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Inventor of THX sound system hired to run Apple audio - report - Page 2

post #41 of 67
He could be working on Final Cut and Logic too.
post #42 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

While you are talking about "gimickery," you might want to include the idea that the average human can tell the difference between high quality AAC files and lossless.

The idea that you need lossless because people can "tell the difference" is just nonsense. It's been disproven over and over again. Only one person in a thousand can tell the difference between 256k MP3's and lossless. When you are talking AAC and over 256k, the number drops to essentially zero.


Regardless of whether or not people can tell the difference, personally I would appreciate higher quality audio on iTunes so that I can use it for DJ'ing. Right now, I usually buy CDs or WAV files from Beatport or Juno for anything DJ related.

While people may not be able to tell the difference between a 256k mp3 and lossless when played normally, there are many more issues that come into play when you start manipulating audio. In these cases, having the highest quality files is always nice, especially when time-stretching and/or playing on a club soundsystem.
post #43 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber
Seems now they do.

Up until the iPhone they didn't care anything about personal communications devices.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sprockkets View Post

They care about making useful electronics for the masses. It was only a matter of time.

Those same masses think 128kbps mp3s are cd quality too, and most can't tell the diff btw SD and HD either.

I don't disagree. What I was thinking about was not so much formats and algorithms, but rather acoustics--speakers in current products. There is a lot of room for improvement in the tiny speakers on handheld devices, as well as those built in to iMacs. By invoking the iPhone I was suggesting that when Apple enters a space that is stagnant, good things can happen. There is also the possibility of entirely new hardware related to the enjoyment of sound. Remember the Apple Hi-Fi speaker box? Let's hope the new guy will learn from that experiment and come up with iPod or iPhone-caliber products that are truly revolutionary. Just hoping.
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post #44 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

You don't know much about it, do you?

Wise up.
post #45 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjolnir8 View Post

Sounds to me like he was hired for the Apple TV. By that I mean, a real TV and not just the box. Either that or Apple is coming up with better speaker systems for their computers or for the living room.

This sounds more practical and wouldn't this move also benefit CoreAudio applications and other related software/hardware including Logic and FinalCut?



.
post #46 of 67
Oh I hope we get a THX style, blow your speakers, start up chime as an option!
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From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
"Google doesn't sell you anything, they just sell you!"
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post #47 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber
Seems now they do.

Up until the iPhone they didn't care anything about personal communications devices.



I don't disagree. What I was thinking about was not so much formats and algorithms, but rather acoustics--speakers in current products. There is a lot of room for improvement in the tiny speakers on handheld devices, as well as those built in to iMacs. By invoking the iPhone I was suggesting that when Apple enters a space that is stagnant, good things can happen. There is also the possibility of entirely new hardware related to the enjoyment of sound. Remember the Apple Hi-Fi speaker box? Let's hope the new guy will learn from that experiment and come up with iPod or iPhone-caliber products that are truly revolutionary. Just hoping.

OK, I see now. Be funny if apple gets to be the bose of smartphones, and not in the current sense
post #48 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by sprockkets View Post

Perhaps if you can read better, I said THX doesn't sell any hardware, unless stated otherwise which already it has. The guy in question can improve stuff, but you don't hear THX improving Denon's hardware, right?



So, first off, you accuse me of knowing nothing, then make a complete ass of yourself by claiming that it's only my opinion that Cowon makes great sounding audio equipment?

You are such a hypocrite. You couldn't be bothered to first google Cowon and see they've been making iAudio products before the ipod came out, and that their reputation for great sounding PMPs is well known. You couldn't read sites like anythingbutipod that actually test products that picky audiophiles buy either.

Just goes to show everyone, you know so little. Please, shut up before I own you further.

Do they test against iPods and iPhones as their audio output performance isn't too shabby, particularly through the dock connector.

It's pretty much what goes in is almost exactly the same as what comes out with excellent stereo separation.

