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Neil Young was working with Apple on super high-def music format - Page 2

post #41 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by boboosta View Post

+1

So, I, too, would be interested in any double-blind listening tests that compare different digital formats. It's important that the tests be double-blind (i.e., not even the experimenter who is turning the knobs and pressing the buttons knows which audio format he is listening to).

+1

Anyone with a PC can conduct their very own double blind test of compressed vs uncompressed using a program called Foobar together with it's ABX module.

http://www.foobar2000.org/
post #42 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicolbolas View Post

Just use .flac?

Show me the players that play .flac 24/192.

Flac is a play format just like DivX and Xvid. For audio the open source Apple Loose less is far more interesting then Flac.
post #43 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

I do and I do.

Then you wasted your money.
post #44 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post

Mind if I group you two together?

"Sad" and "worried." Where does this seemingly automatic hand-wringing come from?

There is an alternate assumption available to you, backed up by Tim Cook's statements about amazing products in the pipeline. Jobs and Ive and who knows how many others at Apple invented a factory for invention itself. Or a think tank for invention, if you prefer that wording.

Maybe all the focus on Steve Jobs and his "disruptive" style has obscured the fact that the Jobs vision is acquirable, transferable and widely shared to begin with. It isn't disruption that Apple does, except as collateral damage, perhaps. What they do is creation, based on what would be great, or insanely great.

This has been an endemic feature of Silicon Valley, at least the countercultural subset that Apple and the Macintosh comes from. It's the Right Path that the invention of digital technology affords, and it's what is now institutionalized at Apple. It was a discovery that grew out the alternate realities explorered in the sixties, and it won't, or can't, be undiscovered.

The other path, the Left Path, is the one that Microsoft and IBM took, the one that we should have worried about more all these years. That path knows nothing about insanely great, but only rises to a certain level of competence. (But notice that MS is now trying to be great, for the first time, with their new emphasis on interface.)

What I'm saying in this ramble is that it is not legitimate to assume that the source for inspired products has dried up with Steve gone. He helped, maybe more than anyone else, to uncork a genie that can't be put back in the bottle. That genie is the networked computer for everyone, whether in portable form, or on the desk, or on your wall in the form of of a TV. And the mandate that it has to be so great that everyone wants one.

Recall the Apple University, where these discoveries are probably in the opening syllabus, and quell your doubts.

I'm not sure that this is true. Steve Jobs was a person with highly unique qualities. I do think it's an overstatement to say that innovation at Apple is dead. I don't think it's an overstatement to express concern that this may happen. I can't hink of any other CEO that has had the impact that Steve had over so many different industries. It's possible that he was able to create an environment where this will continue on, but it's also a distinct possiblity that it won't. I don't see too many higher ups at Apple that have gone on to revolutionize industries in the way Steve's team at Apple did. Time will tell, of course, but I don't think it's crazy to wonder if Apple has the structure in place to continue on as they have in the past.
post #45 of 139
HD audio already exists in the form of SACD and DVD-A. But it barely exists, marketwise. Consumers don't care so much about quality as quantity and ease of use or "good enough". The iPod made music easy to listen to again, like in the days of cassette. It also improved on cassettes in many other ways. That's why it was successful.

What Young wants is never going to be mainstream. I'm sure Jobs may have looked into making music better, but was challenged with how to package and sell it to millions, not thousands.

I wouldn't mind an iPod HD, but I can't use my CDs as source material. I need properly remastered music that is available and even SACD and DVD-A don't have enough titles to serve everyone.

Besides, I don't think the music industry wants people sharing higher quality music, either.
post #46 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by pondosinatra View Post

Then you wasted your money.

No I haven't. I conducted controlled tests which satisfied me that there was no audible difference between the output from my ipod and that from my CD player. Given the vastly greater convenience inherent in the former, using it was a no brainer.

