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Apple Lossless format coming to iTMS? - Page 2

post #41 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by pyr3
I read that too, and was thinking, "WTF?!" Maybe in file size, but definitely not in audio quality. The best part is that it seems to imply that Apple's lossless format will have even better quality. What is wrong with this picture:

Apple Lossless > Apple Lossy > Uncompressed CD Audio


Heh! When jobs first introduced AAC and the iTunes store, he actually said that it was BETTER than a cd!.

I'l bet that some people actually believe it!

But, for most people 128 AAC is perfectly fine. On so so headphones, and computer speakers it IS perfectly fine. And that's what most people listen to it with.
post #42 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
You folks are being a little picky. In the scheme of things, 128 AAC certainly "rivals" CD quality. The term 'rival' is used to mean "close but not as good." The vast majority of people don't notice much difference or at least aren't bothered by it. I know a lot of people in music - I'm an amateur jazz musician - and I don't know a single one who gives a crap about the difference between 128 AAC and ALC or CD quality.

Sure, there's a difference, and anyone can hear it if they compare. But it's just not that big of a deal to most people, including, in my experience, people who have probably the most sophisticated knowledge and musical abilities of anyone in the world. The only people who seem to care are the self-professed "audiophiles."

Yup. Musicians are not the best people to ask about audio quality. They fill in what isn't there, because they are interested in the music and the performance.

Whenever I read an interview in Stereophile with a musician, composer, or conductor, they ask about their music system. The usual response is that their manager got them something, and it seems fine.

The best one was with, I think, Chet Atkins. His music system was a table radio that someone soldered a phono input to. He played his lp's through that (without phono equalization!!!). He also pluged his guitar into it. He thought it was a great "system"!
post #43 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by DeaPeaJay
Unless you have a really good HiFi system, I HIGHLY doubt you'd hear a difference in CD Quality and 128kbps AAC. I think that a lot of people THINK they hear a difference, but its all in their head. I certainly don't hear a difference, and I bet that most of you all that say you CAN hear a difference, if you were put to the test, you wouldn't be able to tell. Whoever said, "AAC is lousy" is totally ridiculous!!!!!!!

That's mostly true. It depends on the high frequency information. That's where the problems lie. If there is strong hi freq in the music, there will be a problem. If not, it may sound fine.

We did a test in my audio group a few years ago with mp3. When it got to 256k, no one could hear a difference.

I can hear a difference on my equipment, but not on all tracks. Still, I haven't bought any compressed music, and I don't intend to, even though my wife does. But, she only listens on her computer.

If Apple does sell lossless, and doesn't charge more, I will buy some.
post #44 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by DeaPeaJay
There was a show on television that dealt with the same thing. People that were obsessed with Gourmet food, only the best! Then their friends took them out to eat and they were served TV dinners on fancy plates, and they thought it was the greatest thing in the world, because they were TOLD it was the greatest thing in the world. Only one guy was able to tell, everyone else was fooled.

That, I find very hard to believe. My wife and I cook a lot, and there is no way that we could ever be fooled by tv dinners.
post #45 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by palegolas
1 minute of audio:
Uncompressed 16 bit 44 KHz stereo = 10,2 MB
Apple Lossless = 6,7 MB
AAC 128 kbit = 1 MB
AAC 256 kbit = 2 MB (ta taa)
AAC 512 kbit = 4 MB? (eh...)

I think the bottleneck of today's poor digital audio quality is the 16 bit 44 KHz. Offering downloads in CD quality will not create a revolution, it will just sound exactly like a damn CD, which is far from as good as it could be.

It would be much better to make a next generation compressed audio format based around a higher resolution audio. And make it possible for people with high quality needs to play back the songs in higher quality.. like 24 bit 96 KHz. A compressed format that could be based on AAC but offer up to 24 bit 96 KHz high quality sound. Playback quality could be scalable and in synch with the listener's audio card/equipment. On an iPod in battery savings mode it could play normal 16 bit 44KHz. On an iPod in "better audio quality mode" it could play 24 bit 44KHz... something like that.

I think the Apple Lossless format is just a preparation for a model where it'll be possible for Apple to introduce higher audio quality dynamically. The files will then be encrypted and compressed on the fly into AAC format.

There's no need for 24 96. That's far more a marketing move than anything in the real world. Going to 20 48 is all that's needed. Even that isn't sure.

