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Old Recording Made with Electret Condenser Mics Sounds Nea..

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Anonymous
January 28, 2005 1:27:08 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I dug out an old Betamax tape I made in 1986 of a 5-piece jazz ensemble
performing at a night club, just to refresh my memory of what I had in my
collection of old tapes. I found the experience downright disturbing. Why?
Because it sounds so darned GOOD. It has no right to sound good. It was made
with electret condenser mics made around 1982, feeding a Radio Shack mixer,
driving a Radio Shack model 22 Beta Hi-Fi VCR. I used a Quasar professional
series Newvicon video camera for the visual portion of the recording, which
looks simply awful by today's standards. But the sound... I could not
believe it.
I have some state-of-the-art digital recordings I bought on CD that were
made in 2003 and they don't sound that much better. In fact, a lot of my
newer recordings have a blanket of hiss in the background. This old
recording only suffered from VCR-related problems: tape dropouts and a 30hz
purring sound caused by the vertical scan rate of the helical recording
heads. Aside from that, the transient response, the s/n ratio on the high
end and the smoothness of the frequency spectrum was an unexpected delight.
The drums were rousing, very stunning with no dynamic compression. The saxes
sounded like they were right in the room and the standup bass had a
beautiful detailed clarity and a nice full-bodied bass that didn't boom. The
piano sounded smooth with no overhanging notes. And during set breaks, I
heard no hiss in this relatively quiet venue.
So if my best digital recording of a jazz ensemble is a 10, this recording
easily comes in at a 7.5 or better.
The think that irks me, is that, with today's digital technology, why are we
still getting CDs with very audible hiss on them, when a pair of electrets
driving an old RS mixer can produce a recording that is much quieter to the
point where any hiss is masked by the ambient noise? What kind of signal
routing and planning can cause state of the art recording facilities to turn
out such a noisy recording?
Now that I have much better recording equipment today, fully digital, I am
dying to engage another ensemble recording and see how much better I can do
than I did in 1986 with the Betamax VCR.
But I still can't believe how enjoyable and natural the sound of that old
recording is!

--
Take care,

Mark & Mary Ann Weiss

VIDEO PRODUCTION . FILM SCANNING . DVD MASTERING . AUDIO RESTORATION
Hear my Kurzweil Creations at: http://www.dv-clips.com/theater.htm
Business sites at:
www.dv-clips.com
www.mwcomms.com
www.adventuresinanimemusic.com
-
Anonymous
January 28, 2005 1:27:09 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

You've given evidence for something that I really wish more people
would realize: if you can put a good enough pair of microphones in a
good place in front of a good performance, you'll very likely get a
good recording. All that the recorder has to do is not ruin it.

I'm not saying that it makes _no_ difference what medium or recorder
you use--but just as you've found, a less-than-ideal choice can
sometimes be a very good choice for a given situation.

So thanks for posting your story. It also shows that an invisible
component (the engineer's good sense) is the most important item of
equipment for any recording.

--best regards
Anonymous
January 28, 2005 1:27:09 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <0soKd.9$Ix.0@newsread3.news.atl.earthlink.net> mweissX294@earthlink.net writes:

> I dug out an old Betamax tape I made in 1986 of a 5-piece jazz ensemble
> performing at a night club, just to refresh my memory of what I had in my
> collection of old tapes. I found the experience downright disturbing. Why?
> Because it sounds so darned GOOD.

Isn't that a pisser! I have lots of recordings made in the '80's and
earlier that sound very good even by today's standards. But do they
really? Can you hear the pick noise on the guitar? Can you hear that
little breath that conveys so much emotion on the lead vocal? Do you
hear the smooth, clear decay of the cymbal? No, you just hear some
good musicians all playing together, having a good time, playing
material that's so comfortable that they can loosen up and not worry
about whether they'll make it through the take.

> The think that irks me, is that, with today's digital technology, why are we
> still getting CDs with very audible hiss on them, when a pair of electrets
> driving an old RS mixer can produce a recording that is much quieter to the
> point where any hiss is masked by the ambient noise?

