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Have you ever regretted ABXing?, How has it changed your feelings about your stuff?
BearcatSandor
post Nov 3 2010, 21:30
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By "stuff" i mean equipment and music?

Have you ever ABXed something and found yourself not enjoying it as much as you did now that you know it's not all you thought it to be? Has the opposite ever happened to you?

I don't have the set up to ABX sound files yet (i'm a Linux user and both options seem to be dead). After participating in this forum for only a few days and reading of others experiences with 24-bit vs 16-bit music i'm now looking at my 24-bit collection of DVD-As, SACDs and 24-bit Studio Master downloads and thinking "..Damn it?" with a bit of confusion. I don't feel as secure with them anymore. I thought i had the 'best' sound i could get which is always a goal for folks like me.

Conversely, i might enjoy my redbook CDs more now as i won't be thinking "well they aren't 24-bit :"( " and i might not be hearing deficits that aren't really there.

I'm not sure how to feel about that.

I'm sure i'm not the only one here who's gone though this. Some of you started out as 'audiofools' too, right? How did you deal with this?

In a sense i'm kinda feeling "No, i don't want to look up ABX testing for loudspeakers. I waited 10 years for just the right pair to come to me and i really don't want to know that my $2.5k Anthony Gallo Acoustic Reference 3.1s are 'the same' as a pair of BestBuy specials." That's a bit of an exaggeration given how different speakers can be ...at least i think it is.

I'm uncertain. Honestly, i think i'm changing quickly and looking for support.

So how did you deal when the ABXing didn't work out how how you hoped it might?

Thanks

edit: Brought it back on-topic a bit.

This post has been edited by BearcatSandor: Nov 3 2010, 21:59


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Josh358
post Nov 4 2010, 19:23
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QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 3 2010, 15:30) *
Conversely, i might enjoy my redbook CDs more now as i won't be thinking "well they aren't 24-bit :"( " and i might not be hearing deficits that aren't really there.


Though as the authors of the comparison paper pointed out, high res CD's are frequently produced to a higher standard of quality. This is because the record companies know that they're selling mainly to audiophiles and don't have to accommodate Grandma's Philco with sonic compromises like excessive compression.

So I say trust your ears, just not excessively so! I've heard hi res recordings that really do sound sweet.

And don't forget that ABX testing has limitations. It's nice to see someone avoiding snake oil, but I've seen people go to the opposite extreme, and overlook statistical limitations in practical ABX tests and flaws in testing methodology.

An example of the latter would be the use of program material of inadequate dynamic range to "prove" that you can't hear the difference between 16 and 24 bits. On most program material, you can't. But it's established both as a matter of theory and experiment that on program material of very wide dynamic range, reproduced at natural levels in a quiet listening room, you can. Here's a wonderful paper, by Louis B. Fielder of Dolby Labs, on the issue:

http://www.zainea.com/Dynamic%20range.htm

Sure, not every recording is of a Mahler symphony, but bits are cheap, so why not choose a format that can accommodate even the most demanding program material?
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greynol
post Nov 4 2010, 20:54
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QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 4 2010, 11:23) *
An example of the latter would be the use of program material of inadequate dynamic range to "prove" that you can't hear the difference between 16 and 24 bits

People who actually understand ABX testing methodology would never make such a claim.

Perhaps you can provide some samples and ABX logs demonstrating how one derives an audibly perceptible benefit in using greater than 16 bits with real music?

This post has been edited by greynol: Nov 4 2010, 21:07


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Josh358
post Nov 5 2010, 00:18
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QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 4 2010, 14:54) *
QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 4 2010, 11:23) *
An example of the latter would be the use of program material of inadequate dynamic range to "prove" that you can't hear the difference between 16 and 24 bits

People who actually understand ABX testing methodology would never make such a claim.

Perhaps you can provide some samples and ABX logs demonstrating how one derives an audibly perceptible benefit in using greater than 16 bits with real music?


I was referring to Meyer and Moran:

"We found that most of the SACD and DVD-A recordings produced what might be termed realistic playback (that is, the subjects heard the sources loudly and clearly, with natural timbres and appropriate scale but without discomfort) at a system gain such that a 1-kHz octave band of noise recorded at an average level of −16 dBFS produced an SPL at the listening position of 85 dB, unweighted." (Audibility of CD-standard A/D/A Loop, J. Audio Eng. Soc., Vol. 55, No. 9, 2007 September)

ABX comparisons conducted at a peak level of 101 dB SPL is unlikely to challenge a system with a dynamic range of 96 dB.

However,

"In one brief test with two subjects we added 14 dB of gain to the reference level quoted and tested the two sources with no input signal, to see whether the noise level of the CD audio channel would prove audible. Although one of the subjects was uncertain of his ability to hear the noise, both achieved results of 10/10 in detecting the CD loop. (We have not yet determined the threshold of this effect. With gain of more than 14 dB above reference, detection of the CD chain?s higher noise floor was easy, with no uncertainty. Tests with other subjects bore this out.)"