Not that I think much of any HiFi magazine, but Stereophile happen to have reviewed the same model of iPod I use: http://www.stereophile.com/budgetcom...934/index.html

Quote:
The iPod's measured behavior is better than many CD players...
.John Atkinson
post #47 of 139
On my iPhone, my music is all 128k AAC. I can sometimes hear the difference, but I'm usually out in an urban setting, with the music turned down enough so I can hear the M23 before it takes me out. At home, my collection is all ALAC. It can't add fidelity to a poorly mixed, pumped and clumped album. But once you listen to, for example, the first minute of Pat Methany's Last Train Home in both formats on a decent system, you will hear the difference forever, and on any other album where there is one.

I'm not talking the proverbial $7K (or $70K) system. The industry has raised the level of mediocrity so far that a $700 system (an Onkyo receiver, set of Polk speakers, and nearly any CD/DVD/BD player over $100 as one example) can easily give you a level of quality that a several grand system would only approach 20 years ago.

I was involved with building an FM station in the '70s. We committed to building the best sounding station we could within the limitations of the medium. Average listeners, not audiophiles, began calling as soon as we were on the air. Folks at home listening on decent stereos commented about how other stations would begin to annoy them after an hour, even if they were playing great music, but that they could listen to us all day. Listeners in their cars or in office settings complained that we often sounded "too soft." All commented that they were hearing things in familiar music they hadn't noticed before (no, not more cowbell). Why? We were applying the least compression, equalization, and limiting we could. People couldn't tell us why, but they heard the difference. And the more they listened, the more they heard.

There are a lot of smoke and mirrors in audio, but there is a level of quality most people will hear once one or two examples are pointed out. That level is much higher than many are willing to acknowledge.

And, of course, YMMV.
post #48 of 139
Consumers could care less about 24/192.

As long as there is enough bass to make your ears bleed, the masses will be okie dokie.

Sad, but a reality.

I mean come on, CD's were a quantum leap over vinyl and cassettes and then Napster and iTunes started what I call the "compression era". We haven't progressed since.

I long for the days when details could still be heard in recordings.

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post #49 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodlink View Post

Consumers could care less about 24/192.

As long as there is enough bass to make your ears bleed, the masses will be okie dokie.

Sad, but a reality.

I mean come on, CD's were a quantum leap over vinyl and cassettes and then Napster and iTunes started what I call the "compression era". We haven't progressed since.

I long for the days when details could still be heard in recordings.

The file size of iTunes Store music has more than doubled since it first appeared on the scene, and the AAC files are quite good.

Crappy MP3s are still downloaded illegally though.
post #50 of 139
Most Canadians have triple digit IQ's but not this man. I am embarrassed to be Canadian after hearing his ignorant ramblings. He obviously doesn't understand the relationship between frequency response, sampling rate and encoding bit depth. He seems to be stuck on the file size as his main yardstick.

There is a market for very large file music and that market has an IQ inversely proportional to their preferred file size and the thickness of their wallet.
post #51 of 139
If Neil Young is serious about this, I wish him the best of luck. However, I think his efforts would be best directed at solving problems that come long before the music has been digitized to a format for the consumer to buy.

To wit,


Now, really? No matter what format you put that particular song into, it's still going to sound bad. The audio level has been pushed ("compressed") to the point where it is clipping and running out of headroom. I know that many people don't care, and that quite a few may not see a problem with the above image.

Still, there is no point in offering any better digital format when stuff like this exists. It would be a far better idea to make sure the process leading up to the finished product is doing as well as it can.
post #52 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by boboosta View Post

+1

Psychology plays a huge part. That's why drug trials use double-blind tests and include a placebo.

In the 1980, the Canadian stereo magazine, Audio Scene, did double-blind listening tests that compared several power amplifiers. Once all the equipment was properly grounded, the golden-ears audiophiles could not tell the difference.

<snip>

So, I, too, would be interested in any double-blind listening tests that compare different digital formats. It's important that the tests be double-blind (i.e., not even the experimenter who is turning the knobs and pressing the buttons knows which audio format he is listening to).

I know I tried to reverse-bias a listening test between a Denon receiver driving its own internal amp vs. driving an Aragon, telling my wife that the Denon was much newer & fancier, and she listened for a minute and said so actually thought the Aragon sounded better. I was hoping it was just me, frankly. but it just sounded much better - smoother, better imaging. Same exact setup other than the extra interconnects from the Denon to the Aragon - I was switching speakers between amps.