FLAC is a waste of space, the files are way too big for what you get back from them.
Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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post #49 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

Do they test against iPods and iPhones as their audio output performance isn't too shabby, particularly through the dock connector.

It's pretty much what goes in is almost exactly the same as what comes out with excellent stereo separation.

FLAC is a waste of space, the files are way too big for what you get back from them.

Yeah, like what I said. Make a better eq and it will sound great.
post #50 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by sprockkets View Post

Yeah, like what I said. Make a better eq and it will sound great.

Why do you need an EQ?

It only distorts the work that audio engineers have already done.

Besides the EQ can be added later to an iDevices undistorted audio output via a dock connector to equipment that is as high end as you want to pay for.
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post #51 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

Why do you need an EQ?

It only distorts the work that audio engineers have already done.

Besides the EQ can be added later to an iDevices undistorted audio output via a dock connector to equipment that is as high end as you want to pay for.

What those audio engineers did and what I want my headphones/earphones/car stereo/home stereo to sound to my ears are entirely different.

Besides, I don't adjust it for the car or home when I do it on the main equipment, but since those devices were meant to be mobile, it is necessary for it to work well.

Adjusting the eq on my Cowon or my Rockbox Clip+ sounds great. Doing it on my ex ipod doesn't. It's probably the last item on apple's list to care about.
post #52 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by sprockkets View Post

What those audio engineers did and what I want my headphones/earphones/car stereo/home stereo to sound to my ears are entirely different.

Besides, I don't adjust it for the car or home when I do it on the main equipment, but since those devices were meant to be mobile, it is necessary for it to work well.

Adjusting the eq on my Cowon or my Rockbox Clip+ sounds great. Doing it on my ex ipod doesn't. It's probably the last item on apple's list to care about.

I leave my iPhone the way it is and it sounds great through a g=decent set of headphones.

There is no need to adjust anything at all.

Messing around with equalisers can make the best music sound like crap.

99% of the time it's idiot's boosting the bass to intolerable levels which drowns out the subtle nuances of mid and high end, which is where selecting the right headphones comes in.
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post #53 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

I leave my iPhone the way it is and it sounds great through a g=decent set of headphones.

There is no need to adjust anything at all.

Messing around with equalisers can make the best music sound like crap.

99% of the time it's idiot's boosting the bass to intolerable levels which drowns out the subtle nuances of mid and high end, which is where selecting the right headphones comes in.

It's a matter of opinion. There isn't a wrong or right way of putting it. In my car, the eq is almost flat, and I adjust the bass level by adjusting the level sent to the sub.

Sometimes I want bass, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I have the back seat open, so I have to have some means of adjusting the sound. Yeah, in that case I don't use the pmp's eq, but I have sealed and non sealed earphones, and some large headphones.

I mean, every restaurant I go to leaves the pepper, salt, and sometimes hot bbq sauce for those who need/want it.
post #54 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

If this is true, it's a big step. I know this guy, and he's brilliant. For those who think that THX is not such a big deal, you're wrong. It's one of the biggest of big deals. It's focussed on theater and home theater sound, and it's not intended for the purpose of pure music reproduction, though the standards set there will work well, if you have THX certified equipment, and you set it up properly.

But he's not just "Mr. THX". His knowledge of music and audio reproduction goes well beyond that. I hope this rumor is true.

Holman is an audio carney-barker, a blowhard self-promoter in an industry of big egos. I have difficulty imagining what kind of science this grossly unscientific marketer can bring to Apple. THX is mostly dead since it really wasnt any better, and there is no such thing as 10.2 film sound except in the Holman fantasy land. Most engineering at Apple toils in anonymity, for good reason. Holmans bio says hes responsible for Audessy, another so-called audio advance that most acousticians agree doesnt work. Apple should have gotten a competent and respected audio specialist like Mark Levinson or John Meyer
post #55 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlHanley View Post

