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Neil Young was working with Apple on super high-def music format - Page 4

post #121 of 139
Young was actually one of the first rock artists to actively investigate the value of broader fidelity in digital recording ages ago when tracking at 16 bit/44.1 was accepted not only as the delivery standard but as all anyone needed to begin the process at. He was certainly the first and probably the only non classical or jazz musician to put his own money toward pursuing this as opposed to being simply a bystander in all this, or buying the latest commercially available gear and using it. Whatever one thinks of him or his music, he's been involved in this, along with his engineers, for a long time.
post #122 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlandd View Post

Young was actually one of the first rock artists to actively investigate the value of broader fidelity in digital recording ages ago when tracking at 16 bit/44.1 was accepted not only as the delivery standard but as all anyone needed to begin the process at. He was certainly the first and probably the only non classical or jazz musician to put his own money toward pursuing this as opposed to being simply a bystander in all this, or buying the latest commercially available gear and using it. Whatever one thinks of him or his music, he's been involved in this, along with his engineers, for a long time.

But I read a few pages ago that he didnt know a thng about anything. Such a dilemma... Which version of the Internet is correct. Why can't it be simple and Google or FCC or Tom Cruise or rehash Oprah just put a goatie or black hat one the I should distrust. Woe is me!
post #123 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristophB View Post

But I read a few pages ago that he didnt know a thng about anything. Such a dilemma... Which version of the Internet is correct. Why can't it be simple and Google or FCC or Tom Cruise or rehash Oprah just put a goatie or black hat one the I should distrust. Woe is me!

We need a version of Snopes that will authenticate all the tech news from various sites. Kind of liking what Huffington Post does by restating news but with an actual team of researches that will verify or debunk the story. As tech news gets pushed out faster and faster the quality of it will surely dwindle so perhaps there is actually a real model in what started as a joke 3 sentences ago.

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post #124 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by reklss41 View Post

will i be able to hear the difference in my apple headphones? or do i need a $7000 stereo system to hear it?

You don't. Just go back and listen to any consumer grade analog/vinyl system.
post #125 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

We need a version of Snopes that will authenticate all the tech news from various sites. Kind of liking what Huffington Post does by restating news but with an actual team of researches that will verify or debunk the story. As tech news gets pushed out faster and faster the quality of it will surely dwindle so perhaps there is actually a real model in what started as a joke 3 sentences ago.

No mods; no suspensions;not even a message in my in-box. I guess there is no exclusivity on hyperbole here. A damned shame - there should be a law.....
post #126 of 139
I love great audio and I have software from some small company called GenAudio on my PC and it is amazing what it does for audio. You hear parts of songs you didn't know existed and movies are just unbelievable. Sound coming from behind you and all around your head. It's available for macs also so if you enjoy great sound try it out. They had some kind of free trial thing when I tried it and for about 20 bucks you can't go wrong. You can tell a big difference.
post #127 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

When you did that casual listening test between the two amps, the absolute most you proved is that the two amps sounded different. It seems unlikely that they would, and I am inclined to think that the two of you tricked yourselves into that conclusion, but even if they really did sound different, that in itself is not proof of the superior quality of one over the other.

I wish I realized that I first tricked myself and then tricked my wife into the conclusion that they sounded different and that the imaging was significantly better (and sound more pleasant). Different components can sound different, and I'll leave the superiority issue for below.

Quote:
It is a well-known fact that many people prefer the different sound of tube amps. Over the decades various reasons have been proposed for why tube amps would, in theory, sound more accurate, but none of those supposed reasons stand up to careful scrutiny.

People debate 'accurate' on either side of tube / solid state, but fuller & smoother, sure. I've heard the difference there too... not that you're going to believe it.

Quote:
The difference that is most obvious by far is the difference in the spectral makeup of the harmonic distortion when the amps are driven to clipping, i.e., whether the harmonic components are even-order or odd-order. Here there are differences even within tube amps, so it does not make sense to attribute the effect to the "softer" distortion of one type of clipping over another, and that's before even considering the question of whether the onset and severity of clipping is the same for the two amps. The point is that even if you were truly able to hear a difference, that in and of itself does not constitute proof that the more expensive amp is more accurate than the less expensive amp. Until you can prove otherwise, you have to allow the possibility that you like the sound of a less accurate amp, and the conundrum is that through listening tests alone, it is not possible to prove otherwise. It is a conundrum.

Interestingly, for me it's an outright nundrum. Not if I "were truly able to" hear it. You sound like a color blind person telling me that red and green are the same. There isn't any question about it, it wasn't a subtle "maybe it's there" difference, there was no friggin' clipping and both amps were class A-B, for god's sake. For the imaging to be better, presumably something in the timing/phase of the signal was more intact. Why? I don't have the amp schematics, but it's just possible that the design & better components of one resulted in better sound. But perhaps 'better' amps are, as you speculate, less accurate than cheaper ones. Seems like cheap ones should then be able to pull 'better' sound off easily, but what do I know.

