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Dynamic range question, Dynamic range of hearing vs. equipment
thesurfingalien
post Jun 8 2011, 01:16
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Hi All,

I am having problems understanding the concept of dynamic range, and more specific how the dynamic range of human hearing relates to the dynamic range as specified for audio equipment.

What I have read on the Net is that the dynamic range of human hearing is, on average, 135 dB (the pain limit / threshold?).

I also understand that the dynamic range of a CD (16 bit) is limited to 96 dB, and for HD (24 bit) recordings 144 dB. This dynamic range is calculated by the bit-depth.

For playback of music (I use 44.1/16 flac only) I use a E-MU 1820 that has a dynamic range of about 115 dB (or so). I am not sure what my amp can do...

However, when I play music I hardly pass 80 dB (or so) listening volume, so the 96 dB CD data (if the recording makes full use of the range that is) gets "compressed", while the relative dynamic range remains.

After the long intro my question in essence is:

Does the human hearing have a similar "resolution" that is comparable to the resolution defined by the bit-depth in (digital) audio? Or am I just comparing apples and pears?

Regards,
Peter

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thesurfingalien
post Jun 11 2011, 10:59
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@All,

Although all info was useful and interesting, I am still struggling with the concept of relating bit-depth to a dB scale...

Perhaps if I (again) rephrase my question...

Given that (for CD) the 16 bit depth is limiting dynamic range to 96 dB, on which basis was decided that the 96 dB was (good) enough? Why not, for example, 128 dB? To me it looks like that will only require a change in the step-size on the dB scale...

Thanks again!
Peter



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drewfx
post Jun 11 2011, 17:33
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QUOTE (thesurfingalien @ Jun 11 2011, 04:59) *
@All,

Although all info was useful and interesting, I am still struggling with the concept of relating bit-depth to a dB scale...

Perhaps if I (again) rephrase my question...

Given that (for CD) the 16 bit depth is limiting dynamic range to 96 dB, on which basis was decided that the 96 dB was (good) enough? Why not, for example, 128 dB? To me it looks like that will only require a change in the step-size on the dB scale...

Thanks again!
Peter


96 dB of dynamic range represents the ratio of the loudest sound to the quietest sound - it's the ratio of the largest number available using 16 bits to "1". Thus to get more dynamic range, you need a bigger ratio, which means you have to add more bits.

