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Neil Young was working with Apple on super high-def music format - Page 3

post #81 of 139
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Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

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

I vaguely remember us having this exact argument months, years? ago
post #82 of 139
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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.


Ignorant statements.
post #83 of 139
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Originally Posted by ksec View Post

I found it hard to believe that SJ listened to vinyl. This is truly amazing!

Given that he was an old hippie, it isn't all that surprising to me. The reason would have been partly that he no doubt had a huge collection of vinyl. But the fact that he listened to vinyl is no indication that he had any misgivings about the superiority of digital recording. It is exceedingly unlikely that he would have believed that vinyl recordings were inherently superior to digital recordings given a good encoding scheme and adequate bitrate.
post #84 of 139
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Originally Posted by wuchmee View Post

Ignorant statements.

It seems $10 vodka leads to deafness.
post #85 of 139
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Originally Posted by pondosinatra View Post

I vaguely remember us having this exact argument months, years? ago

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?

So one year on, and having pointed lots of people to the compressed/uncompressed file, no one has been able to distinguish between the sections, even when those people tell me the difference even between 320 kbs mp3 and CD is night and day; chalk and cheese. For some strange reason, their powers of discrimination seem to evaporate the instant they listen to that file.
post #86 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristophB View Post

It seems $10 vodka leads to deafness.

What leads to blindness?

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #87 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrstep View Post

Totally agree. It's like if people argued that 256-color or 16-bit graphics are plenty either because they have bad monitors are can't be bothered with looking at 2 pictures side by side to see the difference themselves - apparently, the fact that you can't visually see the difference in higher quality audio somehow must mean it's not there? (Though technically if you played/re-digitized it you would see a difference in the waveform...)

A well-dithered 16-bit graphic will look good too - think CD. It doesn't mean that 'true color' (24 bit) won't look better - or ever higher bit depth / higher resolution. At some point you won't be able to tell the difference - 24/192 is pretty damned good and probably going higher won't make a difference for most people's systems. Storage is cheap, bandwidth just keeps improving, so why not get a good copy of the music or at least have the option?

This isn't an argument about whether cryogenically freezing your wall outlet will give you purer sound, it's quite demonstrable.

But, your argument is specious. As for the headphones, I mostly listen through a pair of Sennheiser HD580. As for the particular Sennheiser headphones in the post to which you replied, that pair happens to be a DJ model and not one of their best. The closed back has the single advantage of noise isolation, to the detriment of sound quality. The air spring effect can be used to good effect if and only if the driver itself is over damped so as to avoid a high Q resonance. And even in that case, there will still be a cavity resonance, i.e., standing waves set up between the back side of the diaphragm and the wall in back. These are the reasons that Sennheiser's better headphones always have been open back and always will be open back.

But as for your comments, the analogy to display resolution and bit depth and so on is always one that is easy to make. But it and of itself it does not prove anything at all. And the comparison with imaging is a bogus comparison for a fundamental reason. With any image, it is always potentially possible to display it on a display with greater pixel resolution, and for this reason there is always a potential advantage for using greater quantity of pixels in the image file. But bit depth is another matter. It translates into the amount of fine variation in brightness, hue, and saturation. There is inherently a limit to the ability of human vision to detect these differences. To keep it simple, consider the case of grey scale. Initially as you increase the bit depth, the brightness of the reproduced image gets closer and closer to the original, i.e., is neither whiter nor blacker than the original. But at a certain point, the human eye simply can no longer perceive the difference. Double the bit depth and scan and encode again, and you cannot tell any difference at all between that copy and the previous one, or between either and the original. Common sense tells you that eventually this will happen. It is not a question of whether it will happen. It is only a question of what the bit depth has to be, in order for this to happen. And once you have reached that point and are entirely certain that you have reached that point, there is absolutely no reason to increase the bit depth of the scan any further. It is the same with audio encoding, and even with perceptual encoding.