Holman is an audio carney-barker, a blowhard self-promoter in an industry of big egos. I have difficulty imagining what kind of science this grossly unscientific marketer can bring to Apple. THX is mostly dead since it really wasnt any better, and there is no such thing as 10.2 film sound except in the Holman fantasy land. Most engineering at Apple toils in anonymity, for good reason. Holmans bio says hes responsible for Audessy, another so-called audio advance that most acousticians agree doesnt work. Apple should have gotten a competent and respected audio specialist like Mark Levinson or John Meyer

You don't know much about him, or what he's done then. THx is alive and well. 10.2 is just another scheme. There are many. This was meant for demonstration of psychoacoustic principles more than intended as an actual product. He's received some major awards for his work, including an Academy Award.
post #56 of 67
The sound output through headphones on the iPad and iPad 2 is the best of any Apple product so far. It's quite impressive. The iPad 2 speakers are actually pretty decent... And guess what, when there is a surface behind the iPad 2 the speaker sound is better!

Try it... Put the iPad 2 in the air in front of you, the speaker sound is so-so. Rest it on a table or on top of a case, somehow the sound "comes to life" a little more, especially the mid-trebles. Or is it just me?
post #57 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by One Fine Line View Post

Regardless of whether or not people can tell the difference, personally I would appreciate higher quality audio on iTunes so that I can use it for DJ'ing. Right now, I usually buy CDs or WAV files from Beatport or Juno for anything DJ related.

While people may not be able to tell the difference between a 256k mp3 and lossless when played normally, there are many more issues that come into play when you start manipulating audio. In these cases, having the highest quality files is always nice, especially when time-stretching and/or playing on a club soundsystem.

For DJ'ing of course WAVs on CDJs are the best, from a clubber's perspective. Fidelity and warmth. Although laptops and mp3s are surely coming into very common use. Which I don't mind because I got my Etymotic earplugs on and stand near the body-slamming subs.

As a Trance aficionado of 10 years I giggle when everyone keeps saying CDJs are "old skool".

For example Greece2000 (without vocals) played on vinyl. Nothing digital could ever beat that.
post #58 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

If this is true, it's a big step. I know this guy, and he's brilliant. For those who think that THX is not such a big deal, you're wrong. It's one of the biggest of big deals. It's focussed on theater and home theater sound, and it's not intended for the purpose of pure music reproduction, though the standards set there will work well, if you have THX certified equipment, and you set it up properly.

But he's not just "Mr. THX". His knowledge of music and audio reproduction goes well beyond that. I hope this rumor is true.


Agreed. I still use the Apt Holman preamp that I bought in the late 1970's. At the time, it was considered to be 'best in class' quality, it still is excellent. Holman had many innovative design features in that preamp. As you say, Holman is one of the best in the audio world.

Now, if he could only get Apple to support 96/24 FLAC.....
post #59 of 67
What a total crock.

Tomlinson Holman is to the present (and prior) decade what Amar Bose was to the 70s and 80s. Its all just a bunch of marketing crapola, with almost no genuine technical merit.

The company that I most associate Tomlinson Holman with today is Audyssey. Now, to be fair upfront, I havent experimented with their ultra-expensive professional grade gear, but Ive plenty enough experience with the stuff that goes into mass-marketed stuff from the likes of Denon and Onkyo to know without a shadow of a doubt that it is crap. And this isnt just my opinion. Many reputable audiophile types have reached the exact same conclusion, and anyone who has any genuine interest in this should have no difficulty finding further corroboration of this.

Except for people who evidently have lost all of their high-frequency hearing, most everyone else has observed the exaggeration of high frequency that you get with Audyssey EQ (and the more recent enhancements, MultiEQ) for example. There is no denying the fact that this occurs, and there is nothing whatsoever musical or technically accurate about it. The ultimate explanation for why it is there is so that in showrooms, the salesperson can demonstrate the effect and it will be clearly audible to the customer that it has an improvement on the sound quality. Secondary to this reason, there is also a technical reason. Instead of striving for a flat on-axis response as it should, it strives for a spectrally flat power response, at least from the midrange on up through the highest frequencies. As anyone who knows anything at all about speakers in rooms knows perfectly well, the higher you go in frequency, the greater the disparity between the on-axis response and the power response, owing to the increasing directivity of the tweeter. As such, if you make the power response flat, the necessary consequence will be a horrendous exaggeration of high frequency in the on-axis response, and this is precisely what Audyssey does.

