 2 2009, 17:58
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QUOTE (krabapple @ Jun 2 2009, 12:45) *
One remarkable thing about this to me is that it looks like he's gonna play the actual Superstition multis. Stevie Wonder has never authorized use of his master tapes for any CDs so far, and his LPs back then were notoriously hard to cut (so I doubt we've ever head this music in best quality). Wish I could hear this.


I see that there are currently available torrents composed of at least some of the individual tracks.

From practical experience I can tell you that a collection of individually brilliant tracks does not necessarily give you an adequate basis for an excellent mixdown. If some of the tracks are mediocre, then even less so.
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Stereoeditor
post Jun 2 2009, 20:48
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Jun 2 2009, 09:17) *
IME George Massenburg is one of the "good guys", someone who has spoken out clearly against the hi-rez recording format myth.


That's odd. George and I both appeared on a panel at the 2007 AES Conference in London and were pretty much in agreement on the merits of high sample rates and bit depth greater than 16.

John Atkinson
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Ron Jones
post Jun 2 2009, 21:29
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With what particular merits were you in George in agreement on?
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krabapple
post Jun 3 2009, 00:55
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QUOTE (Ron Jones @ Jun 2 2009, 16:29) *
With what particular merits were you in George in agreement on?


Exactly the right question.

I hope this isn't just the uncontroversial merits of high-bit digital production/processing, or the employment of high SR stages to allow artifact-immune antialiasing and antiimaging filtering. I.e., 'larger numbers' as a means to AVOID introducing artifacts in the audible band, not because the Redbook 'numbers' inherently fail to capture what's audibly important?

Or does Mr. Massenburg think Redbook delivery formats *inherently* 'lack' something important, which has long been the stance among types who champion, say *vinyl*?

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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Jun 3 2009, 01:15
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QUOTE (Ron Jones @ Jun 2 2009, 16:29) *
With what particular merits were you in George in agreement on?


Most recently, the lack of audible differences due to 96 KHz sampling.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Jun 3 2009, 01:17
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QUOTE (Stereoeditor @ Jun 2 2009, 15:48) *
QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Jun 2 2009, 09:17) *
IME George Massenburg is one of the "good guys", someone who has spoken out clearly against the hi-rez recording format myth.


That's odd. George and I both appeared on a panel at the 2007 AES Conference in London and were pretty much in agreement on the merits of high sample rates and bit depth greater than 16.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile



Just another example of John's delusion that just a few nuts, who mostly live in Michigan disagree with him about anything. ;-)

BTW John, you have often been shown to hear whatever you want to hear, and I guess this includes not only listening tests of equipment, but also panel discussions.

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2Bdecided
post Jun 3 2009, 09:43
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QUOTE (Spikey @ Jun 2 2009, 13:27) *
If anyone goes, will they post?
Yes.
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Stereoeditor
post Jun 3 2009, 12:19
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QUOTE (Ron Jones @ Jun 2 2009, 16:29) *
With what particular merits were you [and] George in agreement on?


That question would appear to be unanswerable on this forum, as any statement of opinion I make would need, by HA's rules, to be supported by the results of blind testing, and I have no intention of being sucked (again) into at that particular maelstrom. If you are really interested in my thoughts and not just trolling, read my essays at http://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/907awsi/ and http://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/1007awsi/ .

John Atkinson
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Stereoeditor
post Jun 3 2009, 12:24
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Jun 2 2009, 20:17) *
QUOTE (Stereoeditor @ Jun 2 2009, 15:48) *
QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Jun 2 2009, 09:17) *
IME George Massenburg is one of the "good guys", someone who has spoken out clearly against the hi-rez recording format myth.


That's odd. George and I both appeared on a panel at the 2007 AES Conference in London and were pretty much in agreement on the merits of high sample rates and bit depth greater than 16.