The question of whether perceptual encoding can be indistinguishable from the original is a moot question. The only question that is even worth considering is what amount of compression, given a specific encoding scheme, can be tolerated without introducing some artifact by which any listener would be able to hear any difference between that recording and the original. IF you are entirely certain that the bit rate that you have used is perfectly adequate such that no person could every detect any difference between that recording and a non-lossy recording with arbitrarily high quantization rate and word size, then there is no discernible reason to use a higher bit rate. Because, IF it is true that no one can hear then difference, THEN it is true that no one can hear the difference. The only meaningful, valid questions are what people can and cannot hear. To dismiss all perceptual coding techniques in the manner that manner people do is equivalent to asserting that it is not possible, using a perceptual coding technique, to make a recording that no person would be able to recognize as different from a master using arbitrarily high quantization rate and word size. It is manifestly ludicrous to suggest that this would be the case, yet this is precisely what people are in effect asserting when they criticize perceptual encoding categorically. It is logically preposterous.
post #88 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by pondosinatra View Post

Then you wasted your money.

He/she may have wasted money spending that much on a stereo system, but if so, it would be entirely the same if they had spent that money and then used some other source.

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. What you assert however in effect, is that no matter how high the bit rate, that there will always be some artifact that someone will be able to hear. This is what you assert in effect, and it is simply ludicrous. In fact, anyone who has any technical comprehension whatsoever of these matters knows perfectly well that these claims with respect to perceptual encoding are logically absurd. Only people who lack the technical comprehension (and the common sense) are prone to disparage perceptual encoding categorically in the manner that you do.
post #89 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

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.

There is also the fact that when the question was seriously undertaken in the form of a scientific study conducted over a period of a couple of years, that the conclusion was that no person could be found who could demonstrate the ability to reliable distinguish between standard CD and the so-called high resolution formats. The companies who backed those formats knew this before they introduced them, and they introduced them only because there appeared to be a market for them. That is not to say that you do not own any high-resolution discs that sound any better than standard CDs typically sound. Those discs that sound better were either recorded originally using better equipment, or else they were remastered in some way that corrected for some limitation that was present in the prior CD release of the same material.
post #90 of 139
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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.

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

I keep trying to say something that seems to me that should be obvious to everyone, but that for some reason is not. It should be obvious to everyone who has any sense that the question of whether perceptual encoding is inherently flawed is moot. It should be obvious that as long as it is done carefully and with adequately high bit rate, that no person would be able to hear any difference whatsoever between that recording and a master that was recorded with linear PCM using arbitrarily high sample rate and sample size. This ought to be obvious, to everyone. Yet, there are still lots of people who for some inexplicable reason assert, explicitly or implicitly, that there is something inherently wrong with perceptual encoding. This is effectively what they assert when they argue that only non-lossy compression is acceptable. Some people just cannot tolerate the idea that some of the music is being discarded, and for this reason they insist on something that logically is ludicrous: that even though you cannot hear any difference whatsoever between two recordings, that one still sounds better than the other.
post #91 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by aBeliefSystem View Post

It really sounds like it is one of those fake projects that newbies get assigned to.
Apple has moved away from discs and hard drives into SSDs, which makes this sound quite strange.

I'm sure Apple will become very interested in selling us on the benefits of music formats with larger file sizes when they want us to upgrade from 1TB SSD iPhones and Macbook Airs to 10TB SSD iPhones and MacBook Airs.
post #92 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by richardk32 View Post

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.

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".
post #93 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.

My favorite post so far in this discussion!
post #94 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrstep View Post

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?

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. 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. 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.

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.
post #95 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by grub View Post

That and $1000 Monster Cables, $200 wooden knobs for your receiver and a crystal pyramid hat to wear.

Oh, don't make me laugh so hard that it hurts. And nowadays Monster Cables are considered the practical alternative to overpriced hype. I found some excellent speaker wire at Lowe's a few months ago. I found it in the lawn and garden section, where substantial lengths of it could be purchased at a fraction of the price for "speaker cable". It was packaged and sold as power cable for low-voltage landscape lighting. Great stuff.