There isn't any equipment on the market now, or will be in the forseeable future that can play 24 96. 24 bits is a dynamic range of 140db. 96 is a freq. range up to 45KHz. No electronics has a noise or dynamic range even close to that, and no speakers can reproduce hi freq close to that, even if we could hear it.
post #46 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by JayCr
It is I feel important to note that just because compression is used that does not mean that there is a reduction in quality if you're careful and put quality before file size. Most DVD's are a good example of this

As far as I know, there is no lossless codec for DVD-Video. They typically use AC-3, which is lossy.
post #47 of 96
There is a wider issue here. So far iTunes has been targetted at people who download songs to listen to on their iPod, because Apple wants to sell as many highly profitable iPods as possible. For these people CD quality sound is less important.

However, roll forward a few months and Apple hopefully launches the Mac Mini home entertainment server, targetted at people who listen to music at home. In this instance Apple is targetting people who probably have a decent HiFi system and want a sound quality the same as or better than CD quality. These people are more interested in sound quality and can notice the current difference.

Imagine it: Mac Mini HES + iTunes Lossless + Broadband + Decent HiFi/Speakers = No more trips to the record store
post #48 of 96
I understand the attraction of Apple Lossless I'm in the process of re-ripping my entire library at the moment,

But I don't understand the attraction of Apple Lossless on the iTunes Music Store it's going to take ten times longer to download, it's going to be DRM'd and Apple won't be able to charge a premium for it.

I can just pick up the CD for the same price as an AAC download the next time I'm in Tescos, use the Lossless codec and I won't have to worry about fannying around with the DRM.

I don't get it..?
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post #49 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
There's no need for 24 96. That's far more a marketing move than anything in the real world. Going to 20 48 is all that's needed. Even that isn't sure.

There isn't any equipment on the market now, or will be in the forseeable future that can play 24 96. 24 bits is a dynamic range of 140db. 96 is a freq. range up to 45KHz. No electronics has a noise or dynamic range even close to that, and no speakers can reproduce hi freq close to that, even if we could hear it.

Oops. This is crap I'm afraid. There is a very clear and audible difference between CD at 41/16 bit and audio at 24/48. There is also a clear, though not huge, difference between 24/48 and 24/96. Its not really to do with the theoretical bandwidth or dynamic range but transient timing and converter headroom.
Every session I work on now is recorded at at least 24/96.

All Hollywood orchestral sessions are recorded at 24/192.

The Apple move will allow producers in the future to encode their 24/96 masters to Apple Lossless providing iTunes tracks that EXCEED 'CD quality'
post #50 of 96
Oh, Apple only keep the delivery files on their servers; its up to the record companies and producers to keep their masters. Which is exactly how it should be. Any other arrangement has legal ramifications (eg. the Beatles case)
post #51 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by shetline
This is disappointing to hear -- not for the future, but for the past. I had hoped that Apple had been archiving everything in its collection losslessly all along from the start (not necessarily in Apple Lossless format per se), so that at any given time they could choose to take advantage of higher bit rates and/or improved codecs.

AFAIK Apple doesn't have all the music on their own servers.

Every single Danish piece of music is hosted by a Danish company that also has the music in WMA for the MS driven stores.

The music is stored in AAC, WMA and MP3.
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post #52 of 96
A couple of things.

As others have pointed out, Apple Lossless is just that. It is an exact reproduction of the audio on your CD. I re-ripped my entire catalog in Lossless and it made a huge difference.

Perhaps this is a way for the labels to charge a higher price, which they have been clamoring for. 99 cents for the AAC, and whatever for lossless.
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post #53 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by Shaun, UK
There is a wider issue here. So far iTunes has been targetted at people who download songs to listen to on their iPod, because Apple wants to sell as many highly profitable iPods as possible. For these people CD quality sound is less important.

However, roll forward a few months and Apple hopefully launches the Mac Mini home entertainment server, targetted at people who listen to music at home. In this instance Apple is targetting people who probably have a decent HiFi system and want a sound quality the same as or better than CD quality. These people are more interested in sound quality and can notice the current difference.