So the noise floor of the 16 bit system was apparently audible in an ABX test with the system calibrated to produce a peak full scale level of 115 dB SPL, which is within the measured maximum peak levels of live acoustical music as reported in the paper to which I referred in my post. That would seem to validate at least some of the conclusions reached by the author of the Dolby paper.


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2Bdecided
post Nov 5 2010, 01:08
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QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 5 2010, 00:18) *
a system gain such that a 1-kHz octave band of noise recorded at an average level of −16 dBFS produced an SPL at the listening position of 85 dB, unweighted
That's only 2dB quieter than SMPTE RP200 (if the calibration was single channel).

No sane person wants to listen louder than SMPTE RP200. Not that many people want to listen at SMPTE RP200 loudness. I've ran tests where people have demanded 6 to 12dB less volume than this. Depends on the recording of course. On modern pop recordings you'd easily want to run 20dB quieter!

It's fantastically rare for people listening to recordings to re-create a sound pressure level that matches a loud live performance. Some instruments (e.g. brass) are just so loud that it's really hard to match it - and the recording sounds "too loud" at a far lower level than the real thing.

Cheers,
David.

This post has been edited by 2Bdecided: Nov 5 2010, 01:09
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Josh358
post Nov 5 2010, 01:46
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QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Nov 4 2010, 19:08) *
That's only 2dB quieter than SMPTE RP200 (if the calibration was single channel).

No sane person wants to listen louder than SMPTE RP200. Not that many people want to listen at SMPTE RP200 loudness. I've ran tests where people have demanded 6 to 12dB less volume than this. Depends on the recording of course. On modern pop recordings you'd easily want to run 20dB quieter!

It's fantastically rare for people listening to recordings to re-create a sound pressure level that matches a loud live performance. Some instruments (e.g. brass) are just so loud that it's really hard to match it - and the recording sounds "too loud" at a far lower level than the real thing.

Cheers,
David.


Interesting. It doesn't surprise me. I do know, online, a couple of people who listen at natural levels because they're familiar with and want to reproduce the 120 dB peaks of a grand piano at close quarters, but they appear to be the exception rather than the norm.