My wife is not an audiophile and I was trying to bias her towards the Denon. Non-scientific, definitely, and not your double-blind double-blind case anyway.

Obviously there are items where there is no difference. Special power cords seem dubious considering the poor quality of your line voltage. Power conditioners theoretically make sense, though I haven't ever tried one myself... when you hear clicks and noises coming over the line when your fridge / AC / vacuum / etc. turn on, that's all on the line, so removing that seems pretty logical. On the other hand, there are differences in speakers - which makes sense considering the differences in cabinets, driver materials, crossovers, etc., there are differences in amps (listen to an electrostat driven with an A-B amp vs. tube amp). But in the end, pick the sound you prefer.

But for what was being discussed, take a good picture (RAW) then down-convert it to a compressed format - think JPEG. I'm sure you're not arguing that there's no difference between that and the original when you have them side by side? There are cases where the compression is less harmful/obvious, but many places (hard edges, high detail) where it's clear that JPEG throws away details - better still, reduce it to 16-bit instead of 24-bit depth to complete the analogy. You will see the difference. Throwing away a huge amount of the music signal is no different. (And the differences in video output was pretty large between different cards - ringing was very visible depending on card and cable not so many years back...)

But let's assume anyone who thinks they can hear any difference is just crazy. So what? Let us download the higher quality sound, you don't have to, OK?
post #53 of 139
Why buy iTunes tracks/albums when you can purchase CD's from Amazon for less and at full red-book (or better) quality?

Just rip at Apple Lossless.

It amazes me how people clamour for HDTV and 3DTV whilst happily listening to the enfeebled noise Mp3 or other lossy/data reduction algorithms deliver.
post #54 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.

Mostly agreed. I bought a standalone CD-R some years ago that's capable of 96/24. I was very excited about both live recording and copying LPs in 96/24. Could not perceive any difference whatsoever.

Furthermore, I make CD copies of old vinyl albums for broadcast use when the vinyl is not available on CD. In spite of all the vinyl lovers who hate digital audio, no one can ever tell the difference between the vinyl playing back and the CD copy of the vinyl playing back, so if 44.1/16 bit red book digital recordidng is screwing up the original analog recording, no one can tell.

In addition, I frequently think when I hear a CD remastering of an LP that I had owned that the CD sounds inferior. Then I go back and listen to the LP. 98% of the time, it sounds worse, usually far worse. I think what many people are actually comparing is their hearing when they were young and listening to LPs with their hearing now listening to CDs or downloads.

However, I do agree that compressed MP3 is not very good. But it is good enough for most people. Remember that even during the LP age, while there were hi-fi buffs who listened to LPs on quality sound systems, the masses listenend on junk and treated their records like crap.

The biggest problem with today's recordings is not that they're digital and not that most people listen on compressed MP3. The biggest problem is that because everyone wants their recording to be "the loudest", the recording is compressed as hell with no dynamic range. Digital recordings have a theoretical dynamic range of 96db and LPs had a theoretical dynamic range of about 35db and most recordings today have a dynamic range of only 10-15db. They're also mastered with the meter "slammed" so that there's ridiculous levels of digital distortion which, unlike harmonic distortion, is really annoying to the ear. Clean that up and all recordings, file compressed or not, will sound better.

But having said all that, I doubt very much that Neil Young was seriously working with Jobs on a higher quality format (unless that was Apple "uncompressed"). Maybe he spoke to Steve about it and Steve was "polite". For years, Apple has placed precedence on convenience over quality and with all their success, I don't see that changing anytime soon. Apple's lack of support for Blu-ray is another indication of that. As for Young, MP3 quality is certainly less than optimal, but it's most certainly NOT only 5% of what's heard in the recording studio. And as with almost every musician I've ever met, he almost definitely has severe hearing loss due to a lifetime of touring so I can't believe that he can tell the difference regardless of his claims.