Imagine it: Mac Mini HES + iTunes Lossless + Broadband + Decent HiFi/Speakers = No more trips to the record store

Bingo! Match product to function. The low res TV shows and decent mp3's were always meant to be mobile formats. I don't know how much market research has been done one the percentage of people who just watch and listen on their desktops, but I bet there are more people doing it than Steve anticipated. Putting FrontRow on laptops means that lots of people use them as their media device ... I do. But it I could have a relatively inexpensive system/box that held all of my music lossless (with the dual role of being one more backup on my 100's of dollars of bought music), AND I could take it off and squeeze it into my iPod in AAC form, I could have my cake and eat it too. It seems that Apple with Airport Extreme has been perfecting the real time translation of files to different formats (scalable and efficient) that makes the whole thing transparent.

I assumed that the H264(?) format was to do this for all things video. In that way you could have hi res stuff on a box, by the TV, but also sync it with lower res for the laptop, video iPod or cellphone seemlessly during an iSync process.

The box becomes a media storage and delivery device, not necessarily the home server some people have anticipated.
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post #54 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by mrhatken
I don't think Apple is going to give us lossless (for the reason mentioned above - CD burning) and because it would not be in their best business interest.

They are going to charge more for higher encode rates as time goes by. It's how they can justify increasing the price etc.

Cheers,
Ashley.

That's the big question for me-- how much more for a lossless dl than 128KB?

If lossless goes for $2 a track for "premium" quality (and this doesn't seem impossible to me, given the the pricing of very low quality video at the iTMS, and the possibility of Apple wanting a "spread" for several bit rates) then that works out to about a $10 premium over CD.

Wouldn't that be a bitch? We get trained to accept inferior dl quality at a price point, and by the time we are "allowed" to get CD quality that's been around for the last 20 years we have to pay extra for exciting "new" fidelity.
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post #55 of 96
What I'd like to see, since Apple has a complete record of my purchase history, is an option to pay a small charge (say, something from 10-25 cents) to redownload higher bit rate versions of music that I've already purchased. I'd pay that even to upgrade to 192 kbps.
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post #56 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by Chucker
As far as I know, there is no lossless codec for DVD-Video. They typically use AC-3, which is lossy.

Your right, content encoded for DVD would not be considered lossless although because usually It's encoded so professionally, quality issues are usually minimal.
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post #57 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
Yup. Musicians are not the best people to ask about audio quality. They fill in what isn't there, because they are interested in the music and the performance.

Whenever I read an interview in Stereophile with a musician, composer, or conductor, they ask about their music system. The usual response is that their manager got them something, and it seems fine.

The best one was with, I think, Chet Atkins. His music system was a table radio that someone soldered a phono input to. He played his lp's through that (without phono equalization!!!). He also pluged his guitar into it. He thought it was a great "system"!

You must hang out with different musicians than I do.
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post #58 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by vinney57
Oops. This is crap I'm afraid. There is a very clear and audible difference between CD at 41/16 bit and audio at 24/48. There is also a clear, though not huge, difference between 24/48 and 24/96. Its not really to do with the theoretical bandwidth or dynamic range but transient timing and converter headroom.
Every session I work on now is recorded at at least 24/96.

All Hollywood orchestral sessions are recorded at 24/192.

The Apple move will allow producers in the future to encode their 24/96 masters to Apple Lossless providing iTunes tracks that EXCEED 'CD quality'

No, there isn't. What you don't appreciate, and what most people don't seem to be aware of, is that there is a long way between 44/16, and 96/24. What is being heard is the difference between 44/16 and 48/20. Past that there is no tangible benefit. But you don't know that, because you haven't been fortunate enough to have heard the various rates. There has been more than a bit of experimentation in the industry with this. And I agree with John Eargle that anything beyond 48/20 is a waste of resources. Also, most recordings that are supposedly 96/24 have been edited at 48/24, then brought back up to 96/24 for the pressings.

That's one reason why most of us with very expensive systems, even those of us involved in the industry (I designed speakers and electronics for my company, and worked on live recordings), find little of merit in either SACD and DVD Audio. Those products are very much hit or miss. Some sound slightly better, but many do not. Some even sound worse.

It seems that much of the difference is in the care lavished on the recording, mastering, and even the pressing. More so than the higher rates themselves.
post #59 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by blue2kdave
You must hang out with different musicians than I do.

Not really. Musicians like to think they can tell, but they are no better than anyone else, even worse.

Barbara Cook used to do advertisements for my company. A very lovely lady, and an excellent performer, but as a critical listener, no better than anyone else.

This is a pretty well known thing, also a bit of a joke in the indusrty.

There are two types of listeners.

The first type are what we call music lovers. Those listen through the equipment to the music.

Then we have the audio people. Those listen through the music to the equipment.