Of course, none of your tube/solid-state pedagogy or disbelief in audible differences between other amps has much to do with whether you (or others) can hear the difference between 128 kbps or 256 kbps AAC and 24/192 audio.

Quote:
The stuff about the fact that image files can be converted in ways such that the difference is visually apparent does not prove anything at all about the subject at hand and has no relevance whatsoever. Unless of course your point was to argue that it is in fact possible to apply perceptual encoding using a very low bit rate such that the difference would be obvious.

Ah, so a demonstration of what perceptual compression does in other media is irrelevant?

The success of perceptual compression is generally determined by what is in the source material. In compressed digital images, there are artifacts, much more so in high-frequence (high contrast / sharp edged) areas, and often across areas with similar hues where you see blocking. To remove these, you sometimes have to turn the 'quality' so high that you effectively save nothing in size.

In both images and audio, parts of the signal are being thrown away using perceptual weighting to attempt to remove parts of the information that are deemed insignificant. There are clearly parts of the audio that are more or less heavily impacted by the compression, like cymbals, strings, and brass, much like different areas of an image are more or less susceptible to artifacts.

There are many resources on the net that cover what kinds of artifacts different compressions introduce. The fact that image compression produces visible artifacts in images is intended simply as an analogy - the lack of visualization around audio compression definitely makes it less photogenic. If you listen to recordings with dozens of instruments like an orchestra - with slight tuning, positioning, and timing variations across them, tossing in a triangle / cymbal here an there - you may also find that iTunes is not the end-all of audio quality.

Now if you played a 192/24 or SACD signal vs. that same signal that had been reduced to 16/44.1 and then compressed, then re-digitized them at high resolution, you would find differences in the waveform. The fact that a re-digitized signal is demonstrably different at the output end - the sound going to the listener - seems relevant to anyone listening to that music. Unlike some audio tweaks like cryo-treated outlets, magnetic dampeners, lava lamps, or whatever mumbo-jumbo, there are measurable differences in the output signals that will result from various bit rates and compressions. It's totally illogical to assert that nobody could possibly hear the differences at the data rates being discussed. It's fine to assert that you can't hear the differences. That's not a problem - it's not like everyone has the same sense of vision, hearing, taste, smell, etc.

The fact that having someone else hear the same thing you do is a challenge - given different ears and playback equipment - seems to make people who either can't or just haven't heard the difference feel justified in saying it's just not possible for others to do so. If you can't tell the difference... Well, the good news is that you'll save some money on stereo equipment!
post #128 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

So how was Neil going to do this. does he have an electrical engineering degree with expertise in signal processing?

Haven't seen much of his efforts at producing a viable electric car.

http://www.shortnews.com/start.cfm?id=71135

As for 24/192 files. If anyone knows of double blind listening tests that clearly show people can hear the difference between them and 16/44.1, please post a link.

I am still waiting for someone to show they can hear the difference between 223kbps AAC and the original source, let alone higher resolution originals.

Completely agree. He's a senile talking head who has convinced himself he knows more than DSP engineers. He probably doesn't realize he's right about why tube amps sound better than transistorized amps.
post #129 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pendergast View Post

I agree. But audiophiles will always think that can hear something that the human ear cannot detect; well at least the difference between one recording and the next.

It's the same people who think super expensive vodka is better than a $10 bottle.

And the same people who think a iPhone 4S is better than a Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
post #130 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pendergast View Post

Really? Massive quality on a portable device? I think that's missing the point of portability. Portable devices are designed to take with you on the go, and are often listened to in environments less than ideal for appreciating the full quality of music. Plus, are you going to have people all walk around with $500 headphones? That close to your ear, I don't think there'd be an appreciable difference.

If you have a $7,000 audio system as home, I doubt you're streaming from an iPod.

The quality of iTunes Plus is just fine and dandy for most people's needs. And audiophiles already use other things than iPods.

Thing is when I buy music I want to buy it once. I dont want to buy one version for my ausio system and another for my phone. I want to buy one high quality version. This can be copied in a compressed format to divises that you do not play through top of the line audio systems.

Purchasing and licencing options should allow that.
post #131 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

I don't have the Pat Methany that you referred to, but I am very interested in the question of whether 128 kbps AAC avoids artifacts that I can hear. My CD collection is also encoded at that rate. I have encoded a few CDs at higher rate, and sometimes thought I could hear a difference, but after a careful comparison, eventually concluded that I could not hear any difference. If there are any other examples that you have, perhaps in classic rock or mainstream classical, I would be interested in knowing.