The "step size" is fixed by the fact that it's binary.
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Posts in this topic
- thesurfingalien   Dynamic range question   Jun 8 2011, 01:16
- - Canar   QUOTE (thesurfingalien @ Jun 7 2011, 17:1...   Jun 8 2011, 01:44
- - pdq   ...and with proper dither the dynamic range of 16 ...   Jun 8 2011, 01:51
- - Woodinville   In most any modern room, the lower limit of maskin...   Jun 8 2011, 02:28
- - knutinh   Given that background noise can have all kinds of ...   Jun 8 2011, 09:20
|- - Woodinville   QUOTE (knutinh @ Jun 8 2011, 01:20) Given...   Jun 8 2011, 09:30
|- - knutinh   QUOTE (Woodinville @ Jun 8 2011, 10:30) Y...   Jun 8 2011, 10:15
|- - saratoga   QUOTE (knutinh @ Jun 8 2011, 05:15) QUOTE...   Jun 8 2011, 19:15
|- - Woodinville   QUOTE (saratoga @ Jun 8 2011, 11:15) The ...   Jun 8 2011, 19:38
|- - saratoga   QUOTE (Woodinville @ Jun 8 2011, 14:38) Q...   Jun 8 2011, 20:58
|- - Woodinville   QUOTE (saratoga @ Jun 8 2011, 12:58) QUOT...   Jun 9 2011, 02:02
|- - MichaelW   QUOTE (Woodinville @ Jun 9 2011, 13:02) A...   Jun 9 2011, 04:42
|- - WernerO   QUOTE (MichaelW @ Jun 9 2011, 04:42) when...   Jun 9 2011, 10:12
|- - thesurfingalien   QUOTE (MichaelW @ Jun 9 2011, 00:42) QUOT...   Jun 9 2011, 13:02
- - DonP   For listening to high dynamic range material (say,...   Jun 8 2011, 10:50
|- - knutinh   QUOTE (DonP @ Jun 8 2011, 11:50) For list...   Jun 8 2011, 11:19
- - thesurfingalien   @All: Thanks so far for your replies, but it...   Jun 8 2011, 12:29
|- - knutinh   QUOTE (thesurfingalien @ Jun 8 2011, 13:2...   Jun 8 2011, 13:37
|- - drewfx   QUOTE (thesurfingalien @ Jun 8 2011, 06:2...   Jun 8 2011, 17:05
- - [JAZ]   Like others have said, the key is knowing that tal...   Jun 8 2011, 19:04
|- - DonP   QUOTE ([JAZ] @ Jun 8 2011, 13:04)...   Jun 9 2011, 00:17
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE The second question is if there is any relat...   Jun 8 2011, 19:37
- - Northpack   I guess room noise usually has the least amount of...   Jun 8 2011, 20:15
|- - knutinh   QUOTE (Northpack @ Jun 8 2011, 21:15) I g...   Jun 8 2011, 20:49
- - greynol   Let's not forget dBu and dBV.   Jun 9 2011, 00:32
- - drewfx   And to further clarify the use of "dB" v...   Jun 9 2011, 02:17
- - knutinh   I seem to remember that people who record ambient ...   Jun 10 2011, 10:31
|- - Kees de Visser   Absolutely ! Last year I've spent quite so...   Jun 10 2011, 22:18
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (knutinh @ Jun 10 2011, 05:31) I se...   Jun 16 2011, 13:05
- - thesurfingalien   @All, Although all info was useful and interestin...   Jun 11 2011, 10:59
|- - lvqcl   QUOTE (thesurfingalien @ Jun 11 2011, 13...   Jun 11 2011, 11:11
||- - thesurfingalien   QUOTE (lvqcl @ Jun 11 2011, 07:11) QUOTE ...   Jun 11 2011, 14:11
||- - lvqcl   QUOTE (thesurfingalien @ Jun 11 2011, 17...   Jun 11 2011, 14:19
||- - thesurfingalien   QUOTE (lvqcl @ Jun 11 2011, 10:19) QUOTE ...   Jun 11 2011, 15:37
||- - lvqcl   QUOTE (thesurfingalien @ Jun 11 2011, 18...   Jun 11 2011, 18:34
||- - DonP   QUOTE (lvqcl @ Jun 11 2011, 12:34) QUOTE ...   Jun 11 2011, 19:21
|- - drewfx   QUOTE (thesurfingalien @ Jun 11 2011, 04...   Jun 11 2011, 17:33
|- - Notat   QUOTE (thesurfingalien @ Jun 11 2011, 03...   Jun 12 2011, 18:10
|- - dhromed   QUOTE (Northpack @ Jun 14 2011, 09:15) An...   Jun 14 2011, 11:01
- - dv1989   1 bit represents 6 dB of amplitude (i.e. a doublin...   Jun 11 2011, 17:37
|- - Brand   I must admit I have the same questions as the OP r...   Jun 12 2011, 22:11
|- - DonP   QUOTE (Brand @ Jun 12 2011, 16:11) I must...   Jun 12 2011, 22:38
|- - lvqcl   QUOTE (Brand @ Jun 13 2011, 01:11) I...   Jun 12 2011, 22:47
|- - Brand   QUOTE (lvqcl @ Jun 12 2011, 23:47) QUOTE ...   Jun 13 2011, 10:25