I try to put both hats on at different times. Musicians find it difficult to don the latter.
post #60 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
Not really. Musicians like to think they can tell, but they are no better than anyone else, even worse.

Barbara Cook used to do advertisements for my company. A very lovely lady, and an excellent performer, but as a critical listener, no better than anyone else.

This is a pretty well known thing, also a bit of a joke in the indusrty.

There are two types of listeners.

The first type are what we call music lovers. Those listen through the equipment to the music.

Then we have the audio people. Those listen through the music to the equipment.

I try to put both hats on at different times. Musicians find it difficult to don the latter.


I guess what I am saying is that you are painting a pretty broad stroke. In my experience, I am constantly amazed at often the average person gets things very wrong in audio. (a friend with a high end system was mortified when I pointed out that his system was set to mono). And I'm not sure what industry you're referring to, but Ad agency people were the absolute worst for hearing things from my perspective. But in general I am astonished at how terribly music can sound to people without them noticing. Biggest offender, distorted bass.

Without trying to brag, I am and hang with some serious musicians. I have been in studios across the country, and attended Berklee in Boston. In general, I would say that its not that musicians don't hear what you are talking about, but rather can hear "through" the imperfections of whatever sound system and hear what the music is about. I can't tell you how many times I have been with musicians who literally can tell you how to EQ a room just by standing in it for a minute. These are the kind of musicians I am talking about.
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post #61 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by blue2kdave
I guess what I am saying is that you are painting a pretty broad stroke. In my experience, I am constantly amazed at often the average person gets things very wrong in audio. (a friend with a high end system was mortified when I pointed out that his system was set to mono). And I'm not sure what industry you're referring to, but Ad agency people were the absolute worst for hearing things from my perspective. But in general I am astonished at how terribly music can sound to people without them noticing. Biggest offender, distorted bass.

Without trying to brag, I am and hang with some serious musicians. I have been in studios across the country, and attended Berklee in Boston. In general, I would say that its not that musicians don't hear what you are talking about, but rather can hear "through" the imperfections of whatever sound system and hear what the music is about. I can't tell you how many times I have been with musicians who literally can tell you how to EQ a room just by standing in it for a minute. These are the kind of musicians I am talking about.

I am painting a broad stroke. Obviously, I can't speak for everyone. But, I am talking about the audio and musical industries, which I know pretty well.

The hearing "through" was what I was saying. That was what I DID say. When they do that, something that they can't seem to help, they don't notice many things that others often do notice.

There have been a few musicians who, in my experience, can do that. But they have all been involved in engineering their own, and others sessions. Most others aren't even interested. They just want it to sound "right", often giving in to the producer.
post #62 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by Gene Clean
Laughable.

I'd like to meet someone that can consistently identifiy an AAC 256kbps from it's uncompressed counterpart...I'd also like to own a $5,000+ audio system which would be required to tell the difference!!
post #63 of 96
Quote:
As for what Apple owns, digital masters vs. lossless clones vs. lower bitrate copies of the music it sells, this is a big question. My assumption is that it does not own a lossless master of 2 million songs. What record label in their right mind would sell such a thing?!?!?

If I go to the store the record companies will gladly sell me a "lossless master" - a CD. No DRM at all. Why is it such a problem for them to do the same thing online. I could never figure that out.

Steve
post #64 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by Messiah
I understand the attraction of Apple Lossless I'm in the process of re-ripping my entire library at the moment,

But I don't understand the attraction of Apple Lossless on the iTunes Music Store it's going to take ten times longer to download, it's going to be DRM'd and Apple won't be able to charge a premium for it.

I can just pick up the CD for the same price as an AAC download the next time I'm in Tescos, use the Lossless codec and I won't have to worry about fannying around with the DRM.

I don't get it..?

I am a big fan of classical music, and the classical music CD market is dwindling. I see online downloading as the only chance for continued success. In other words, there will be no CD available for you to buy at Tescos, it will only be available online. DG is already releasing live concerts by the NY and Los Angeles Philharmonic this year on iTunes only.

Steve
post #65 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by demenas
If I go to the store the record companies will gladly sell me a "lossless master" - a CD. No DRM at all.

But often copy protection.
post #66 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by Chucker
But often copy protection.

Of the one thousand or so CDs I have purchased in the last year maybe one or two had (so-called) copy protection.

Steve
post #67 of 96
THOUSAND OR SO!!! :-O That's several a day!!! Dude you are seriously into music!!!!