I'm not sure how much of this has to do with personal preferences and how much of it has to do with the limitations of consumer playback equipment and compression on acoustical recordings. I believe it's been demonstrated that listeners tend to gauge subjective loudness on the basis of distortion rather than SPL, meaning that people will listen at higher levels to a system with greater headroom. I've noticed that people typically listen at much higher levels in the studio than they do at home, and it seems to me that the ability of professional equipment to reproduce music cleanly at natural levels may have something to do with that.
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Posts in this topic
- BearcatSandor   Have you ever regretted ABXing?   Nov 3 2010, 21:30
- - dv1989   QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 3 2010, 20:30)...   Nov 3 2010, 21:39
|- - BearcatSandor   QUOTE (dv1989 @ Nov 3 2010, 14:39) At the...   Nov 3 2010, 21:45
|- - greynol   QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 3 2010, 13:45)...   Nov 3 2010, 22:04
|- - dv1989   QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 3 2010, 20:45)...   Nov 3 2010, 22:17
- - greynol   If it's any consolation, the most common advic...   Nov 3 2010, 21:48
- - mixminus1   Oh, I don't think you should regret buying the...   Nov 3 2010, 22:20
|- - BearcatSandor   QUOTE (mixminus1 @ Nov 3 2010, 15:20) Oh,...   Nov 3 2010, 22:32
||- - mixminus1   QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 3 2010, 14:32)...   Nov 3 2010, 22:48
|- - Northpack   QUOTE (mixminus1 @ Nov 3 2010, 22:20) I...   Nov 3 2010, 22:39
- - greynol   That's funny, I was thinking the opposite: th...   Nov 3 2010, 22:51
|- - mixminus1   Oh, then you'd positively LOVE these. >:D ...   Nov 3 2010, 23:14
- - mixminus1   ...and now attempting to at least get myself back ...   Nov 3 2010, 23:45
- - Roseval   QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 3 2010, 22:30)...   Nov 4 2010, 00:22
|- - odigg   I think I had two simultaneous feelings after I st...   Nov 4 2010, 01:29
- - Josh358   QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 3 2010, 15:30)...   Nov 4 2010, 19:23
|- - greynol   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 4 2010, 11:23) An ex...   Nov 4 2010, 20:54
||- - Josh358   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 4 2010, 14:54) QUOTE...   Nov 5 2010, 00:18
||- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 5 2010, 00:18) a sys...   Nov 5 2010, 01:08
||- - Josh358   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Nov 4 2010, 19:08) Tha...   Nov 5 2010, 01:46
||- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 5 2010, 01:46) I...   Nov 5 2010, 08:44
||- - Josh358   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Nov 5 2010, 02:44) ......   Nov 5 2010, 17:38
|- - Porcus   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 4 2010, 19:23) Thoug...   Nov 23 2010, 14:40
- - hlloyge   Personally, my aac's are now around 160 kbit V...   Nov 4 2010, 21:54
- - greynol   While that may be, this forum requires different c...   Nov 5 2010, 00:41
|- - Josh358   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 4 2010, 18:41) While...   Nov 5 2010, 01:19
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 4 2010, 20:19) Surpr...   Nov 5 2010, 17:50
|- - Josh358   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Nov 5 2010, 11...   Nov 5 2010, 22:46
||- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 5 2010, 16:46) QUOTE...   Nov 8 2010, 14:00
||- - Josh358   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Nov 8 2010, 08...   Nov 8 2010, 17:28
|||- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 8 2010, 11:28) QUOTE...   Nov 8 2010, 20:11
|||- - Josh358   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Nov 8 2010, 14...   Nov 9 2010, 01:05
|||- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 8 2010, 19:05) I ass...   Nov 9 2010, 13:48
|||- - Josh358   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Nov 9 2010, 07...   Nov 9 2010, 23:52
|||- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 9 2010, 17:52) Inter...   Nov 10 2010, 07:27
||||- - Josh358   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Nov 10 2010, 01:27) ...   Nov 10 2010, 17:20
||||- - BearcatSandor   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 10 2010, 09:20) QUOT...   Nov 10 2010, 18:00
||||- - Josh358   QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 10 2010, 12:00...   Nov 10 2010, 18:54
|||- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 9 2010, 17:52) Of co...   Nov 10 2010, 14:19
|||- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 9 2010, 17:52) Inter...   Nov 10 2010, 15:00
|||- - Josh358   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Nov 10 2010, 09...   Nov 10 2010, 18:49
||- - krabapple   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Nov 8 2010, 08...   Nov 17 2010, 18:19
|- - krabapple   QUOTE I see the Fielder paper as being a justifica...   Nov 17 2010, 18:15
- - DigitalMan   Interesting OP Did ABX after ripping to LAME 256kb...   Nov 5 2010, 02:06
- - Canar   I have never regretted ABXing. Double-blind testin...   Nov 5 2010, 02:20
- - BearcatSandor   I appreciate all of these posts. I'm still de-...   Nov 5 2010, 03:00
|- - Josh358   QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 4 2010, 21:00)...   Nov 5 2010, 03:51
|- - greynol   QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 4 2010, 19:00)...   Nov 5 2010, 04:23
|- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 4 2010, 21:00)...   Nov 5 2010, 07:13
||- - knutinh   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Nov 5 2010, 07:13) I...   Nov 5 2010, 08:20
||- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (knutinh @ Nov 5 2010, 02:20) QUOTE...   Nov 6 2010, 06:29
||- - dv1989   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Nov 6 2010, 05:29) I...   Nov 6 2010, 11:10
||- - googlebot   QUOTE (dv1989 @ Nov 6 2010, 12:10) What y...   Nov 6 2010, 11:39
|- - dv1989   QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 5 2010, 02:00)...   Nov 5 2010, 23:53
- - greynol   No worries. I think the fear that transcoding is ...   Nov 5 2010, 07:42
|- - Josh358   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 5 2010, 01:42) No wo...   Nov 5 2010, 17:32
|- - greynol   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 5 2010, 09:32) Has a...   Nov 5 2010, 18:34
|- - Josh358   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 5 2010, 12:34) QUOTE...   Nov 5 2010, 22:00
|- - greynol   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 5 2010, 14:00) Which...   Nov 6 2010, 21:07
|- - Josh358   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 6 2010, 15:07) QUOTE...   Nov 6 2010, 23:50
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 6 2010, 17:50) Elect...   Nov 8 2010, 14:17
|- - Josh358   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Nov 8 2010, 08...   Nov 8 2010, 19:32
- - simonh   I wonder whether lossy will formats distributed ov...   Nov 5 2010, 08:52
- - Takla   The only damage I've caused by abx testing has...   Nov 5 2010, 16:07
- - DigitalMan   After a humbling fail on ABX with MP3 at 192kbp/s ...   Nov 6 2010, 05:33
- - dv1989   Yeah, I may have overgeneralised. I think I meant...   Nov 6 2010, 11:56
- - Meeko   Never regretted learning that my hearing isn't...   Nov 11 2010, 15:18
- - Onebeforezod   The weird thing for me was that I really could tel...   Nov 25 2010, 02:36
|- - greynol   QUOTE (Onebeforezod @ Nov 24 2010, 17:36)...   Nov 25 2010, 02:42
|- - Onebeforezod   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 24 2010, 17:42) QUOT...   Nov 26 2010, 10:37
- - analog scott   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 25 2010, 03:42) QUOT...   Nov 25 2010, 20:55
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (analog scott @ Nov 25 2010, 14:55)...   Nov 25 2010, 22:38
- - greynol   Your ABX report saying you can tell the difference...   Nov 27 2010, 03:22
|- - mjb2006   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 26 2010, 19:22) Your...   Nov 29 2010, 22:53
- - Wombat   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 27 2010, 04:22) Your...   Nov 27 2010, 03:29
- - BearcatSandor   QUOTE (Wombat @ Nov 26 2010, 19:29) QUOTE...   Nov 29 2010, 21:50


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