Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by Rob Lister » Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:07 pm

sparks wrote:Tin cans with string>AM radio>mp3/streaming>FM radio/good vinyl>CD>HD files.

Pretty much in that order of ascending quality. (I left out HD radio because the audio is squashed down to an mp3 for transmission and therefore sucks ass). Further, whoever does live streaming has control of the quality, but in the end, to prevent buffering, quality levels that suck ass must be used to avoid buffering interruptions. Eventually streaming will work. Just not now all that well.

But why not just pay for and download a nice 96 kHz-24 bit wav file and have a good one?
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by DrMatt » Thu Jul 16, 2015 10:10 pm

Alternatively, you could watch your kids follow the piper into the woods.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by gnome » Fri Jul 17, 2015 3:32 am

vinyl > mp3?

Does not depend on the bitrate?
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by Doctor X » Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:00 am

It depends on speed.

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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by sparks » Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:55 am

gnome wrote:vinyl > mp3?

Does not depend on the bitrate?
I maintain good vinyl is better than the best mp3, but at the higher mp3 bitrates, I could be wrong. Point is, mp3 was originally invented to save disc space. Disc space is now shamelessly cheap so why bother?
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by Rob Lister » Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:43 am

sparks wrote:
gnome wrote:vinyl > mp3?

Does not depend on the bitrate?
I maintain good vinyl is better than the best mp3, but at the higher mp3 bitrates, I could be wrong. Point is, mp3 was originally invented to save disc space. Disc space is now shamelessly cheap so why bother?
I agree but for me it makes no difference. If folks say FLAC with 24 bit depth and variable sample rate is superior, I can only take their word for it because I can't tell the difference; those youthful years as flight deck troubleshooter took their dastardly toll.

How about instead we start a Geriatric Music Service.

GMS: The music you've been missing

Consider
Image

When you sign up you take a 10 minute hearing test to create a loss profile. When music is delivered to you, either by stream or download, it is altered in such a way as to increase volume at specific frequencies exactly corresponding to your unique loss profile. Thus you'll enjoy your tailored stream just like you did as a teen.

Maybe we can get Neil on board, given his advancing years.

:)

Let's do this. We'll need an expert and the only one we know is JJ. We need Abdul to go apologize to him so he'll come back and help.

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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by ed » Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:54 am

If the hierarchy of quality is correct, isn't that really an elitist, white patriarchal construct that has zero to do with the delivered quality? If ones ears are fucked and ones speakers are shit them what earthly difference does it make? So Neil Young can be actualized? Come on.

I recall the bs about limes per mm for lenses. What are the lines per mm for photo paper? What difference does it make? Whos zooming who? Speak up dammit.

ETA the implication of this is that you can implement Rob's idea but NOT actually monky with the audio. No one will notice.

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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by gnome » Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:33 am

sparks wrote:
gnome wrote:vinyl > mp3?

Does not depend on the bitrate?
I maintain good vinyl is better than the best mp3, but at the higher mp3 bitrates, I could be wrong. Point is, mp3 was originally invented to save disc space. Disc space is now shamelessly cheap so why bother?
A question of balance... even a high bitrate mp3 is smaller than a FLAC. And disk space is cheap but not free, nor is it unlimited on things like mobile devices. I just have to be confident that the quality is probably a little better than I can distinguish.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by gnome » Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:35 am

Don't get me wrong, I can appreciate vinyl, but I don't think objective sound quality is the primary appeal.
"If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight! Sun Tzu said that, and I'd say he knows a little bit more about fighting than you do, pal, because he invented it, and then he perfected it so that no living man could best him in the ring of honor. Then, he used his fight money to buy two of every animal on earth, and then he herded them onto a boat, and then he beat the crap out of every single one. And from that day forward any time a bunch of animals are together in one place it's called a zoo! (Beat) Unless it's a farm!"
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by DrMatt » Fri Jul 17, 2015 8:04 pm

Mobile devices generally have ZERO disk space. A disk would be a liability.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by sparks » Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:40 pm

All right............'storage space'............but who's nit-picking? :)

And as far as the ultimate sound quality of vinyl, I only buy it when I can't find the release on CD and really really want it.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by ceptimus » Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:55 pm

FM broadcasts are usually stereo. They broadcast a Left + Right signal, and a Left - Right signal, which the receiver can then convert back into left and right channels. The reason they do it this way is that cheap FM radios with only one speaker only need to receive and play the Left + Right part.