And even though you didn't venture into the vinyl fray, you reminded me of Michael Fremer at Stereophile giving a glowing endorsement of a vinyl demagnetizer of some sort. I suppose that might make sense, but only if first you can explain how it would make sense to demagnetize a non-magnetic substance. He of course is the guy who writes all the vinyl and analog stuff for Stereofool.
post #96 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

If there are any other examples that you have, perhaps in classic rock or mainstream classical, I would be interested in knowing.

Check out http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/

The community there have a collection of killer samples that defeat some compression algorithm's. The search function may well lead you to them. They even seem to have a thread discussing the same topic as this thread - Neal young's tosh.
post #97 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by pondosinatra View Post

SACD is only dead if we stop buying them! I for one still do. Fleetwood Mac's Rumours sounds amazing on SACD.

Maybe so. I haven't heard if. But if I did, my first question would be whether the reason is because of remastering that was done, or because of the SACD per se. In other words, if you took that nice new digital master and then re-sampled it carefully to the CD standard, would it sound any different? How many comparisons of that particular sort have you been able to do at all, much less in a controlled environment where you expectations will not be able to influence the result?
post #98 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by afrodri View Post

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.

But, in the post to which you replied, by Bloodshotrollinred (whatever), that poster was in effect asserting that ALL recordings done using perceptual encoding inherently contain audible artifacts, no matter what bit rate is used, and no matter how carefully the encoding scheme was devised. To me it is obvious that this defies common sense, and I do not understand why other people do not readily deduce that as long as the bit rate is adequately high, that perceptual encoding will not introduce audible artifacts. He was asserting in effect the perceptual encoding always introduces audible artifacts, and you implicitly endorsed his nonsensical position.
post #99 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

... done carefully and with adequately high bit rate, that no person would be able to hear any difference whatsoever between that recording and a master that was recorded with linear PCM using arbitrarily high sample rate and sample size. ... Yet, there are still lots of people who ... assert...that there is something inherently wrong with perceptual encoding.

Bingo.

If you have an infinitely high sampling frequency and an infinitely high bit depth then the digital waveform is identical to the analog waveform. Therefore, they will sound identical. The higher the sampling rate (e.g., 44.1kHz, 192kHz) and bit depth (e.g., 16 bits, 24 bits), the better the digital waveform approximates the analog (i.e., original) waveform. Humans are not perfect. At some point, even the most discriminating listener will be unable to tell the difference between the approximation and the original waveforms.
post #100 of 139
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Originally Posted by MandoKat View Post

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.

All you are asserting in effect is that all music recorded in a perceptual format sounds the same as your MP3 files, no matter what bit rate you used and no matter what bit rate is used for the other perceptual encoding. In fact, you are in effect arguing that MP3 at an extremely low bit rate sounds entirely the same as an MP3 at an extremely high bit rate.

But do not feel alone. Roughly half of the posts here have in effect argued the same thing.
post #101 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by sidewaysdesign View Post

(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.

Throw yourself right in with all the other people who came here and wrote a post that said in effect that all MP3 sounds the same no matter the bit rate.
post #102 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by boboosta View Post

Bingo.

If you have an infinitely high sampling frequency and an infinitely high bit depth then the digital waveform is identical to the analog waveform.

This is true, but the implication is somewhat incorrect by way of being incomplete. You don't need infinity.

A discrete-time (sampled) signal holds all of the information of the analog original so long as the analog signal's frequency content lies entirely below the Nyquist frequency (enforcing that condition is the role of the antialiasing filter). So long as that criteria is obeyed, sampling and synthesis are both lossless.

The quantization of a sampled signal is not lossless, but we can consider it lossless if it covers the entire S/N ratio of the signal in question (or equivalently to our purposes, the ear's entire dynamic range and maximum S/N ratio). 16 bits linear is very close (with dither its even better) and 20 bits covers the entire dynamic range from inaudible to 'severe permanent damage'.