As for improvements in cost/quality ratio over the past twenty years, I'm not so inclined to agree, but partly this is due to inflation. Twenty years ago we are talking 1990. Just about any audio amplifier of average quality sounded the same as any other except when driven into non-linearity at a level with a more expensive amp with greater power capability would remain linear. And I can't tell that the price has come down, unless perhaps you take inflation into account and compare in terms of 1990 dollars. I'm not so sure about that. And as for speakers, good speakers seem more expensive today than ever. I don't think my hearing has improved, but when I listen to new speakers nowadays, I often hear some obvious coloration and I just don't recall that so much in earlier decades. Memory is a factor there of course, but in the 70s and 80s there were a lot of good sounding speakers that did not cost over a grand for a pair. Nowadays it seems that you cannot find a good sounding pair of speaker for less than about that much per pair. There are lots of really, really good speakers, but most of them seem to be very expensive, upwards of two thousand per pair. (Not to suggest that all speakers that cost that much are good ...)

One area where cost has certainly come down is with CD players. Of course nowadays most disc players are multi-format players. But most cheap DVD players nowadays, including many that sell for perhaps as little as $100, are probably sonically indistinguishable from the most expensive CD players. But even in 1990, the typical CD player costing a couple hundred bucks was probably not sonically distinguishable from the most expensive CD player.

Now, as for "compression". One of the problems with this word is that it means two completely different things, depending on the context. When you talk about compression in the context of FM radio broadcast, you are almost certainly talking about compression of dynamic range, and probably with respect to low-frequency content in particular. But in the context of the discussion here, the word "compression" refers to file compression, i.e., reduction in the number of bits used to record each second of music. It is a completely different thing. Of course there is the possibility that sonically there will be similarity, but this is not something that ought to be taken for granted, and it is desirable to avoid confusing the two meanings of the word "compression".

I used Pat Methany's cut because of the prominent hi-hat at the beginning. It loses an audible amount of clarity even @ 256k vbr, enough that I can play it for the average non-audiophile and most will hear it without prompting.The rest only need to told what to listen for once before they can hear it easily, and carry that minimal ear training over to other recordings. Other records off the top of my head? Turtle Island String Quartet, the Miles Davis Quintet 65-68, the remastered Beatle albums. It's always a case of garbage in, garbage out.

I'm comparing my 20 year old Sony to my much newer Onkyo. The cost was about the same, so in real dollars the Sony cost more, and my Mirage Nanosats are less in adjusted dollars than the Advents they replaced. The Sony and Advents are still doing quite well in a back room. And yes, many of what pass as good speakers today are extremely colored. My own tastes lean towards a "wire with gain" system - I simply want it to allow each artist to shine trough the way they intended to. If I want to crank up the bass, I put on Jaco.

I'm certainly aware of the difference between bit rate and dynamic compression. Sadly far too many recordings do both, and each brings out the worst in the other. That same FM station is currently debating how to convert a library of over 60K CDs and another 30K LPs. We know that even an HD signal falls shy of 256k AAC encoding, but the only thing worse than converting that collection once would be converting it twice, so we will likely go either ALAC or FLAC, at least for the master offline backup. Hard drive space is so incredibly cheap now that the storage cost is not a factor.

Nearly everything I have is saved at home as ALAC from the original discs, under the assumption that I can always downsample for other uses, but I can never upsample. If the source music has been released with maximum fidelity in mind, I buy the CD or SACD, and rip it at home. If the source is average, I'll buy it from iTunes and settle for 256k vbr. In a quiet room using my better headsets or speakers I can clearly hear the difference in the 128k downsamples on my iPhone; in real life situations on the street with buds not as much. In that case having 5k songs instead of 1k with me is a compromise easily made. Because in the end it is about the music, not who owns the best toys.
post #132 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

Yes so do I. It was just over a year ago. Wasn't that where you were totaly pwned by the Mod, Mr H, when he informed you his electrical engineering Phd topic was to do with audio amplifiers?

pwned? What are you 12?

Let's just agree to disagree
post #133 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nairb View Post

Thing is when I buy music I want to buy it once. I dont want to buy one version for my ausio system and another for my phone. I want to buy one high quality version. This can be copied in a compressed format to divises that you do not play through top of the line audio systems.Purchasing and licencing options should allow that.