Just another example of John's delusion that just a few nuts, who mostly live in Michigan disagree with him about anything. ;-)


I don't believe so, Mr. Krueger. I had thought it apparent from my posting that I was disagreeing with just one nut who lives not "mostly" but 100% in Michigan. :-)

QUOTE
BTW John, you have often been shown to hear whatever you want to hear...


Really? A specific example would be helpful, Mr. Krueger. This is HA, after all, where expression of opion are required to be supported with evidential data.

John Atkinson
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2Bdecided
post Jun 3 2009, 14:26
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QUOTE (Stereoeditor @ Jun 3 2009, 12:19) *
Certainly worth reading.

But given all that, you'd think it would be quite easy to set up a blind test and get statistically significant results.

Part of me thinks people just haven't tried hard enough. But part of me knows that certain organisations with a lot to gain will have done these tests, and if they had positive results, they would have published them.


Interesting comments about the old 78rpm disc sampled at a higher rate - of course a 78 replayed with the correct de-emphasis curve (e.g. Westrex rather than RIAA) has blisteringly high levels of high frequency and ultrasonic noise. You couldn't get a worse case for triggering the ringing from anti-alias / imaging filters in ADCs and DACs. It should be inaudible, but any non-linearity in the system could cause it to appear within the audible range.

Cheers,
David.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Jun 3 2009, 15:01
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QUOTE (Stereoeditor @ Jun 3 2009, 07:19) *
QUOTE (Ron Jones @ Jun 2 2009, 16:29) *
With what particular merits were you [and] George in agreement on?


That question would appear to be unanswerable on this forum, as any statement of opinion I make would need, by HA's rules, to be supported by the results of blind testing, and I have no intention of being sucked (again) into at that particular maelstrom. If you are really interested in my thoughts and not just trolling, read my essays at http://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/907awsi/


Here's two easy TOS8 violations, which I am free to post because unlike John, I don't have anything to lose by pointing out the obvious - thet are base don sighted evaluations, and are therefore higly questionable:

QUOTE
Meridian's Bob Stuart wrote a decade ago, echoing earlier work by the Acoustic Renaissance for Audio, that without noise-shaping, a minimum of 58kHz sampling and a word length of 18.2 bits were necessary for audio to be PCM-encoded with audible transparency (footnote 1), and there was a consensus at the AES conference that hi-rez audio encoding does offer a sonic improvement compared with the 16-bit/44.1kHz-sampled CD standard.

In his keynote address, for example, preeminent engineer Peter Craven demonstrated how digitally transferring a 78 of an electrical recording of an aria from Puccini's La Bohème, recorded live at Covent Garden on June 8, 1926, improved in sound quality when the sample rate was increased from 44.1kHz to 192kHz. Though it was difficult to hear in the reverberant lecture hall, at the highest sample rate, the inevitable surface noise, crackling, and distortion did indeed seem to float free from the mono image of the singer and orchestra compared to the lower rate, at which the noise and distortion seemed more wedded to the image.


QUOTE


Let's start with the rediculous straw man and grotesquely flawed simile:

QUOTE
So when you read in the popular press that 128kbps MP3s are indistinguishable from CDs, or that satellite radio, which runs at around 64kbps for two channels, is of "CD quality," think of the implications of Philip's demo. Not the least of these, of course, was that we were aware of the degradation from 24/88.2 to "Red Book" CD data, despite the proclamations from some pundits that the CD medium is audibly transparent.


and two more TOS8 violations which I can of course simply dismiss by saying I don't buy any of the following unsupported claims:

QUOTE
This has been my own experience. I've been recording in high resolution since pianist Hyperion Knight's performance of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, in 1997 (Stereophile STPH010-2), and a constant observation has been that undesirable aspects of the sound that I felt were at or below threshold with the original hi-rez files become more annoying, and less readily resolved, when the data are mastered for the commercial CD release. This was the case with my recording of Robert Silverman performing Beethoven's complete piano sonatas, in which the early reflections from the walls of the small recital hall had more of a deleterious effect with the "Red Book" data than with the original hi-rez data (see Stereophile, January 2001, pp.99–107), thus mandating a remix.