There is nothing accurate or technically justifiable about it. There can be no question that they are perfectly aware of this, and that they choose to ignore because it is good for business. More recently, they added Dynamic EQ, which is a modern take on the old-fashioned loudness control, that is purported to be technically correct in contrast with those older loudness controls. There is much irony here, because Holman himself was a vocal critic of those old loudness controls, and he more than anyone else is probably the reason that they went away. But they sounded good to most people, and most people who owned receivers and preamps back in the 60s and 70s when those controls were popular miss them greatly. Now, if Dynamic EQ worked, there would be reason to forgive. But Ive tried to use it, as have many others, and the near-ubiquitous assessment is that it is the worst-sounding processing of any sort that anyone has every heard. It adds a sort of rumble that sounds so awful that it defies description and even the imagination. They also added Dynamic Volume, which is dynamic range compression, and it might actually work, except that hardly anyone could say because no one uses it because it order to use it you have to also engage Dynamic EQ.

I have listened to Audysseys MultiEQ extensively and I have taken extensive measurements. The measurements that I took at the main speakers seemed to indicate no significant difference beyond the exaggeration of treble, and did not agree with what I was hearing. I was confused for a while, until I took the subwoofer out of the equation, and then saw a difference in the main speakers, that was applied to the main speakers in the absence of the subwoofer. I put the subwoofer back into the equation and measured the effect there, and it was then that I realized that the predominant effect that I had been hearing, aside from the exaggeration of treble, was an effect applied to the subwoofer. Once I realized that, I focused my effort at manual correction sans Audyssey on the subwoofer. The Onkyo receiver that I was using provided digital equalization of the subwoofer separate from the main speakers, and after a little bit of effort I was able to get the subwoofer to sound excellent using the manual equalization. Then I moved the manual equalization settings for the main speakers to flat, and finally the system sounded the way that it should sound, which is to say, enormously better than it sounded with Audyssey MultiEQ. Now, it may be that the manual equalization capability is made available by way of the Audyssey technology in the receiver, but if so, this is the only part of Audyssey that I found to be the least bit useful. For all the hype, all that there really is in it that is worth a plug nickel is the manual equalization capability for the subwoofer. With a better subwoofer I likely would not need this at all, particularly a subwoofer with a built-in parametric equalizer.

I reassert: Tomlinson Holman is the modern equivalent of Amar Bose.
post #60 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

You don't know much about him, or what he's done then. THx is alive and well. 10.2 is just another scheme. There are many. This was meant for demonstration of psychoacoustic principles more than intended as an actual product. He's received some major awards for his work, including an Academy Award.

What AlHanley wrote about Tomlinson is right on the money. If you want to know about Tomlinson, you should be looking at Audyssey, not at THX.
post #61 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

What AlHanley wrote about Tomlinson is right on the money. If you want to know about Tomlinson, you should be looking at Audyssey, not at THX.

I agree. In fact at any meeting of audio professionals, raising Tom Holman's name generates
Eals of laughter and/or catcalls of derision. He's a sad old man who should be retired and yet spends his days trying to defend his years of bad science.
post #62 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlHanley View Post

I agree. In fact at any meeting of audio professionals, raising Tom Holman's name generates
Eals of laughter and/or catcalls of derision. He's a sad old man who should be retired and yet spends his days trying to defend his years of bad science.

Because certainly the Lucas people are completely clueless when it comes to sound and their work to sharply improve the quality of the theater sound experience was completely baseless and had no payoff.

The fact that you saw it necessary to register to heap abuse on Mr. Holman is a tad bizarre. Did he do something to you personally?