To enable the two signals to be modulated onto the same carrier they are put through a filter that removes any frequencies above 15 kHz (and below 30 Hz) There is a 'pilot tone' at 19kHz with the L+R signal below and the L-R signal above.

Young kids can hear frequencies up to about 20kHz, so FM clips off some of the stuff they might hear. Us old fogies would never hear the difference.

In the UK there has been a publicity campaign to roll out DAB (digital audio broadcasting). They tell everyone about the 'improved sound quality' that DAB can offer. This is complete bollocks. The DAB format might be able to beat FM in theory, but the broadcasters choose to cram lots of stations into the available bandwidth rather than use the bandwidth to provide fewer higher quality channels. The result is that all the radio stations are worse quality on DAB than on FM - and sometimes very much worse.

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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by sparks » Sat Jul 18, 2015 5:02 am

gnome wrote:IIRC, mp3 format is "lossy" but should you choose, you can create one with more fidelity than human ears can hear if you don't mind a larger file.

Personally (and it was old jj that got me on it) I think recording-end volume compression does more damage to sound quality than anything else.
It could be argued that recording-end buggery was part of what the artist intended and as such is not damage. Post recording compression however, as in radio and streaming processing is fucking with the artists intent and cannot be considered anything but damage.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by sparks » Sat Jul 18, 2015 5:10 am

ceptimus wrote:FM broadcasts are usually stereo. They broadcast a Left + Right signal, and a Left - Right signal, which the receiver can then convert back into left and right channels. The reason they do it this way is that cheap FM radios with only one speaker only need to receive and play the Left + Right part.

To enable the two signals to be modulated onto the same carrier they are put through a filter that removes any frequencies above 15 kHz (and below 30 Hz) There is a 'pilot tone' at 19kHz with the L+R signal below and the L-R signal above.

Young kids can hear frequencies up to about 20kHz, so FM clips off some of the stuff they might hear. Us old fogies would never hear the difference.

In the UK there has been a publicity campaign to roll out DAB (digital audio broadcasting). They tell everyone about the 'improved sound quality' that DAB can offer. This is complete bollocks. The DAB format might be able to beat FM in theory, but the broadcasters choose to cram lots of stations into the available bandwidth rather than use the bandwidth to provide fewer higher quality channels. The result is that all the radio stations are worse quality on DAB than on FM - and sometimes very much worse.
Agreed on all points but one: The reason for the MPX or multiplex stereo signal broadcast on FM is that mono came first and the stereo multiplex signal is a way to keep compatibility with mono receivers. Further, it takes considerable more signal strength to fully quiet a receiver in stereo mode. That is to say, when the received signal strength falls below a certain stereo acceptable threshold, stereo receivers can switch to mono mode and continue to receive and demodulate the station with an acceptable?? amount of noise in the audio output.

This low signal strength noise shows up in the high end of the audio spectrum first and most noticeably. Back in the day, hi-end FM stereo receivers touted what was called 'hi-blend' which was an attempt to mix the high end audio components together into mono long before making a hard switch to mono demodulation. It was a stupid attempt to keep that little red light on longer while also providing a decent end audio product as opposed to the competition which did not have 'hi-blend' capability.

Cheers,
sparks

ETA: One quick question as I have so little interest in my chosen profession these days to be bothered to look it up--DAB in your country ceptimus, is it the on-channel variety found (sadly lacking) here in the USofA or is DAB proposed to use a separate band with the subsequent death to all analog broadcasts after the switch?
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by ceptimus » Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:33 am

DAB in the UK is broadcast in designated DAB-only sections of the spectrum between 174MHz and 229MHz (FM radio here is from about 87MHz to 108MHz).

Because DAB was rolled out here earlier than in other countries, we are stuck with a primitive form (MP2 audio codec) and most stations only run a bit rate of 128kbits/s. Some stations choose to use their available bandwidth for mono transmission rather than lower quality stereo. Other countries use so-called DAB+ but after early adopters were encouraged to buy initially very expensive DAB-only sets, there is reluctance now to switch to a better system even though most of the sets available now are firmware upgradable (and of course much cheaper).

The UK government has threatened to shut down analogue radio broadcasts, including FM, a few times - at one time this was promised to happen in 2015. Presumably they would then auction off the unused spectrum to the highest bidder. But of course it's not happened and it's an empty threat for the moment - although most households now have at least one DAB radio receiver, hardly any cars, even new ones selling today, have DAB-capable radios.