In this sense, even 16/44.1 linear PCM is already a very wasteful encoding; within a critical band, the ear only has 5-6 bits of S/N resolution, though each critical band can cover a dynamic range of almost 20 bits.
post #103 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by wws View Post

Um, we don't need to evaluate Young's music or his engineering acumen on this. I'm not understanding the attacks on his person and music. He's simply pointing out that the present standard in digital music is a drop in quality, which is 100% accurate. If you read about the history of MP3 you will see that preservation of the original fidelity of the music was not a goal. Compression and portability were.

With decent equipment many, many people can tell a difference. I would enjoy more opportunities to download FLAC-level quality music from major vendors like iTunes and eMusic. Even support for FLAC in iTunes would be nice. No, this is not the same major market as cheaper, more lossy compressed music files, but I like that Steve Jobs was hearing from an advocate on higher-quality digital music.

And goodness, would it be a *bad* thing if such a thing were to pass? Hardly.

So what's the difference between flac and Apple lossless (alac)?

Apart from wasting space on portable devices.
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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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 #104 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

Throw yourself right in with all the other people who came here and wrote a post that said in effect that all MP3 sounds the same no matter the bit rate.

I'm not sure that any of the posts were really trying to say that all MP3 sounds the same. Many were saying that lower-bit-rate MP3 is discernibly different from higher-bit-rate MP3 or lossless, and possibly not as good to listen to. I wouldn't read any more into it than that.

The threshold beyond which the perceived difference vanishes will vary with the quality of the original, the player, the D-A converter, the amplifier, the loudspeakers and the listener's ears.
post #105 of 139
I bet the only time Steve and Neil ever came close to having a conversation was if Steve was lip syncing to Suite Judy Blue Eyes... the Woodstock version.

Poor 'ol Neil, one burnt out dude.
OMG here we go again...
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OMG here we go again...
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post #106 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by ch2co View Post

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.

Well, this business of compressing dynamic range in many modern recordings is certainly not a good trend, and it obviates one of the major advantages that most any digital recording format has over vinyl, that being of course the advantage in dynamic range. Dynamic range compression was commonplace in vinyl recordings, particularly in recording of symphonic music where the dynamic range from the quietest to the loudest passages greatly exceeded the capability of vinyl. This of course was a major reason for the development of the CD format in the first place. Nowadays lots of people seem to have forgotten this, or perhaps the majority of population interested in music nowadays is not even old enough to have owned a collection a vinyl. At one point I had over a hundred easily. Now I don't have a single one, and I do not miss them in the least. There is not one thing about them that I miss. Only a handful of the vinyl recordings in my collection did not sound overtly inferior to a typical, run-of-the-mill CD, and even the ones that sounded half decent still did not sound in any way better to the same recording released on CD. And on top of that they were large and the collection was heavy and bulky. The cardboard folders constantly wore out at the corners and the backs, and the extra vinyl sleeves were cumbersome. There is nothing about that experience that I miss in any way. More recently I ripped my entire CD collection into iTunes using AAC and now this is the very first thing I do whenever I buy a new CD. When I want to listen to my music, I don't even have to get up off the sofa. The computer that I use for a music server stays powered on, and it is located in my office, and streams music digitally to the little Airport that sits close to my stereo. I reach for the remote control and switch the input, and then I reach for the iPad and touch the icon for the iTunes/Airtunes remote control app. In an instant, I am listening to whatever it was I wanted to listen to, without even getting up. And in general the sound quality is vastly superior to what it was with those old vinyl records. Why would anyone prefer to have to get up and walk to wherever that old orange crate full of dusty vinyl records is kept, flip through them to find the one of interest, pull it out of the sleeve and place it on the turntable, run the brush, lift over the tone arm, and then have to go and put it away afterwards. I would just as soon have a car that I have to start by turning a hand crank, and that has no heater to speak of for winter driving and no air conditioning for the summer, and hard bench seats, a three speed transmission that clunks and grinds every time I change gears, and that constantly drips oil down on to my garage floor.
post #107 of 139
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Originally Posted by ChristophB View Post