Quote:
Originally posted by demenas
Of the one thousand or so CDs I have purchased in the last year maybe one or two had (so-called) copy protection.

Steve
post #68 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
There's no need for 24 96. That's far more a marketing move than anything in the real world. Going to 20 48 is all that's needed. Even that isn't sure.

There isn't any equipment on the market now, or will be in the forseeable future that can play 24 96. 24 bits is a dynamic range of 140db. 96 is a freq. range up to 45KHz. No electronics has a noise or dynamic range even close to that, and no speakers can reproduce hi freq close to that, even if we could hear it.

broad strokes indeed.... work in the industry indeed.....

never heard of Tannoy then? 1 mins searching gets this

//MAIN FEATURES
A fully time-aligned, 3-way active system utilising Dual Concentric plus SuperTweeter drive units, the Ellipse 10 has a frequency response extending to above 50kHz for monitoring of wideband programme material.//

from here Ellipse10

and as for the COUNTLESS reviews of pro audoi gear that boasts a Freq response ABOVE 20khz some exceeding 100Khz...

maybe you havent heard of those either.... indeed.

mind you the thread is full of misinformation so i suppose your no worse than the rest.... at last ive found a place to use the term FUD
post #69 of 96
Also, on the 24/96/192 thing, even though there is currently no good delivery mechanism, having that extra information is a boon to digital effects and mixing. That extra information makes for better summing and dithering.

The sound quality of the higher bit rate and resolution coming though studio monitors is obvious. And the age of digital audio is upon us, where one can download any audio file. There is no reason an digital optical out of a mac mini can't send a 24/96 signal, is there? All that would be needed is a good 24/96 D/A amp on the other end.
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post #70 of 96
off the top of my head Spdif optical could easily handle 24 bit 192Khz
post #71 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by Trendannoyer
broad strokes indeed.... work in the industry indeed.....

never heard of Tannoy then? 1 mins searching gets this

//MAIN FEATURES
A fully time-aligned, 3-way active system utilising Dual Concentric plus SuperTweeter drive units, the Ellipse 10 has a frequency response extending to above 50kHz for monitoring of wideband programme material.//

from here Ellipse10

and as for the COUNTLESS reviews of pro audoi gear that boasts a Freq response ABOVE 20khz some exceeding 100Khz...

maybe you havent heard of those either.... indeed.

mind you the thread is full of misinformation so i suppose your no worse than the rest.... at last ive found a place to use the term FUD

Indeed yourself.

Your understanding of this is not as great as you seem to think it is. This was my business for years. You can read my bio.

The Tannoy is a fine speaker, if a bit behind the times. But, I will guarantee you that it has little response above 25KHz that would be of any use. As one who has designed speakers, as well as the drivers that went into them, I can tell you that there are no speakers that can get to even 30KHz without beaming to a very tight cone, with high distortion, and a very downward slope, with extreme swings in response in that region due to resonance.

As far as other equipment goes, the electronics can have a bandwidth to 1MHz for the little it matters. Matching the output of one piece of equipment with the input of another will often end any possibility that any of that gets through, as do the cables themselves, due to capacitance. Impedance mismatches are severe at higher frequencies.

Look up the bandwidth of SACD and DVD A, and see what it is really all about.

The 24 bit dynamic range is, if anything, a more difficult mountain to climb. There is only one piece of equipment that is rated at a 140db dynamic range, and that is weighted, which is not the same thing at all. It likely doesn't meet its specs anyway, as that is higher than most of the sophisticated test instrumentation available, so there is not easy way to check.

140db is the equivalent of standing right under a 747 jet engine. If your system can reproduce that, you must live in a sports stadium.

Even the best equipment has a S/N of no more than about 120db, and that onlt pertains to the electronics. Even the most expensive SACD and DVD A players don't have a S/N of more than 110db. how they would ever reproduce a 140db signal, therefore, is beyond the laws of physics.

Again, go read some of the technical literature, not the ad copy disguising as a "white paper" that so many of these companies come out with.
post #72 of 96
you made a few VERY broad statments, and insulted musicians... should i take offence?

i called you on one of them.... should you take offence?


i think one thing we seem to agree on though is that 16/44.1 was chosen for a reason... its ENOUGH 24 bits would be a better increase, as its more about resolution.