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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by Rob Lister » Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:21 am

ceptimus wrote:In the UK there has been a publicity campaign to roll out DAB (digital audio broadcasting). They tell everyone about the 'improved sound quality' that DAB can offer. This is complete bollocks. The DAB format might be able to beat FM in theory, but the broadcasters choose to cram lots of stations into the available bandwidth rather than use the bandwidth to provide fewer higher quality channels. The result is that all the radio stations are worse quality on DAB than on FM - and sometimes very much worse.
I did not know that. Why would the government allow that level of division? Then it dawned on me that the recording industry is far better served by 200 stations transmitting crappy renditions than 100 transmitting essentially perfect renditions.
1) Artists get more royalties (same royalty for half the listeners),
2) the transmitted copy is not really suitable for pirating (crappy bitrate), and
3) listeners are incentivized into buying the album (a 'pure' copy).

Here's a link that demonstrates all the various standard protocols and bitrates.
http://a-bc.co.uk/audio/DABv2.wav
it's 128MB. I can hear the difference in some of them. 12kbits stereo was a hoot. It was worse than "AM Radio at night with fading and interference"

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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by DrMatt » Sat Jul 18, 2015 1:48 pm

:CanoWorms2: If we socialize music, all the motivation for crappiness will shift. We'll be innundated with the same crappy music via the same crappy technologies for different crappy reasons.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by gnome » Sat Jul 18, 2015 2:31 pm

sparks wrote:
gnome wrote:IIRC, mp3 format is "lossy" but should you choose, you can create one with more fidelity than human ears can hear if you don't mind a larger file.

Personally (and it was old jj that got me on it) I think recording-end volume compression does more damage to sound quality than anything else.
It could be argued that recording-end buggery was part of what the artist intended and as such is not damage. Post recording compression however, as in radio and streaming processing is fucking with the artists intent and cannot be considered anything but damage.
I accept this correction as closer to what I meant. Point of origin processing instead of done at the player level for the environment.
"If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight! Sun Tzu said that, and I'd say he knows a little bit more about fighting than you do, pal, because he invented it, and then he perfected it so that no living man could best him in the ring of honor. Then, he used his fight money to buy two of every animal on earth, and then he herded them onto a boat, and then he beat the crap out of every single one. And from that day forward any time a bunch of animals are together in one place it's called a zoo! (Beat) Unless it's a farm!"
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by Anaxagoras » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:13 pm

ed wrote:If the hierarchy of quality is correct, isn't that really an elitist, white patriarchal construct that has zero to do with the delivered quality? If ones ears are fucked and ones speakers are shit them what earthly difference does it make? So Neil Young can be actualized? Come on.

I recall the bs about limes per mm for lenses. What are the lines per mm for photo paper? What difference does it make? Whos zooming who? Speak up dammit.

ETA the implication of this is that you can implement Rob's idea but NOT actually monky with the audio. No one will notice.

A nod, my friends, is as good as a wink to a blind horse. That is the essence of marketing. I give it to you free gratis.

I was looking at the new 4K TVs in the store the other day. They've come down in price a lot in the last year or so, BTW.
These have even more pixels than the old "Full High Definition" (1080p) that was the top of the line 4 or 5 years ago. It's about 8 million pixels for the 4K resolution compared to about 2 million for 1080p. If you put your face a foot away from the screen you can sort of see that, yeah the detail is even finer than for HDTV, which itself was a huge improvement over what we used to have in the old CRT TVs.

But really, though, are you going to notice it when you are sitting on your couch 8 feet or so away from it? Probably not. You get used to it and stop noticing the difference after a while. I think it's kind of the same thing here. You do notice if you see the lower quality again (which used to seem fine) after you become accustomed to the higher one (although I don't know if that's true with 4K vs 1080p). (And of course you can only see the difference if you are getting a broadcast signal in 4K.)

I guess that's just how it goes: what was once state-of-the-art becomes inferior eventually.
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
William Shakespeare

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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by sparks » Sun Jul 19, 2015 9:47 pm

Nature of the beast.

ceptimus: Thanks for the info on DAB in the UK. I believe you have a better system than we do. Since you have a new band of frequencies you at least have the option in the future of true HD. Here in the states the digital signal is on (the original) frequency and receivers can switch to the analog signal if the digital signal grows to weak to demodulate. Bitrates range from 128k to 512k, but no higher. Our 'system' even allows for more than one digital bit stream, but doing so will compromise quality, and HD1 is always a simulcast of the analog program material. But hey, it's a fucking mp3 so why would I want to tune in? One of the more dipshit things that can be done here in the states is to produce and broadcast an HD2 signal, and then turn around and put that up on a standard analog FM translator.
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