In addition, the market has rejected every attempt at producing higher quality audio. SACD and DVD-Audio were market failures. Except in recording studios, no one was interested in 96/24 or higher resolutions. Except for enthusiasts, BD-Audio has gotten a big yawn. While LP sales increased 33% last year, it's still less than 2% of the market.

And I say all that as an ex-recording engineer who loves high-quality sound and still has 400 LPs and 500 CDs in my living room played back through a large sound system.
post #55 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pendergast View Post

The file size of iTunes Store music has more than doubled since it first appeared on the scene, and the AAC files are quite good.

AAC files are indeed good enough for the average listener, but it wouldn't be a bad thing if there were higher quality files available to purchase as an option for those who prefer to have their audio uncompressed. Then people will have a choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pendergast View Post

Crappy MP3s are still downloaded illegally though.

I'm sure that they are, but I suppose thats somebody can just take all of those crappy MP3's and auto-convert them to much higher quality AAC's if and when they sign up for iTunes Match.
post #56 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?

That and $1000 Monster Cables, $200 wooden knobs for your receiver and a crystal pyramid hat to wear.
post #57 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

No I haven't. I conducted controlled tests which satisfied me that there was no audible difference between the output from my ipod and that from my CD player. Given the vastly greater convenience inherent in the former, using it was a no brainer...

Do you also think movies in DD5.1 sound as good as those in DTS-HD?
post #58 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloodshotrollin'red View Post

Why buy iTunes tracks/albums when you can purchase CD's from Amazon for less and at full red-book (or better) quality?

CDs are crap, they're only 16 bit and they're a physical item that is a lot less inconvenient to use than a digital file that can be downloaded.

24 bit files should be offered for download.
post #59 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodlink View Post

Consumers could care less about 24/192.

As long as there is enough bass to make your ears bleed, the masses will be okie dokie.

Sad, but a reality.

I mean come on, CD's were a quantum leap over vinyl and cassettes and then Napster and iTunes started what I call the "compression era". We haven't progressed since.

I long for the days when details could still be heard in recordings.

SACD is only dead if we stop buying them! I for one still do. Fleetwood Mac's Rumours sounds amazing on SACD.
post #60 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

CDs are crap, they're only 16 bit and they're a physical item that is a lot less inconvenient to use than a digital file that can be downloaded.

24 bit files should be offered for download.

Enjoy trying to transfer your digital file to another system - you're breaking the law.

A physical CD is mine. I can do whatever the hell I want with it, play it in any player I want, legally sell it to someone else etc. etc.

Convenience and lethargy will be the death of us all.
post #61 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by pondosinatra View Post

Enjoy trying to transfer your digital file to another system - you're breaking the law.

Which other system do you mean? If somebody buys something on iTunes, they own it for life too, and it can be played on any of the machines that the person owns.
post #62 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloodshotrollin'red View Post

It amazes me how people clamour for HDTV and 3DTV whilst happily listening to the enfeebled noise Mp3 or other lossy/data reduction algorithms deliver.

Many people listen to music as background noise while doing other things. Often, it is in noisy environments where the extra quality would be drowned out anyhow.

But, when watching a movie or TV show, people are more likely to have most of their attention focused on the movie or TV, so having higher quality there makes sense.
post #63 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Which other system do you mean? If somebody buys something on iTunes, they own it for life too, and it can be played on any of the machines that the person owns.

Yes but you can't transfer it to your Sony player - it's legal as long as it's only on an Apple system. So in essence Apple owns the song - not you.
post #64 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by pondosinatra View Post

Enjoy trying to transfer your digital file to another system - you're breaking the law.

A physical CD is mine. I can do whatever the hell I want with it, play it in any player I want, legally sell it to someone else etc. etc.

Convenience and lethargy will be the death of us all.

You are incorrect. Apple explicitly states that you can burn a CD from iTunes songs that you have purchased. Once it's a CD, you can legally play it on any CD player you wish.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #65 of 139
Yes!! I have been waiting for this forever!!!! Forget .mp3 we need Neil Young Format .NYF
post #66 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

You are incorrect. Apple explicitly states that you can burn a CD from iTunes songs that you have purchased. Once it's a CD, you can legally play it on any CD player you wish.

iTunes will let you export from AAC to MP3 or WAV?