48 only leaves you more room to squeeze the crap up into on the top end where it can only be heard by cats n dogs (Nyquist) which is a pro... but wasteful

i can pick out 22-24Khz i cant go near a neigbours house as they use an ultrasonic critter scarer... NOT fun! but my 19Khz has gone!

still, i get by


the thing i get titted off about this thread is that one guys an "audiophile" one a consumer one an audio engineer and one a muso.... all comming at the thing from their own bugbears.

audiophiles ... i really dont understand them... you want a REALLY good 'as the artist intended" experiance... get a pair of studio moitors otherwise your just a consumer like everyone else.

i thaan'you
post #73 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by s.metcalf
I'd like to meet someone that can consistently identifiy an AAC 256kbps

Nice to meet you. And it's AAC 128, not 256.
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post #74 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by Gene Clean
Nice to meet you. And it's AAC 128, not 256.

Are you sure you read his post right?

I think his point was that hardly anyone could possibly accurately and consistently distinguish 256 Kbit/s AAC from uncompressed audio.
post #75 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by Chucker
Are you sure you read his post right?

I think his point was that hardly anyone could possibly accurately and consistently distinguish 256 Kbit/s AAC from uncompressed audio.

Yes I did. I can consistently distinguish AAC from uncompressed audio when played back in the right equipment (which is what he was talking about).

He said he'd like to meet that person, and I said "Nice to meet you." implying that I'm that person, hence I'm returning the polite acknowledgement of meeting me (which he technically would have said if we ever met).

In any case, it was a little play of words.
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post #76 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by Trendannoyer
audiophiles ... i really dont understand them... you want a REALLY good 'as the artist intended" experiance... get a pair of studio moitors otherwise your just a consumer like everyone else.

I haven't been back in many years, but I used to read and post in the newsgroup rec.audio.opinion. You should have seen the amazing flame wars there, every bit if not more contentious than AppleOutsider/PoliticalOutsider threads here.

I'm pretty much always going to be on the "objectivist" side of any of these audio debates. I'm can be open to some interesting claims of what makes one thing sound better or worse than another, and I certainly believe some people do have better hearing and discriminatory power than I do -- but soooo much of what goes on in the audio work is complete BS, snake oil, the Emperor's New Clothes.

Without documented listening tests to the contrary, I sincerely doubt that many people can hear any difference at all between 16/44.1 audio and any of the higher rates. Oh, maybe are rare few actually can, but I doubt they're as common as the claims are, and I'd think it would probably require not only very good equipment, but an usually quiet listening environment to really hear, not merely imagine that you hear, a difference between 16 bits and 20 bits or more.

16 bits doesn't cover the entire dynamic range of human hearing. 20 bits (120 dB) will take you from the very threshold of hearing past the threshold of pain. I suppose under the right circumstances you might even be able to hear an entire 22-bit or more dynamic range, if by "hear" you mean experience with full appreciation everything from the quietest imaginable sound up through several distinct levels of pain. This said, is 16 bits "enough" under most circumstances?

Imagine that your volume is turned up loud enough that the loudest passages on a 16-bit CD are as loud as a chain saw held at arm's length -- about 100 dB (ref. 0 dB = 10^-12W). The quietest possible passage just above complete silence (4 dB) would be quieter than rustling leaves or a typical whisper, even quieter than normal human breathing.

Typical room noise in a "quiet" room is rated at 40 dB -- I don't know what the standard is for a quiet room, but I imagine that the standard accounts for things like refrigerators and ventilation and muffled street noises from a quiet neighborhood. So, if you're sitting in this kind of "quiet" room, and you've got your volume up to chain-saw level, the quietest passages of a CD will have quite of bit of competition from room noise. There's only 60 dB of dynamic range between sounds you can reliably hear over room noise, and that's at playback levels many people would find annoyingly loud. Turn down the volume some, and even more of that 16-bit range is lost to background room noise. 70 dB, still short of the full 96 db of a standard CD, covers the range from quiet room noise to the threshold of pain.

Another way to think about the issue is this: Imagine you're operating a chain saw. Someone standing next to you, but out of sight, whispers, or brushes a hand lightly over their clothing. Do you think you'll hear that? If you aren't actually aware of the particular sound, do you think the chain saw is going to sound subtly different to you because of the contribution of the other sound?