This is currently the case with my most recent recording of the vocal group Cantus: after I'd done all the mixing and equalization at 88.2kHz, the CD versions sounded more muddy and less refined than I'd expected, given the care with which I'd downsampled and noiseshaped the hi-rez data. The mix and EQ choices I'd made at 88.2kHz were not optimal for the 44.1kHz versions. My detectives had been misled by the clues. As a result, the release of the CD is horribly late.


The second example could have a technical leg to stand on, if John screwed things up enough - it is well known that nonlinear distoriton in the digital domain tends to reflect downwards from the nyquist frequency, and thus potentially into a range where it is clearly audible. So, if John exceeded the dynamic range of his software with his processing (conceivably possible with extreme noise shaping), there could well be audible artifacts.


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Stereoeditor
post Jun 3 2009, 16:00
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Jun 3 2009, 10:01) *
QUOTE (Stereoeditor @ Jun 3 2009, 07:19) *
QUOTE (Ron Jones @ Jun 2 2009, 16:29) *
With what particular merits were you [and] George in agreement on?


That question would appear to be unanswerable on this forum, as any statement of opinion I make would need, by HA's rules, to be supported by the results of blind testing, and I have no intention of being sucked (again) into at that particular maelstrom. If you are really interested in my thoughts and not just trolling, read my essays at http://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/907awsi/


Here's two easy TOS8 violations...and two more TOS8 violations...


It should go without saying that an opinion expressed in "meatspace" rather than the somewhat rarefied cyberspace of HA is not subject to ToS8.

QUOTE
QUOTE
This has been my own experience. I've been recording in high resolution since pianist Hyperion Knight's performance of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, in 1997 (Stereophile STPH010-2), and a constant observation has been that undesirable aspects of the sound that I felt were at or below threshold with the original hi-rez files become more annoying, and less readily resolved, when the data are mastered for the commercial CD release. This was the case with my recording of Robert Silverman performing Beethoven's complete piano sonatas, in which the early reflections from the walls of the small recital hall had more of a deleterious effect with the "Red Book" data than with the original hi-rez data (see Stereophile, January 2001, pp.99–107), thus mandating a remix.

This is currently the case with my most recent recording of the vocal group Cantus: after I'd done all the mixing and equalization at 88.2kHz, the CD versions sounded more muddy and less refined than I'd expected, given the care with which I'd downsampled and noiseshaped the hi-rez data. The mix and EQ choices I'd made at 88.2kHz were not optimal for the 44.1kHz versions. My detectives had been misled by the clues. As a result, the release of the CD is horribly late.


The second example could have a technical leg to stand on, if John screwed things up enough - it is well known that nonlinear distoriton in the digital domain tends to reflect downwards from the nyquist frequency, and thus potentially into a range where it is clearly audible. So, if John exceeded the dynamic range of his software with his processing (conceivably possible with extreme noise shaping), there could well be audible artifacts.


That was not the case with either of the recordings mentioned, Mr. Krueger.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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krabapple
post Jun 3 2009, 16:05
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QUOTE
Meridian's Bob Stuart wrote a decade ago, echoing earlier work by the Acoustic Renaissance for Audio, that without noise-shaping, a minimum of 58kHz sampling and a word length of 18.2 bits were necessary for audio to be PCM-encoded with audible transparency (footnote 1), and there was a consensus at the AES conference that hi-rez audio encoding does offer a sonic improvement compared with the 16-bit/44.1kHz-sampled CD standard.


Mr. Atkinson,

These two essays haven't changed since I first saw them: more anecdotal than scientific (Drs Woszczyk and Usher's presentation hasn't been published as peer-reviewed work yet, has it?) . It's surpassingly odd that the 'usual suspects *still*, at this late date, haven't come up with the slam-dunk evidence from controlled listening tests to support this supposed 'consensus'. (And where were Dr. Lipshitz and other skeptics when this 'consensus' was arrived at?)