I thought only certain songs don't have DRM on them - most songs have to be played in iTunes.
post #67 of 139
I was approached about this (apparently after Neil's group parted
ways with Apple; we discussed FLAC which would have be anathema to
Apple). I do not know why they were no longer working with Apple, but
my impression was that they understood that 24/192 was nonsensical.
I called it snake oil to its face, and they agreed though perhaps not
enthusiastically.

24/192 will actually sound worse than 16/44.1 or 16/48, and the problem
isn't theoretical.

No audio driver can reproduce up to 192kHz without distortion. If the
same transducer is attempting to reproduce any content in the audible
range (which actually ends well below 20kHz), you end up with
intermodulation distortion, which shifts the ultrasonic content down
into the audible range in an uncontrolled way as a spray/smear of
nasty distortion products.

You can't and won't have ultrasonic intermodulation distortion in the
audible band if there's no ultrasonic content.

So this is a case where 'more' is going to be worse. You will always
be damaging the quality of the audible portion of playback by
simultaneously trying to reproduce content that isn't audible anyway.

Thus, 24/192 playback is not only bull, it's inferior bull.
it should never be part of audio outside a purely virtual DSP chain.

Here's a fun bit of homework: Go get your self a SAC or HDDVD or
anything else that offers 88 or 96 or 192 playback, rip it, and look at
the actual digital audio content on that disc: It ends below 20kHz.
All that extra sampling rate holds no information. 192kHz sampling
was only ever used because older ADC/DACs were synchronous and
antialiasing filters work better with a wide transition band. Modern
DACs are asynchronous and can have a wide transition band even if
the input is low-rate. 44.1 and 48 are thus the best rates to use today.
All the benefits 192kHz delivered on the more primitive/limited equipment
of 20-ish years ago, none of the drawbacks, and no wasted space.

Anyway...

Headphones were also touched upon (if you want better
fidelity, ship better headphones), as was 16 vs 24 bit.
I wholeheartedly supported the idea of a lossless encoding.

They asked me if I could walk into a studio with a 16/44.1 (or 48)
playback device and demonstrate to the best ears in the industry that
it sounded every bit as good as 24/192. I said yes, tell me where and
when, but I've not heard back since. No idea if that was the reason :-)

Cheers,
Monty
Xiph.Org
post #68 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by pondosinatra View Post

Yes but you can't transfer it to your Sony player - it's legal as long as it's only on an Apple system. So in essence Apple owns the song - not you.

I see what you mean, but songs from iTunes are now free of DRM, so somebody can technically play it on whatever they want or transfer it to wherever they want, even if it technically might be a violation of some agreement. You mentioned "illegal", but I wouldn't have any second thoughts about doing whatever I wanted to music which I have purchased and paid for.
post #69 of 139
It would certinaly not take that long on a regular high-speed connection. I have purchased a number of 24/192 albums. On a cable modem, it can take 15-20 minutes for an entire album. A lot of high-def music is 24/96.

A full album is roughly 2Gb and 24/192, and 1Gb at 24/96.
post #70 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkral View Post

I'm not sure that this is true. Steve Jobs was a person with highly unique qualities. I do think it's an overstatement to say that innovation at Apple is dead. I don't think it's an overstatement to express concern that this may happen. I can't hink of any other CEO that has had the impact that Steve had over so many different industries. It's possible that he was able to create an environment where this will continue on, but it's also a distinct possiblity that it won't. I don't see too many higher ups at Apple that have gone on to revolutionize industries in the way Steve's team at Apple did. Time will tell, of course, but I don't think it's crazy to wonder if Apple has the structure in place to continue on as they have in the past.

I appreciate your approach rather than the automatic pronouncement of doom based on the missing Jobs factor.

Trying to stay on topic here, the question is whether Apple will push audio resolution as an innovation in the industry the way they have with photography, including video. They are apparently not going to hold back on visual resolution -- we'll see with the next iPad -- and will be bringing out something that is insanely great just for the sake of pushing the desirability and usefulness factors.