It's hard enough to hear the full dynamic range of a CD in when the loudest parts are put in stark contrast with the quietest possible details. When you think about a person listening to a song or a passage of music, playing along at more or less a constant typical listening level, and this person claiming that with all of this loud sound going on he can tune into and not only hear levels of details measured in the least significant of 16 bits, but describe in florid prose all of the wonderful qualities of music which are missing, which would take far finer levels of detail to satisfy -- well, how can you not be a bit skeptical about that sort of claim?

Of course, for many, skepticism doesn't matter. Technical explanations don't matter. They try X. They try Y. They think X sounds better than Y, and that's settles that because they know they heard the difference -- to suggest that the difference is imagined is absurd at best, and worse, possibly an insult.
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We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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post #77 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by Gene Clean
Yes I did. I can consistently distinguish AAC from uncompressed audio when played back in the right equipment (which is what he was talking about).

No, I still think you missed the point. You say you can consistently tell AAC from uncompressed, but your correction makes it sound like what you're saying is that you can consistenly distinguish 128 kbps AAC from uncompressed.

Yes, we all know that 128 AAC is the standard compression you get from iTMS. But you can rip your own CDs using AAC at 256 kbps. Now that's the question and the challenge -- can you consistently tell AAC at that higher rate from uncompressed audio?
We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
Reply
post #78 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by shetline
No, I still think you missed the point. You say you can consistently tell AAC from uncompressed, but your correction makes it sound like what you're saying is that you can consistenly distinguish 128 kbps AAC from uncompressed.


1. Article says Apple offers music (128kbps) that rivals that of uncompressed audio.
2. I say "That's laughable".
3. Guy walks in, quotes me, and says that he wants to meet anyone that can distinguish 256kbps from uncompressed audio

4. I said I can, but the claim was that 128kbps rivals uncompressed audio, not 256, and as he quoted me, he should have stayed with what I commented on, not a different AAC encoding.

I posted this in chronological order because it got very complicated.


Quote:
Yes, we all know that 128 AAC is the standard compression you get from iTMS. But you can rip your own CDs using AAC at 256 kbps. Now that's the question and the challenge -- can you consistently tell AAC at that higher rate from uncompressed audio?

With regular consumer equipment probably not, but given high-level stuff, I reckon I could. It'd be pretty hard though, as the human ear can pick-up only so much detail and after a certain amount of time, there's a point of diminishing returns..
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'L'enfer, c'est les autres' - JPS
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post #79 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by Trendannoyer
you made a few VERY broad statments, and insulted musicians... should i take offence?

i called you on one of them.... should you take offence?


i think one thing we seem to agree on though is that 16/44.1 was chosen for a reason... its ENOUGH 24 bits would be a better increase, as its more about resolution.

48 only leaves you more room to squeeze the crap up into on the top end where it can only be heard by cats n dogs (Nyquist) which is a pro... but wasteful

i can pick out 22-24Khz i cant go near a neigbours house as they use an ultrasonic critter scarer... NOT fun! but my 19Khz has gone!

still, i get by


the thing i get titted off about this thread is that one guys an "audiophile" one a consumer one an audio engineer and one a muso.... all comming at the thing from their own bugbears.

audiophiles ... i really dont understand them... you want a REALLY good 'as the artist intended" experiance... get a pair of studio moitors otherwise your just a consumer like everyone else.

i thaan'you

I didn't take offence on your thinking that you "called me" on something, but I was amused by your "Indeed" pronouncement.

You also missed the point of my earlier post. I'm not saying that going above 16/44 is of no value.

What I'm saying is that going to 24/96 (or above) is of no value.

Until you've heard demonstrations, properly carried out, of intermediate values, you can't say that making that drastic leap is the cause of any differences that you might hear.

There are many intermediate steps that have been judged. All the way from 18/44, on up. The consensus is that going above 20/48 makes no discernible difference.

So, it is most likely the fact that 24/96 is meeting the 20/48 level that is doing it.

Sony started recording in 24/96 so that editing digital recordings wouldn'y cause the bit cut-offs that were occuring with recording 16/44. Otherwise recordings havd to be converted to analog, edited, and then re-converted to digital. Not satisfactory.

One of the reasons why many of the first digital recordings sounded poor was because when editing with early digital equipment, individual tracks were losing bits as they were pushed in level during the editing process. That's why they would bring it analog.

By going 24/96, that problem didn't occur, as all the editing could be done in the 24 bit realm, and then brought to 16 bits afterwards.

They went to 96 for the same reason. IOt was felt that the noise and distortion from the editing process could be pushed to the inaudible portion of the range, which would then be eliminated when going to 44.1.