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

Yeah, right. (wink, wink). Anyone who knows the first thing about it knows that long before the CD was introduced, vinyl was lamented for several reasons, one of which was that you had to filter out practically all the bass before you could squeeze the signal into that little groove with undulating walls (and then vainly hope to restore a reasonable facsimile of the bass upon playback), and another of which was that even after filtering out almost all of the bass, you still could not record anywhere near the dynamic range of most symphonic music. It was generally necessary to compress the dynamic range as part of the signal processing that had to be applied before the signal could be placed in that little groove. That was the sad reality of vinyl, and still is, yet you claim that "CDs started the compression era". You've got it completely backwards. Dynamic range compression was one of the notable problems with vinyl that CDs sought to solve, and did. If you are talking about data compression, there is no data compression of CD unless the sound is recorded originally at a higher sampling rate and sample size. But even if so, that it itself is a bogus criticism for reasons that have been beaten to death and that are well understood by anyone who truly desires to understand such things.
post #108 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

...snip Why would anyone prefer to have to get up and walk to wherever that old orange crate full of dusty vinyl records is kept, flip through them to find the one of interest, pull it out of the sleeve and place it on the turntable, run the brush, lift over the tone arm, and then have to go and put it away afterwards.../snip

Totally agree, getting up every 22 minutes to change "sides" still looks no better through rose coloured glasses, so the crackle, hiss and pop has gone, so what, it was just crackle, hiss and pop.

Give me a 20,000 playlist and the surprises that "shuffle" brings, any day of the week.

The quality of iTunes match is surprisingly good, even the 128k MP3 tracks I "acquired"* from Napster last century have gained a new lease of life.

*as "fair use" backups of work I already owned.
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post #109 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.

What you're advocating is the McDonalds mindset. Never mind the quality feel the width - Why pay more, It's good enough, It's a niche market, blah blah.

I don't eat at McDonalds, I will pay more for a really good bottle of wine, I will pay more for good quality fresh produce. I would happily pay more for HD music just as I will pay more for HD video on iTunes over SD video.

There is most definately a market there. It may not appeal to the kids or 20 somethings with a crappy iPod speaker system in their bedroom but it would appeal to 40 somethings like me who have invested in a good quality hifi system and would like to move from CD to something more convenient and better quality like 24bit.
post #110 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

Yeah, right. (wink, wink). Anyone who knows the first thing about it knows that long before the CD was introduced, vinyl was lamented for several reasons, one of which was that you had to filter out practically all the bass before you could squeeze the signal into that little groove with undulating walls (and then vainly hope to restore a reasonable facsimile of the bass upon playback), and another of which was that even after filtering out almost all of the bass, you still could not record anywhere near the dynamic range of most symphonic music. It was generally necessary to compress the dynamic range as part of the signal processing that had to be applied before the signal could be placed in that little groove. That was the sad reality of vinyl, and still is, yet you claim that "CDs started the compression era". You've got it completely backwards. Dynamic range compression was one of the notable problems with vinyl that CDs sought to solve, and did. If you are talking about data compression, there is no data compression of CD unless the sound is recorded originally at a higher sampling rate and sample size. But even if so, that it itself is a bogus criticism for reasons that have been beaten to death and that are well understood by anyone who truly desires to understand such things.

I came from the tape, avoided vinyl when I could and now sacrifice with CD when SACD titles are not available or in my budget. I thought the range compromises with vinyl and the degredation made for bad tech so I avoided when I could. I did oversimplify my argument about CD being first mainly because most people think CDs aren't lossy. I'll still argue that removing information from the source material to save space is a form of compression whether it's sampling rate or bit depth. I'm not a vinylphile and overstated for the sake of the general audience.