This is the main "invention" that they have brought to technology: aesthetics, desirability, must-have usefulness. These factors were introduced by some of Steve's favorite predecessors, like BMW bikes, Leicas, and early Sony, but it was he who saw this as the absolute basic requirement for any new product. Since the first iMac and Ive, they've made nothing but delightful stuff, after a period without Jobs when Apple was in its beige box phase.

This is the genie that everybody knows is out of the bottle, at Apple anyway: maximize delight and usability. To look at it another way, any way that you can amplify people's senses and intellect, do it. Steve created a permanent revolution. The world won't tolerate ugly, beige and clunky once they've held a high-res iPad in their hands. (Well, the sane world anyway. The haters seem to be allergic to aesthetics.)

I'd say it's inevitable that high-resolution digital audio is in the future, from Apple or someone learning the established aesthetics of Apple. The Nest wall thermostat and J.C. Penny, believe it or not, are just the beginning of the aesthetic revolution. Neil Young is saying let's push audio on that basis. This could be part of the Apple effect. Someone who knows Neil, ask him.

Edit: looking at some of the previous posts, for example xiphmont, it reminds me that I know next to nothing about audio, so all this pontificating about Apple's aesthetic mission may be way to one side of this thread. As far as any product is concerned, I can't see any company coming up with or using a standard that would please most audio people. The crankiest bunch of gear heads I've ever encountered. : ) Not you on that crank factor so much, xiphmont, I enjoyed that post.
post #71 of 139
Actually it's easy to hear the difference between mp3s and higher quality audio files with modest equipment if you listen carefully. Some folks care about "sound" quality of the music and not just music itself. For me "good" sound quality helps me to be more engaged in the music. My wife could care less. She's just interested music itself. This is neither good or bad, just different approaches to "listening" to music.

In fact I can hear the sound quality difference in my Ford factory car stereo between XMRadio, MP3 files, and apple lossless files. XMRadio has the lowest sound qaulity. I would described the sound as an unnatural "plastic" sound. MP3s and apple lossless files played through my ipod touch via the usb port both sound better than XMRadio and the apple lossless files sound the best. Do I notice on the highway? Not as much as I'm more focused on the road, but I do notice when I'm waiting for my kids. The XMRadio sound will drive me crazy.

If there's no perceptible difference in sound quality than why do recording companies and artists spend any money any recording equipment that's better than a 16bit/44khz. You can buy a Tascam DP-008 Digital 8-Track Recorder for a $200. What more do you need?

Getting "better" sounding quality music doesn't have to break the bank either. You can use your beloved mac to "power" it.

On the "low" end for $350 you can get the HRT Streamer II and a pair of Audio Engine A2 speakers. This will improve the sound quality of any mp3/aac/flac file played through your Mac with iTunes. I don't use any fancy cables, but you might want to experiment with the USB cable from the mac to the DAC.

On the "high" end for $750 you can move up to the HRT Streamer II+ and a pair of Audio Engine A5 speakers. And if you want to listen to the Hi-Res files you can use Songbird (no charge) and buy those Hi-Res music files from HDTracks, Linn Records or subscribe to B & W Society of Sound (I'm sure there are other sites I don't know about).

I have this set up running on a 3 year old MacBook Pro and I think the "sound" is quite engaging. Good transients, sound stage spcing, music pacing, air around the instruments, etc. The sound is especially good with Hi-Res audio 24bit/96khz (I haven't tried 24bit/192khz), and I think the sound is pretty darn good with mp3s bought from the iTunes store, Amazon, or eMusic and with apple lossless files I create from my CDs. Much better than I would've imagined they could be.

I'm sure there are other USB DACs and powered speaker combinations that sound great are in the same general price range.

No need to wait for Neil or Apple to get better sound today.
post #72 of 139
Well in digital format, more bits means better and more solid low end, which lets one "feel" the music more (I've been told I'm a bit of an audiophile). But, true, one has to use good quality speakers or headphones that can reproduce the audio spectrum properly.

For most people, the existing common digital formats are fine. So, basically, this whole idea of higher resolutions would apply more to audiophiles.