Some decided that this would be a great advertising campaign to release 24/96 bit recordings, and so SACD and DVDA were born.

But, as the extra quality proved too elusive, it lost any momentum it might have otherwise had. In fact, several recordings over the years that were dual released in 24/96 and 16/44 have been said to sound better in the 16/44 release.

A number of years ago, Stan Ricker, one of the best known recording engineers said that the difference between high end recordings that used gold vs aluminum, and later 24/96 vs 16/44 was the care that the high end pressings received as opposed to the standard ones, and that it wasn't due to the methods of pressing used. I would agree with that to a very great extend. Certainly towards gold pressings, but to 24/96 as well.
post #80 of 96
Quote:
Originally posted by shetline
I haven't been back in many years, but I used to read and post in the newsgroup rec.audio.opinion. You should have seen the amazing flame wars there, every bit if not more contentious than AppleOutsider/PoliticalOutsider threads here.

I'm pretty much always going to be on the "objectivist" side of any of these audio debates. I'm can be open to some interesting claims of what makes one thing sound better or worse than another, and I certainly believe some people do have better hearing and discriminatory power than I do -- but soooo much of what goes on in the audio work is complete BS, snake oil, the Emperor's New Clothes.

Without documented listening tests to the contrary, I sincerely doubt that many people can hear any difference at all between 16/44.1 audio and any of the higher rates. Oh, maybe are rare few actually can, but I doubt they're as common as the claims are, and I'd think it would probably require not only very good equipment, but an usually quiet listening environment to really hear, not merely imagine that you hear, a difference between 16 bits and 20 bits or more.

16 bits doesn't cover the entire dynamic range of human hearing. 20 bits (120 dB) will take you from the very threshold of hearing past the threshold of pain. I suppose under the right circumstances you might even be able to hear an entire 22-bit or more dynamic range, if by "hear" you mean experience with full appreciation everything from the quietest imaginable sound up through several distinct levels of pain. This said, is 16 bits "enough" under most circumstances?

Imagine that your volume is turned up loud enough that the loudest passages on a 16-bit CD are as loud as a chain saw held at arm's length -- about 100 dB (ref. 0 dB = 10^-12W). The quietest possible passage just above complete silence (4 dB) would be quieter than rustling leaves or a typical whisper, even quieter than normal human breathing.

Typical room noise in a "quiet" room is rated at 40 dB -- I don't know what the standard is for a quiet room, but I imagine that the standard accounts for things like refrigerators and ventilation and muffled street noises from a quiet neighborhood. So, if you're sitting in this kind of "quiet" room, and you've got your volume up to chain-saw level, the quietest passages of a CD will have quite of bit of competition from room noise. There's only 60 dB of dynamic range between sounds you can reliably hear over room noise, and that's at playback levels many people would find annoyingly loud. Turn down the volume some, and even more of that 16-bit range is lost to background room noise. 70 dB, still short of the full 96 db of a standerd CD, covers the range from quiet room noise to the threshold of pain.

Another way to think about the issue is this: Imagine you're operating a chain saw. Someone standing next to you, but out of sight, whispers, or brushes a hand lightly over their clothing. Do you think you'll hear that? If you aren't actually aware of the particular sound, do you think the chain saw is going to sound subtly different to you because of the contribution of the other sound?

It's hard enough to hear the full dynamic range of a CD in when the loudest parts are put in stark contrast with the quietest possible details. When you think about a person listening to a song or a passage of music, playing along at more or less a constant typical listening level, and this person claiming that with all of this loud sound going on he can tune into and not only hear levels of details measured in the least significant of 16 bits, but describe in florid prose all of the wonderful qualities of music which are missing, which would take far finer levels of detail to satisfy -- well, how can you not be a bit skeptical about that sort of claim?

Of course, for many, skepticism doesn't matter. Technical explanations don't matter. They try X. They try Y. They think X sounds better than Y, and that's settles that because they know they heard the difference -- to suggest that the difference is imagined is absurd at best, and worse, possibly an insult.

One of the things we say in the high end business is that ANY change you make in your system sounds better. Why? Because you want it to. High end audio is as much a sense of belonging to a special group, involving a great deal of physiology, as it is technical specs (actually, a great deal MORE that technical specs).

Some of the claims are absurd. I like to call many of the "white papers" I see, "phantom physics".
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