Besides, since Redbook delivery these days is typically dithered down with noise shaping from a higher-bitrate production chain, *what is the problem*?


(2bdecided, Bob Katz did do a more thorough investigation of higher SR -- and found that audible difference, when it exists, is likely due to the filtering, not the SR per se. He talks about it in his book 'Mastering Audio' and on some of the pro sound boards)

This post has been edited by krabapple: Jun 3 2009, 16:15
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Jun 3 2009, 16:15
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QUOTE (Stereoeditor @ Jun 3 2009, 11:00) *
QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Jun 3 2009, 10:01) *
QUOTE (Stereoeditor @ Jun 3 2009, 07:19) *
QUOTE (Ron Jones @ Jun 2 2009, 16:29) *
With what particular merits were you [and] George in agreement on?


That question would appear to be unanswerable on this forum, as any statement of opinion I make would need, by HA's rules, to be supported by the results of blind testing, and I have no intention of being sucked (again) into at that particular maelstrom. If you are really interested in my thoughts and not just trolling, read my essays at http://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/907awsi/


Here's two easy TOS8 violations...and two more TOS8 violations...


It should go without saying that an opinion expressed in "meatspace" rather than the somewhat rarefied cyberspace of HA is not subject to ToS8.

QUOTE
QUOTE
This has been my own experience. I've been recording in high resolution since pianist Hyperion Knight's performance of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, in 1997 (Stereophile STPH010-2), and a constant observation has been that undesirable aspects of the sound that I felt were at or below threshold with the original hi-rez files become more annoying, and less readily resolved, when the data are mastered for the commercial CD release. This was the case with my recording of Robert Silverman performing Beethoven's complete piano sonatas, in which the early reflections from the walls of the small recital hall had more of a deleterious effect with the "Red Book" data than with the original hi-rez data (see Stereophile, January 2001, pp.99–107), thus mandating a remix.

This is currently the case with my most recent recording of the vocal group Cantus: after I'd done all the mixing and equalization at 88.2kHz, the CD versions sounded more muddy and less refined than I'd expected, given the care with which I'd downsampled and noiseshaped the hi-rez data. The mix and EQ choices I'd made at 88.2kHz were not optimal for the 44.1kHz versions. My detectives had been misled by the clues. As a result, the release of the CD is horribly late.


The second example could have a technical leg to stand on, if John screwed things up enough - it is well known that nonlinear distoriton in the digital domain tends to reflect downwards from the nyquist frequency, and thus potentially into a range where it is clearly audible. So, if John exceeded the dynamic range of his software with his processing (conceivably possible with extreme noise shaping), there could well be audible artifacts.


That was not the case with either of the recordings mentioned, Mr. Krueger.


Prove it John. All of it.

It is painfully obvioius to many of us that your lengthy leadership of SP have given you the very unhealthy impression that simply speaking words makes them so. Since you don't sign any paychecks around here, you should be prepared for a little higher standard of support for your various exceptional claims.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Jun 3 2009, 16:23
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QUOTE (ShowsOn @ Jun 2 2009, 10:22) *
I think those Superstition multitracks have been floating around the net. This guy has them:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WryUOXo9sfM

The sad thing is there is no good sounding version of that album. I have an original vinyl, original CD, and had the remastered CD release that all sound poor.


I'm curious about what you find disatisfying about the sound of that album.

The collection of discrete tracks for the title track is not difficult to obtain, and I've done so. Listening to them individually and mixing them at will, I find that they are very interesting. For one thing they are a catalog many of the numerous techical problems common to studios in the days of analog. They do seem to be genuine. There's some funny stuff that is probably masked or edited out from the final mix that most of us are familiar with.
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2Bdecided
post Jun 3 2009, 16:28
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QUOTE (krabapple @ Jun 3 2009, 16:05) *
(2bdecided, Bob Katz did do a more thorough investigation of higher SR -- and found that audible difference, when it exists, is likely due to the filtering, not the SR per se. He talks about it in his book 'Mastering Audio' and on some of the pro sound boards)
Yep - read those - all sighted tests - results were as you say (though in the one I read, they listened to just the filtering at one stage).