Nice insult at the end though.

Edit: Damn - reading more of your posts and you like to not be polite. "Neil Young does not know one damned thing about anything." ??? I'm gonna check the forum rules to find where it states you have the exclusivity on hyperbole.
post #111 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

I'm worried Apple's leadership team will think that staying the course instead of trying to invent the next big thing will keep Apple afloat. It will in the short term, but if Apple is not actively trying to disrupt the future, someone else, perhaps people like Neil Young who were inspired by Steve Jobs, will. And that, in 20 years, may turn out to be Steve's real legacy.

Exactly.
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post #112 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

There's nothing to back up that statement. Starting with the fact that tech moves so slow that the stuff that Jobs started 2 years ago as an idea won't be seen for another 10 or so. Second, Jobs wasn't the only brain at Apple. Heck he might not have even been the biggest brain.

Nothing to back up my statement?

OK, then - you remember how Apple was handling everything back in the mid-90's before Jobs came onboard? No?

I rest my case.
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post #113 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

What else can you tell us, oh mighty visitor from the future?

Having a bad day, today?
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post #114 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

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

At a guess I would say about 1:35 it changes.

Also there is a noticeable difference in the vocals between the start and end, the music in that one is difficult as there is a lot of bass
post #115 of 139
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Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

But, your argument is specious.

Nope, but I'm afraid yours is sophistic.

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As for the headphones, I mostly listen through a pair of Sennheiser HD580. As for the particular Sennheiser headphones in the post to which you replied, that pair happens to be a DJ model and not one of their best. The closed back has the single advantage of noise isolation, to the detriment of sound quality. The air spring effect can be used to good effect if and only if the driver itself is over damped so as to avoid a high Q resonance. And even in that case, there will still be a cavity resonance, i.e., standing waves set up between the back side of the diaphragm and the wall in back. These are the reasons that Sennheiser's better headphones always have been open back and always will be open back.

Thanks, I'm sure I'd never heard of issues of acoustics & resonance before. Did you know room acoustics are subject to similar issues? :roll eyes: Or is your argument that the person talking about his Sennehisers can't hear the difference because they're 'not one of their best' and just DJ models? (Yet presumably better than the ear buds that come bundled with the phone/pod.)

Quote:
But as for your comments, the analogy to display resolution and bit depth and so on is always one that is easy to make. But it and of itself it does not prove anything at all. And the comparison with imaging is a bogus comparison for a fundamental reason. With any image, it is always potentially possible to display it on a display with greater pixel resolution, and for this reason there is always a potential advantage for using greater quantity of pixels in the image file. But bit depth is another matter. It translates into the amount of fine variation in brightness, hue, and saturation. There is inherently a limit to the ability of human vision to detect these differences. To keep it simple, consider the case of grey scale. Initially as you increase the bit depth, the brightness of the reproduced image gets closer and closer to the original, i.e., is neither whiter nor blacker than the original. But at a certain point, the human eye simply can no longer perceive the difference. Double the bit depth and scan and encode again, and you cannot tell any difference at all between that copy and the previous one, or between either and the original. Common sense tells you that eventually this will happen. It is not a question of whether it will happen. It is only a question of what the bit depth has to be, in order for this to happen. And once you have reached that point and are entirely certain that you have reached that point, there is absolutely no reason to increase the bit depth of the scan any further. It is the same with audio encoding, and even with perceptual encoding.

Ummm... yes, it was an analogy, not a proof. I find find pictures difficult to listen to. But as for your comments, you're essentially spending a lot of energy explaining that infinite resolution isn't needed because at some point we can't perceive it? No kidding?