We tend to get obsessed with noise. We eliminate as much ambient noise
as we can, so we can hear the system noise, then we eliminate this,
and then we can hear the ambient noise. Recording in a night club can
hide a lot of system sins. So can recording on analog tape where
things can decay smoothly into tape hiss (kind of like acoustic
dither).

> What kind of signal
> routing and planning can cause state of the art recording facilities to turn
> out such a noisy recording?

The original studio recording is probably dead quiet. It's pushing up
the ambient noise 20 dB in the process of squashing the dynamic range
(by 20 dB or more) in mastering that some of that stuff starts to
emerge from the tar pits. We're told that's what the listeners want.
The mastering engineers are told that's what the labels want. And the
labels tell us that they're only giving us what we want. Go figure.

Go make some good recordings that you and your friends can enjoy.



--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
January 30, 2005 12:25:37 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<but what IĀ­ find disturbing most in this day and age is that $100K
and better studio facĀ­ilities are putting out recordings with very
audible hiss.>

You are disturbed by it because you are a mastering engineer. Otherwise
you would be listening to the music and not notice the hiss. :) 

Mike
Anonymous
January 30, 2005 4:06:18 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"David Satz" <DSatz@msn.com> wrote in message
news:1106919814.866588.21140@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
> You've given evidence for something that I really wish more people
> would realize: if you can put a good enough pair of microphones in a
> good place in front of a good performance, you'll very likely get a
> good recording. All that the recorder has to do is not ruin it.
>
> I'm not saying that it makes _no_ difference what medium or recorder
> you use--but just as you've found, a less-than-ideal choice can
> sometimes be a very good choice for a given situation.
>
> So thanks for posting your story. It also shows that an invisible
> component (the engineer's good sense) is the most important item of
> equipment for any recording.
>
> --best regards


I'm sure there is (obviously) some truth to this, but what I find disturbing
most in this day and age is that $100K and better studio facilities are
putting out recordings with very audible hiss. Some newer CDs have one
broadband compressor and you can hear it pumping so it sounds like an FM
broadcast, not a CD.
But with the $3000 mics, $100K consoles, $2500 mic preamps and digital I/O
throughout, you would think hiss would be completely banished.
This recording probably sounds good because I happened to set an optimal
recording level, making the best use of the availabe 45dB s/n ratio of the
electret mics (which probably perform a lot better than their spec quotes).
When I compare these old mics with my modern new large-diaphragm condenser
mics, there is no comparison in hiss levels at all. The difference in
sensitivity alone will account for an improvement just on the mic pre not
having to provide the extra 21dB of gain.
I think that the other factor is that the band didn't utilize an extreme
bandwidth from low to high. All that was needed was flat response from 50hz
to 15kc to convey the music, since there were no bass notes below 50hz and
most people can't hear anything above 15kc anyway, unless they are under 50
years of age. :-)
I am theorizing that the program material didn't expose the weaknesses of
the system.
Had it been an organ that I recorded, I might have noticed a loss of low
bass, for instance.
But the lack of hiss really amazes me. All I hear is the 30 hz vertical
framing noise from the video heads between sets. The venue was VERY
quiet--only a few people at some tables far back from the band and behind
cardioid mics.
I'm going to capture this and put it on a DVD-R so that it is easier to
watch.


--
Take care,

Mark & Mary Ann Weiss

VIDEO PRODUCTION . FILM SCANNING . DVD MASTERING . AUDIO RESTORATION
Hear my Kurzweil Creations at: http://www.dv-clips.com/theater.htm
Business sites at:
www.dv-clips.com
www.mwcomms.com
www.adventuresinanimemusic.com
-
Anonymous
January 30, 2005 4:06:19 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

And maybe it helps to show that some of us may overstate the importance of
very expensive or "state of the art" mics. The difference between a good mic
and a better (or different) one may be quite minor, often negligible after
mixing and mastering.

It ain't the brush; it's the artist.