|- - lvqcl   QUOTE (Brand @ Jun 13 2011, 13:25) Is the...   Jun 13 2011, 10:51
|- - DonP   QUOTE (Brand @ Jun 13 2011, 04:25) QUOTE ...   Jun 13 2011, 12:13
|- - Soap   QUOTE (DonP @ Jun 13 2011, 07:13) I'm...   Jun 13 2011, 13:02
|- - Fedot L   QUOTE (Brand @ Jun 13 2011, 09:25) ...I t...   Jun 14 2011, 10:43
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE Given that (for CD) the 16 bit depth is limi...   Jun 13 2011, 21:52
- - Northpack   I think this relation 1bit to 6.02dB is where some...   Jun 14 2011, 08:15
|- - knutinh   QUOTE (Northpack @ Jun 14 2011, 09:15) I ...   Jun 14 2011, 09:13
|- - Northpack   QUOTE (knutinh @ Jun 14 2011, 09:13) Prop...   Jun 14 2011, 11:00
|- - knutinh   QUOTE (Northpack @ Jun 14 2011, 12:00) QU...   Jun 14 2011, 11:12
- - dc2bluelight   Very interesting discussion. I'd like to add ...   Jun 17 2011, 09:58
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (dc2bluelight @ Jun 17 2011, 04:58)...   Jun 17 2011, 14:20
- - pdq   Very nice first post. Thanks.   Jun 17 2011, 13:21
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (pdq @ Jun 17 2011, 08:21) Very nic...   Jun 17 2011, 14:02
|- - dc2bluelight   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Jun 17 2011, 08...   Jun 18 2011, 00:53
|- - knutinh   QUOTE (dc2bluelight @ Jun 18 2011, 01:53)...   Jun 18 2011, 09:31
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (dc2bluelight @ Jun 17 2011, 19:53)...   Jun 18 2011, 18:58
|- - Notat   QUOTE (dc2bluelight @ Jun 17 2011, 17:53)...   Jun 19 2011, 01:21
- - dc2bluelight   Wow. You guys are tough here.   Jun 17 2011, 16:40
- - Woodinville   Just so it's clear, the 30dB number applies fo...   Jun 18 2011, 04:32
- - dc2bluelight   Yes, that clears it up. Critical band masking wou...   Jun 18 2011, 07:17
- - thesurfingalien   @All, I am ashamed to tell that, although the dis...   Jun 18 2011, 21:04
|- - knutinh   QUOTE (thesurfingalien @ Jun 18 2011, 22...   Jun 18 2011, 21:40
|- - lvqcl   QUOTE (thesurfingalien @ Jun 19 2011, 00...   Jun 18 2011, 21:45
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (thesurfingalien @ Jun 18 2011, 16...   Jun 19 2011, 11:44
|- - drewfx   QUOTE (thesurfingalien @ Jun 18 2011, 15...   Jun 19 2011, 18:56
|- - WernerO   QUOTE (thesurfingalien @ Jun 18 2011, 21...   Jun 20 2011, 11:33
|- - dhromed   QUOTE (WernerO @ Jun 20 2011, 12:33) You ...   Jun 20 2011, 20:34
||- - Notat   QUOTE (dhromed @ Jun 20 2011, 13:34) I...   Jun 20 2011, 22:58
|- - Woodinville   QUOTE (WernerO @ Jun 20 2011, 03:33) QUOT...   Jun 20 2011, 20:58
- - Wombat   QUOTE (Woodinville @ Jun 18 2011, 04:32) ...   Jun 19 2011, 00:55
|- - Woodinville   QUOTE (Wombat @ Jun 18 2011, 16:55) QUOTE...   Jun 20 2011, 02:43
- - Soap   I belive the problem thesurfingalien is having is ...   Jun 19 2011, 20:01
- - DigitalMan   @Soap - agree we've not given thesurfingalien ...   Jun 20 2011, 02:59
- - Soap   What I was going to say (please correct me where w...   Jun 20 2011, 03:45
- - DonP   This will probably add confusion to those already ...   Jun 20 2011, 14:48
|- - Woodinville   QUOTE (DonP @ Jun 20 2011, 06:48) This wi...   Jun 20 2011, 21:04
|- - DonP   QUOTE (Woodinville @ Jun 20 2011, 15:04) ...   Jun 21 2011, 02:18
|- - Woodinville   QUOTE (DonP @ Jun 20 2011, 18:18) QUOTE (...   Jun 21 2011, 03:49
|- - DonP   QUOTE (Woodinville @ Jun 20 2011, 21:49) ...   Jun 21 2011, 12:01
|- - Woodinville   QUOTE (DonP @ Jun 21 2011, 04:01) QUOTE (...   Jun 21 2011, 22:48
- - dhromed   QUOTE (DonP @ Jun 20 2011, 15:48) It turn...   Jun 20 2011, 20:41
- - Wombat   QUOTE (Woodinville @ Jun 20 2011, 02:43) ...   Jun 20 2011, 21:21
- - Woodinville   QUOTE (Wombat @ Jun 20 2011, 13:21) So pl...   Jun 20 2011, 22:02


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