And I have to laugh at the idea of "any meeting of audio professionals" as a made up metric. I honestly don't think you have any idea what your'e talking about.
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post #63 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

You don't know much about him, or what he's done then. THx is alive and well. 10.2 is just another scheme. There are many. This was meant for demonstration of psychoacoustic principles more than intended as an actual product. He's received some major awards for his work, including an Academy Award.

So, how's it going in proving you actually do audio engineering?

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Dear sprockkets,

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You are so full of it. If this is all you got to say in reply, you know jack squat.
post #64 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Because certainly the Lucas people are completely clueless when it comes to sound and their work to sharply improve the quality of the theater sound experience was completely baseless and had no payoff.

The fact that you saw it necessary to register to heap abuse on Mr. Holman is a tad bizarre. Did he do something to you personally?

And I have to laugh at the idea of "any meeting of audio professionals" as a made up metric. I honestly don't think you have any idea what your'e talking about.

Quite honestly the most important improvement THX bragged about was making sure the sound wasn't too loud so that people wouldn't go deaf for movies like Twister.

Lucas may have had to invent his own effects company, but his own Star Wars movies (aside from number 5 since he didn't write the dialog for it) shows he knows nothing about making good movies that don't rely on just special effects.
post #65 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by sprockkets View Post

Quite honestly the most important improvement THX bragged about was making sure the sound wasn't too loud so that people wouldn't go deaf for movies like Twister.

Lucas may have had to invent his own effects company, but his own Star Wars movies (aside from number 5 since he didn't write the dialog for it) shows he knows nothing about making good movies that don't rely on just special effects.

No. Lucas (and his generation of filmmakers including Coppola and Spielberg) were much more focused on sound as a part of the storytelling than their predecessors. When they started making movies, film sound had barely evolved from the 30s. While people like Walter Murch (The Conversation, Apocalypse Now, et al) were creating the idea of a "sound designer", the average theater was completely incapable of playing back, with any real fidelity, the sophisticated, multi-layered mixes that these filmmakers were creating to support their vision.

THX certification was a direct response to the primitive audio in most theaters. By using the carrot of some of the biggest films by the biggest filmmakers of the day, they were able to coerce theater owners to upgrade their systems and train the audience to expect and demand better sound as a matter of course. In this area of digital multitrack it's easy to forget how shitty sound really was in most theaters at the time of, say, "American Graffiti." Lucas deserves a lot of credit for being instrumental in the drive to put sound on equal footing with image.
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post #66 of 67
Man, sorry I didn't get into this discussion earlier. Certainly, high quality audio from tiny drivers (i.e. speakers for you non-audio types) is a problem and clearly we all experience the limitations. Of course there are things you can do to improve the sound and this is why I think it's a good addition to have someone like Holman a great addition to Apple. Apple is rumored to be looking at higher resolution streaming in iTunes plus improving the sound in their portables (Holman can drive the Class D chip companies to provide better PEQ capability in their solutions). A big problem today is sound quality in flat panel HDTVs so if Apple does produce a product, I'm sure they will do their best to provide decent sound from the limitations of tiny drivers that can't move any air mass. And Holman's knowledge and experience at Audyssey will certainly help. Dynamic Volume and Dynamic EQ are both very useful.
post #67 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

<snip>
In February, it was alleged that Apple is looking to offer higher quality music on its iTunes Music Store. The company is said to be in negotiations with studios to offer tracks in a 24-bit high-fidelity format, which would be higher quality than the 16 bit currently available on iTunes or with a compact disc.

Many Macs and some PCs already support 24-bit sound, and the iTunes media player software supports 24-bit files. Audio tracks are also recorded in 24 bits by artists in the studio, but they are downgraded to 16 bits when they are pressed to CD or made available to iTunes.

It is Beats By Dre which is driving the industry wide push for improving audio quality on online stores including Apple's move from 16bit to 24bit.
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