"Uncle Russ" Reinberg

WESTLAKE PUBLISHING COMPANY
www.finescalerr.com
WESTLAKE RECORDS
www.westlakerecords.com

"Mark & Mary Ann Weiss" <mweissX294@earthlink.net> wrote in message
news:eqWKd.3188$Ix.400@newsread3.news.atl.earthlink.net...
>
> "David Satz" <DSatz@msn.com> wrote in message
> news:1106919814.866588.21140@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
>> You've given evidence for something that I really wish more people
>> would realize: if you can put a good enough pair of microphones in a
>> good place in front of a good performance, you'll very likely get a
>> good recording. All that the recorder has to do is not ruin it.
>>
>> I'm not saying that it makes _no_ difference what medium or recorder
>> you use--but just as you've found, a less-than-ideal choice can
>> sometimes be a very good choice for a given situation.
>>
>> So thanks for posting your story. It also shows that an invisible
>> component (the engineer's good sense) is the most important item of
>> equipment for any recording.
>>
>> --best regards
>
>
> I'm sure there is (obviously) some truth to this, but what I find
> disturbing
> most in this day and age is that $100K and better studio facilities are
> putting out recordings with very audible hiss. Some newer CDs have one
> broadband compressor and you can hear it pumping so it sounds like an FM
> broadcast, not a CD.
> But with the $3000 mics, $100K consoles, $2500 mic preamps and digital I/O
> throughout, you would think hiss would be completely banished.
> This recording probably sounds good because I happened to set an optimal
> recording level, making the best use of the availabe 45dB s/n ratio of the
> electret mics (which probably perform a lot better than their spec
> quotes).
> When I compare these old mics with my modern new large-diaphragm condenser
> mics, there is no comparison in hiss levels at all. The difference in
> sensitivity alone will account for an improvement just on the mic pre not
> having to provide the extra 21dB of gain.
> I think that the other factor is that the band didn't utilize an extreme
> bandwidth from low to high. All that was needed was flat response from
> 50hz
> to 15kc to convey the music, since there were no bass notes below 50hz and
> most people can't hear anything above 15kc anyway, unless they are under
> 50
> years of age. :-)
> I am theorizing that the program material didn't expose the weaknesses of
> the system.
> Had it been an organ that I recorded, I might have noticed a loss of low
> bass, for instance.
> But the lack of hiss really amazes me. All I hear is the 30 hz vertical
> framing noise from the video heads between sets. The venue was VERY
> quiet--only a few people at some tables far back from the band and behind
> cardioid mics.
> I'm going to capture this and put it on a DVD-R so that it is easier to
> watch.
>
>
> --
> Take care,
>
> Mark & Mary Ann Weiss
>
> VIDEO PRODUCTION . FILM SCANNING . DVD MASTERING . AUDIO RESTORATION
> Hear my Kurzweil Creations at: http://www.dv-clips.com/theater.htm
> Business sites at:
> www.dv-clips.com
> www.mwcomms.com
> www.adventuresinanimemusic.com
> -
>
>
>
Anonymous
January 30, 2005 2:27:48 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <eqWKd.3188$Ix.400@newsread3.news.atl.earthlink.net> mweissX294@earthlink.net writes:

> I'm sure there is (obviously) some truth to this, but what I find disturbing
> most in this day and age is that $100K and better studio facilities are
> putting out recordings with very audible hiss. Some newer CDs have one
> broadband compressor and you can hear it pumping so it sounds like an FM
> broadcast, not a CD.

Hiss has never really bothered people, and it's sometimes
intentionally used as an effect. Compression makes the music
sound louder, and pumping makes it sound more exciting (those are
"normal" falues, not "recording engineer" values). Compression
accentuates hiss.

You're not criticizing modern studios, you're criticizing modern
production techniques. There's no accounting for taste. Just stop
buying modern recordings.