High quality is only readily available on CD. Not promoting quality by making SACD disks available at the same price as CD has both destroyed trust in the music industry and heavily promoted piracy.
post #134 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

It is logically, manifestly absurd to suggest that when the bit rate is adequate, that perceptual encoding is inherently inferior, i.e., cannot be indistinguishable from the original or from a master using arbitrarily high quantization rate and word size (sample size). It is utterly ludicrous to suggest otherwise. Common sense should tell you that as long as the bit rate is adequately, that no Human being would ever be able to hear any difference whatsoever...

Ok, then by your reasoning someone wouldn't be able to distinguish being at a symphony live vs listening to it on their iPod.

I find that ludicrous.
post #135 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pendergast View Post

I agree. But audiophiles will always think that can hear something that the human ear cannot detect; well at least the difference between one recording and the next.

It's the same people who think super expensive vodka is better than a $10 bottle.

Quite ironic to see this in an Apple forum where people defend Apple's higher Mac prices compared to PCs.
post #136 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

So how was Neil going to do this. does he have an electrical engineering degree with expertise in signal processing?

If you want to dismiss him for his lack of academic credentials, then what about Steve jobs?
post #137 of 139
Wheeee! What a flame-tastic thread. I have to put in my $0.02 because I'm a wanna-be audiophile and I record services at my church every other week (ProTools recording ~40 channels at 24/48).

1. Garbage in, garbage out. What happens in the recording session, mixing, and mastering is extremely important. The loudness wars have done more to destroy quality music playback than MP3 encoding.

2, I want to buy hi-res and down-sample to whatever is appropriate for my listening environment. Just as people clamor for 1080p Apple TV, I want very hi-res master recordings. I might put that on an iPod at 128k AAC for listening in the car, or I might want 24/96 for listening in a quiet room with headphones. The mass market seems to be content with pretty poor quality compared to what is technically possible.

3. I think some folks have lost the ball talking about the theory and principles involved. I read the point of the original article to be that RIGHT NOW the music industry is putting out crap sound. We can argue about where "good enough" to be indistinguishable from perfect is, but certainly increasing the quality of current formats would be a "good thing".

4. Given that my wife doesn't even notice the difference between 16:9 and 4:3 content on the TV and will happily watch 4:3 shows squashed to 16:9 and 16:9 shows stretched to 4:3, I'm not surprised the masses don't care about audio quality. The music industry has settled on some formats that are convenient for them, good enough to the vast majority of people, and sell product. The niche enthusiasts have their own little world. It's no good yelling, "Why don't you care about jitter and ultra-sonic harmonics?!"

- Jasen.
post #138 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlandd View Post

Young was actually one of the first rock artists to actively investigate the value of broader fidelity in digital recording ages ago when tracking at 16 bit/44.1 was accepted not only as the delivery standard but as all anyone needed to begin the process at. He was certainly the first and probably the only non classical or jazz musician to put his own money toward pursuing this as opposed to being simply a bystander in all this, or buying the latest commercially available gear and using it. Whatever one thinks of him or his music, he's been involved in this, along with his engineers, for a long time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristophB View Post

But I read a few pages ago that he didnt know a thng about anything. Such a dilemma... Which version of the Internet is correct. Why can't it be simple and Google or FCC or Tom Cruise or rehash Oprah just put a goatie or black hat one the I should distrust. Woe is me!


The muddling of these two things is understandable, but I didn't say NY says he understands it. But back in the earliest days of digital tracking of music (not digital transferring or digital mastering, which is the process that comes when the recordings are done) "The Ranch" did some of the earliest projects which consciously strove to improve upon the sound of digital recordings of the day, which Young had already voiced his unhappiness with. He had nothing to do with anything technical, he had the usual crew of propellerheads and engineers, but he was footing the bill for his eccentricity. He wasn't technically in the loop then or now.

This was a totally different issue (and era) than the current topic, which is about the final delivery format and whether the end user cares or prefers given the upsides of compressed audio.

Young is an interesting guy, and I appreciate the way he feels strongly enough about everything in his life (from model trains to hockey) to not worry if people shoot him down for being full of gaps in his reasoning. He holds himself to high standards, which is doing what you believe in uncompromisingly and saying what you feel about your work.

And lest you think I'm a fan, I'm actually NOT : ) Not at all. HIS music being the center of any discussion on high definition audio is ironic in about 20 ways. (Way #4: Most of the effects that enable you to make your electric guitar sound reminiscent of his electric guitar do it by going 8 bit truncated, 11khz)
post #139 of 139
As someone who is studing audio engineering, I have used a couple of different things like the BBE app for 4.99 which is excellent, and the fiio device that interfaces with the phones power receptacle and uses a wolfsen? Chip like the original classics which Apple is going back to, and modest Klipsh earbuds. The Fiio and BBE app do an amazing job but it is as far as I go, it's reasonable without going to extremes and seems to improve sound quality. At a reasonable cost while remaining practical.
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