On another note (which most people don't think about), some upcoming solar flares are supposed to be strong enough that there's a good possibility of many of our electrical grids being wiped out. Aside from those using complete solar power systems, how are we going to live without electricity?... For music, maybe we can hand-crank an old vinyl record player! Haha
post #73 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElectroTech View Post

Most Canadians have triple digit IQ's but not this man. I am embarrassed to be Canadian after hearing his ignorant ramblings. He obviously doesn't understand the relationship between frequency response, sampling rate and encoding bit depth. He seems to be stuck on the file size as his main yardstick.

There is a market for very large file music and that market has an IQ inversely proportional to their preferred file size and the thickness of their wallet.

(Full disclosure: I'm also Canadian, but never measured my IQ.)

Like Mr. Young, CD or MP3-quality audio makes me edgy and physically uncomfortable. Do I have the neurological, biological and technological savvy to be able to convincingly explain it? No, but the problem is still there. Analogue and high-def audio just simply sound better to my ears.

My guess is that Mr. Young likely chose file size as the largest barrier in that conversation; I haven't heard him focus on it before but neither has he discussed Apple directly. Perhaps file size IS the problem for Apple, as it could notionally conflict with their push for iCloud, who knows.

But Mr. Young is rightly frustrated that music isn't readily available in the quality it should be. He can hear the difference, I can, and many other music-lovers do too.

Studios have recorded at least in 24/96 for 10 years (though not many engineers properly mix for it). A venue such as iTunes would help open things up.
post #74 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Conrail View Post

Digital music isn't destroying sound fidelity, the loudness war is.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war

Most "remasters" just punch the volume up to such an extreme that you lose any variation in the sound quality.

The worst thing about "punching up the volume" is that it causes the signal to go into clipping, introducing horrendous sonic artifacts that are even heard in, MP3's, Clipping is the scourge of many re-releases. Its no wonder that even old worn out vinyl sounds better than the CD.
post #75 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by MandoKat View Post

and buy those Hi-Res music files from HDTracks, Linn Records or subscribe to B & W Society of Sound (I'm sure there are other sites I don't know about).

B&W Society of Sound is only 24/48. (Too bad, I like their choice of musicians.)

There's a few other high-res music websites you may want to check out.

A French site (with a fair number of artists exclusive to them) and a rapidly growing hi-res collection:
http://www.qobuz.com/qualite/Studio-...-ecoute-albums

For classical (up to 24/88) a Canadian site:
http://www.analekta.com/en

And this Dutch site, which has had a couple of exclusives as well:
http://www.gubemusic.com

Except for some localized promotions, I've had no trouble purchasing from them outside the country of origin.
post #76 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by xiphmont View Post

They asked me if I could walk into a studio with a 16/44.1 (or 48)
playback device and demonstrate to the best ears in the industry that
it sounded every bit as good as 24/192. I said yes, tell me where and
when, but I've not heard back since. No idea if that was the reason :-)

Cheers,
Monty
Xiph.Org

Thanks for the informative and interesting post. It's posts like this that keep me coming back to AI despite having to wade through a sea of trolls. *cough* slappy
..... the greatest fame comes from adding to human knowledge, not winning battles.
Paraphrased from Napolean Bonaparte, 1798
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..... the greatest fame comes from adding to human knowledge, not winning battles.
Paraphrased from Napolean Bonaparte, 1798
Reply
post #77 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.

I think that the vodka experts are probably able to demonstrate, using proper blind testing methodology, that different vodkas taste different. Not better, which can't be assessed objectively, but different. When it comes to audio reproduction, it is easily possible when listening to different loudspeakers to determine that different speakers sound different. But here again it is not possible to objectively determine that one sounds better than another except when there is strong, nearly unanimous opinion among different people. And when it comes to digital recording formats, it is impossible for anyone to hear any difference between formats that use perceptual encoding (lossy encoding) and lossless encoding, as long as the bit rate used with perceptual encoding is adequately high. The ONLY question that is at all worth debating is what exactly constitutes "adequately high", but proper testing in controlled environments confirms that the popular bit rates are either indistinguishable from the original or else so close that only under very ideal circumstances and with particular types of audio recordings is the difference audible.