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
January 30, 2005 9:37:35 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On 30 Jan 2005 11:27:48 -0500, mrivers@d-and-d.com (Mike Rivers)
wrote:

>
>In article <eqWKd.3188$Ix.400@newsread3.news.atl.earthlink.net> mweissX294@earthlink.net writes:
>
>> I'm sure there is (obviously) some truth to this, but what I find disturbing
>> most in this day and age is that $100K and better studio facilities are
>> putting out recordings with very audible hiss. Some newer CDs have one
>> broadband compressor and you can hear it pumping so it sounds like an FM
>> broadcast, not a CD.
>
>Hiss has never really bothered people, and it's sometimes
>intentionally used as an effect. Compression makes the music
>sound louder, and pumping makes it sound more exciting (those are
>"normal" falues, not "recording engineer" values). Compression
>accentuates hiss.
>
For me it doesn't make things more exciting - it makes me seasick and
I loathe it. It is also the lazy man's copout from good mixing.

>You're not criticizing modern studios, you're criticizing modern
>production techniques. There's no accounting for taste. Just stop
>buying modern recordings.

You mean he has taste. Don't knock faithful recording - try it some
time. You might even learn to appreciate it. (OK, it sounds like you
won't, but it was worth a try).

Oh, and just for the record, hiss bothers me hugely. Rehearse, set
levels properly, learn to understand the signal chain and the right
way to set various stage gains and hiss will not be a problem.

d

Pearce Consulting
http://www.pearce.uk.com
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 8:17:03 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> >
> >Hiss has never really bothered people, and it's sometimes
> >intentionally used as an effect. Compression makes the music
> >sound louder, and pumping makes it sound more exciting (those are
> >"normal" falues, not "recording engineer" values). Compression
> >accentuates hiss.
> >
> For me it doesn't make things more exciting - it makes me seasick and
> I loathe it. It is also the lazy man's copout from good mixing.

Exactly! Compression is for radio broadcasting. It should not be used on
modern recordings as a whole composite. I can see a little bit of
compression to smooth out an electric bass to make bad playing more
consistent, but on percussion, it ruins the stunning and stirring dynamics
that make live music a pleasure to hear--and feel.
I have this recent recording of a band that is phenomenal, playing some
great music. I wish I could obtain the master tapes and remaster the CD for
myself though--the engineer(s) in their great wisdom, put a broadband
compressor on the output of the mix! The bass was pumping the rest of the
program and it sounded sickening!


> >You're not criticizing modern studios, you're criticizing modern
> >production techniques. There's no accounting for taste. Just stop
> >buying modern recordings.
>
> You mean he has taste. Don't knock faithful recording - try it some
> time. You might even learn to appreciate it. (OK, it sounds like you
> won't, but it was worth a try).

I call it "natural recording" --the technique of using just two microphones
(do I hear Bob Fine of Mercury, who did this in '58?) for a modern version
of Mercury's "Living Presence" miking technique. My idea? Use a pair of
cardioid mics with the flattest response possible. Go into the quietest mic
preamp you can afford, sample at the highest bit depth and frequency
possible, and set the mics up in O.R.T.F. pattern at the front center row of
the audience, or just in front of the stage. It's a simple, old-fashioned
concept that is lost on engineers today who believe 'it's not a real
recording session unless you've got 40 mics on the stage'. Ba-loney!



> Oh, and just for the record, hiss bothers me hugely. Rehearse, set
> levels properly, learn to understand the signal chain and the right
> way to set various stage gains and hiss will not be a problem.
>
> d

And I simply cannot believe hiss exists today, but it's there. But oddly
enough, with my mic setup, I can't find a space quiet enough to hear the
hiss, no matter WHAT the levels. When the mic output is -37dB and the mic
pre has a -114dB minimum noise floor, one would have to work really hard to
create hiss. I suspect there is still analog tape in use in some studios
even today, or some really noisy mixing desks that have untamed digital hash
running around the busses.