At this rate, this thread will have to be split.

Cheers,
David.
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2Bdecided
post Jun 3 2009, 16:50
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Jun 3 2009, 16:23) *
Listening to them individually and mixing them at will, I find that they are very interesting. For one thing they are a catalog many of the numerous techical problems common to studios in the days of analog.
There was a great programme on BBC 6 Music the other week dissecting some multi-tracks from Roy Wood (The Move, ELO, Wizard) and talking about just how much he had to cram onto one track in the days of 8 or 16 tracks. Really interesting - amazing too how different the final mix sounds from the 8 or 16 tracks that make it.

It was called "The Record Producers - Roy Wood".

Cheers,
David.
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Stereoeditor
post Jun 3 2009, 17:31
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Jun 3 2009, 11:15) *
QUOTE (Stereoeditor @ Jun 3 2009, 11:00) *

QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger)
"This has been my own experience. I've been recording in high resolution since pianist Hyperion Knight's performance of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, in 1997 (Stereophile STPH010-2), and a constant observation has been that undesirable aspects of the sound that I felt were at or below threshold with the original hi-rez files become more annoying, and less readily resolved, when the data are mastered for the commercial CD release. This was the case with my recording of Robert Silverman performing Beethoven's complete piano sonatas, in which the early reflections from the walls of the small recital hall had more of a deleterious effect with the "Red Book" data than with the original hi-rez data (see Stereophile, January 2001, pp.99–107), thus mandating a remix.

"This is currently the case with my most recent recording of the vocal group Cantus: after I'd done all the mixing and equalization at 88.2kHz, the CD versions sounded more muddy and less refined than I'd expected, given the care with which I'd downsampled and noiseshaped the hi-rez data. The mix and EQ choices I'd made at 88.2kHz were not optimal for the 44.1kHz versions. My detectives had been misled by the clues. As a result, the release of the CD is horribly late." (John Atkinson, quoted from http://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/1007awsi/)

The second example could have a technical leg to stand on, if John screwed things up enough - it is well known that nonlinear distoriton in the digital domain tends to reflect downwards from the nyquist frequency, and thus potentially into a range where it is clearly audible. So, if John exceeded the dynamic range of his software with his processing (conceivably possible with extreme noise shaping), there could well be audible artifacts.


That was not the case with either of the recordings mentioned, Mr. Krueger.


Prove it John. All of it.


Why do I have to, Mr. Krueger? I didn't post these statements of mine to HA thus ToS8 doesn't apply. I do know for a fact that I didn't screw up the downsampling and word-length reduction, however. But I will gladly supply samples of the original high-resolution files and the downsampled versions to others who might like to do the comparisons if they email me their street addresses.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
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krabapple
post Jun 3 2009, 20:46
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QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Jun 3 2009, 11:28) *
QUOTE (krabapple @ Jun 3 2009, 16:05) *
(2bdecided, Bob Katz did do a more thorough investigation of higher SR -- and found that audible difference, when it exists, is likely due to the filtering, not the SR per se. He talks about it in his book 'Mastering Audio' and on some of the pro sound boards)
Yep - read those - all sighted tests - results were as you say (though in the one I read, they listened to just the filtering at one stage).


At this rate, this thread will have to be split.

Cheers,
David.



You sure they were all sighted? On one list I read, BK recently seemed to make a distinction between SR tests -- which have all showed him 'it's the filtering' -- and tests of bitdepths, which he said he believed should be raised for production steps, even though he has no DBTs to prove it.

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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Jun 3 2009, 21:36
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QUOTE (Stereoeditor @ Jun 3 2009, 12:31) *
But I will gladly supply samples of the original high-resolution files and the downsampled versions to others who might like to do the comparisons if they email me their street addresses.


My street address is unchanged.
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RSS Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 26th December 2014 - 02:16