Quote:
The question of whether perceptual encoding can be indistinguishable from the original is a moot question. The only question that is even worth considering is what amount of compression, given a specific encoding scheme, can be tolerated without introducing some artifact by which any listener would be able to hear any difference between that recording and the original. IF you are entirely certain that the bit rate that you have used is perfectly adequate such that no person could every detect any difference between that recording and a non-lossy recording with arbitrarily high quantization rate and word size, then there is no discernible reason to use a higher bit rate. Because, IF it is true that no one can hear then difference, THEN it is true that no one can hear the difference. The only meaningful, valid questions are what people can and cannot hear. To dismiss all perceptual coding techniques in the manner that manner people do is equivalent to asserting that it is not possible, using a perceptual coding technique, to make a recording that no person would be able to recognize as different from a master using arbitrarily high quantization rate and word size. It is manifestly ludicrous to suggest that this would be the case, yet this is precisely what people are in effect asserting when they criticize perceptual encoding categorically. It is logically preposterous.

"IF it is true that no one can hear the difference, THEN it is true that no one can hear the difference." Jesus, seriously? What a bit of pedantic tossing. To summarize: infinite resolution isn't needed and at some point people can't hear the difference between compressed and uncompressed. Astonishing.

The original argument was whether the lossy low-bit-rate encodings used for PMPs are so good that nobody can tell them from the high res audio that's out there. I've heard the difference, so I'm going to go with no, they're not that good. Unfortunately you haven't actually helped to resolve whether that's the case or where that point may be.

I want access to the higher res audio for home, while the lower bit rate on my phone is good enough for on the go. Apparently I shouldn't want the better sound because infinite resolution is too much? What!?!?
post #116 of 139
Epic discussion. Where did you guys come from? I'll have to take a few hours to read through this.
post #117 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.

i don't have a link to double blind test that you ask for. but 24/192 files smoke the 16/44 and the 256k files from anywhere hands down no question about it. My 256 k rips i make from 24/192 files also smoke the files from iTunes and they sound as good or better than the cd. They sound far superior on any piece of equipment I have listened to them on. iPod, iPhones, and either of them plugged into car stereo or through the apple tv/ home theatre. i am not just saying that to troll you. I am not an audiophile by any means, but I know what I hear when playing the hi-res files. The volumes you can reach with clarity is unprecedented. And every voice and instrument in these recordings are dripping wet with this clarity.
you don't have to have these hi-res files to enjoy music, but there are some albums and some musicians where you appreciate the higher format. Flaming Lips-yoshimi battles the pink robots is an awesome sonic experience in hi-res compared to its cd16/44 counterpart.
post #118 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

Given that he was an old hippie, it isn't all that surprising to me. The reason would have been partly that he no doubt had a huge collection of vinyl. But the fact that he listened to vinyl is no indication that he had any misgivings about the superiority of digital recording. It is exceedingly unlikely that he would have believed that vinyl recordings were inherently superior to digital recordings given a good encoding scheme and adequate bitrate.

I was on the thinking of, SJ is a true Audiophile, as any audiophile would know, no digital media, CD, DVD what so ever with tens of thousand worth of equipment would replace the sound of Vinyl.

It is also the reason we still keep using Tube Amps!.
post #119 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

Given that he was an old hippie, it isn't all that surprising to me. The reason would have been partly that he no doubt had a huge collection of vinyl. But the fact that he listened to vinyl is no indication that he had any misgivings about the superiority of digital recording. It is exceedingly unlikely that he would have believed that vinyl recordings were inherently superior to digital recordings given a good encoding scheme and adequate bitrate.


I was on the thinking of, SJ is a true Audiophile, as any audiophile would know, no digital media, CD, DVD what so ever with tens of thousand worth of equipment would replace the sound of Vinyl.

It is also the reason we still keep using Tube Amps!.
post #120 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

I was on the thinking of, SJ is a true Audiophile, as any audiophile would know, no digital media, CD, DVD what so ever with tens of thousand worth of equipment would replace the sound of Vinyl.

It is also the reason we still keep using Tube Amps!.

Everyone knows this story is rubbish. Steve Jobs got up on stage and said he got rid of his expensive audio equipment and only used the iPod hi-fi unit, so one of them is lying
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