Neil Young is lucky to even have any hearing left, and given his obvious preference for music that sounds grungy, he is probably one of the last people on earth to have anything informed to add to this topic.

One of the great ironies about what happened with vinyl after the introduction of the CD, is that long, long before the CD arrived, it was common knowledge that vinyl was inherently inferior to magnetic tape. Serious audiophiles had abandoned vinyl a couple of decades earlier. They had adopted reel-to-reel tape machines and had collections of tape reels. When "audiophile vinyl" arrived in the '70s, they all knew that it was just hype. You still had the limited dynamic range, the popping and scratching, and the various forms of distortion that were inherent. Bass has to be reduced to a barely perceptible level before the signal can be represented in that groove cut into the vinyl, and then has to be boosted upon playback. By analogy to photography, it would be like taking a slide and chemically process it to remove all but a small, miniscule amount of red, and then trying to restore the red by boosting it when displayed on a video display. The process is fundamentally flawed, and for a reason that is all too obvious. Yet, to this day, there are people who insist that vinyl is superior and that standard CD is flawed. Even after the higher resolution digital formats failed to catch on because no one could hear the difference, there are still people who insist that CD is flawed and that vinyl is superior. If that were true, then people would be able to hear the difference between CD and the higher resolution formats, but notwithstanding lies told by the editor of Stereophile magazine, the serious studies undertaken to answer this question concluded definitely that no one could hear any difference. When it comes to the claims that people make with digital compression, among the claims that people make as often as any of the other claims, is that they can hear the difference between uncompressed digital formats and lossless digital formats. Yes, people do claim this, even though it is manifest that there cannot possibly be any difference, because at the point of digital to analog conversion, the digital bit stream is identical in the two cases. Yet, people claim that they can hear a difference.
post #78 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenJammin54 View Post

While I agree there is some quality lost in most of our digital music, I find it really hard to believe we're only hearing "5%". Really? Is he just making up numbers?

Off and on over the years I have been a fan of Neil Young. Mostly early Neil Young, e.g, Cinnamon Girl, Cowgirl in the Sand, etc.

But let's get real. Aside from music and his particular type of music, Neil Young does not know one damned thing about anything. In fact, he is the epitome of the artist who for reasons that only serve to demonstrate their lack of general intelligence, presume that their knowledge extends beyond their one specific artistic field. I seem to recall that Neil Young did not even finish high school. That did not prevent him from become very skilled at playing guitar and writing tunes for the guitar and singing in a peculiar falsetto. But none of that says anything at all about any abilities beyond those. He does not understand diddly squat about any of the other subjects about which he presumes himself to have special knowledge.
post #79 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodlink View Post

Consumers could care less about 24/192.

As long as there is enough bass to make your ears bleed, the masses will be okie dokie.

Sad, but a reality.

I mean come on, CD's were a quantum leap over vinyl and cassettes and then Napster and iTunes started what I call the "compression era". We haven't progressed since.

I long for the days when details could still be heard in recordings.

CDs started the compression era. Apple Lossless encode of a CD is a lossless encode of a lossy source. SACD is almost dead in the US but struggles on. I import.

www.sa-cd.net
post #80 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by pondosinatra View Post

Do you also think movies in DD5.1 sound as good as those in DTS-HD?

I don't watch much TV or movies and have never gone beyond 2.1 stereo so I have no idea what those are. I do have a nice 2.1 system though.

However, if you don't believe me, I have done two experiments.

In the first, I recorded the output - via a dock - of my ipod playing a rip of a CD track. I then recorded the output of my CD player playing the original track. I then spliced sections from both recordings into a seamless whole. When played back, no one has been able to distinguish between the sections. I can upload the file if you like and you can have a listen.

I have done the same with 223 kbps AAC and the source. Interleaved splices of both to create a whole. That one is already uploaded. https://rapidshare.com/files/3023221...3AAC_short.rar

So far, no one has been able to tell me where the splice points are
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