--
Best Regards,

Mark A. Weiss, P.E.
www.mwcomms.com
-
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 11:28:14 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On Tue, 01 Feb 2005 05:17:03 GMT, "Mark & Mary Ann Weiss"
<mweissX294@earthlink.net> wrote:

>
>> >
>> >Hiss has never really bothered people, and it's sometimes
>> >intentionally used as an effect. Compression makes the music
>> >sound louder, and pumping makes it sound more exciting (those are
>> >"normal" falues, not "recording engineer" values). Compression
>> >accentuates hiss.
>> >
>> For me it doesn't make things more exciting - it makes me seasick and
>> I loathe it. It is also the lazy man's copout from good mixing.
>
>Exactly! Compression is for radio broadcasting. It should not be used on
>modern recordings as a whole composite. I can see a little bit of
>compression to smooth out an electric bass to make bad playing more
>consistent, but on percussion, it ruins the stunning and stirring dynamics
>that make live music a pleasure to hear--and feel.
>I have this recent recording of a band that is phenomenal, playing some
>great music. I wish I could obtain the master tapes and remaster the CD for
>myself though--the engineer(s) in their great wisdom, put a broadband
>compressor on the output of the mix! The bass was pumping the rest of the
>program and it sounded sickening!
>
>
>> >You're not criticizing modern studios, you're criticizing modern
>> >production techniques. There's no accounting for taste. Just stop
>> >buying modern recordings.
>>
>> You mean he has taste. Don't knock faithful recording - try it some
>> time. You might even learn to appreciate it. (OK, it sounds like you
>> won't, but it was worth a try).
>
>I call it "natural recording" --the technique of using just two microphones
>(do I hear Bob Fine of Mercury, who did this in '58?) for a modern version
>of Mercury's "Living Presence" miking technique. My idea? Use a pair of
>cardioid mics with the flattest response possible. Go into the quietest mic
>preamp you can afford, sample at the highest bit depth and frequency
>possible, and set the mics up in O.R.T.F. pattern at the front center row of
>the audience, or just in front of the stage. It's a simple, old-fashioned
>concept that is lost on engineers today who believe 'it's not a real
>recording session unless you've got 40 mics on the stage'. Ba-loney!
>
>
>
>> Oh, and just for the record, hiss bothers me hugely. Rehearse, set
>> levels properly, learn to understand the signal chain and the right
>> way to set various stage gains and hiss will not be a problem.
>>
>> d
>
>And I simply cannot believe hiss exists today, but it's there. But oddly
>enough, with my mic setup, I can't find a space quiet enough to hear the
>hiss, no matter WHAT the levels. When the mic output is -37dB and the mic
>pre has a -114dB minimum noise floor, one would have to work really hard to
>create hiss. I suspect there is still analog tape in use in some studios
>even today, or some really noisy mixing desks that have untamed digital hash
>running around the busses.

I wonder if the low hiss levels of the old recordings was due to the
very simple signal path, which was really quite difficult to mess up.
Maybe modern desks are just too complex for the average recording
engineer to understand beyond the "this button does this" level.

The problem, I guess, is that they have taken the epithet "engineer"
to themselves without the slightest justification, in many cases.

d

Pearce Consulting
http://www.pearce.uk.com
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 11:39:05 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Mark & Mary Ann Weiss" <mweissX294@earthlink.net> wrote in
news:jhELd.4753$S3.479@newsread2.news.atl.earthlink.net:

> Exactly! Compression is for radio broadcasting. It should not be used
> on modern recordings as a whole composite. I can see a little bit of
> compression to smooth out an electric bass to make bad playing more
> consistent, but on percussion, it ruins the stunning and stirring
> dynamics that make live music a pleasure to hear--and feel.
> I have this recent recording of a band that is phenomenal, playing
> some great music. I wish I could obtain the master tapes and remaster
> the CD for myself though--the engineer(s) in their great wisdom, put a
> broadband compressor on the output of the mix! The bass was pumping
> the rest of the program and it sounded sickening!

As a classical guy, I avoid compression 99% of the time. I have found,
however, when recording a rock band with heavily distorted guitars, that
just about everything (except perhaps percussion) also needs a heavy dose
of compression. The gritty guitar sound is achieved by overloading a gain
stage (or two) which acts to massively compress the levels. Other more
dynamic instruments get buried unless they, too, get compressed.
Anonymous
February 2, 2005 10:55:42 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

>
> As a classical guy, I avoid compression 99% of the time. I have found,
> however, when recording a rock band with heavily distorted guitars, that
> just about everything (except perhaps percussion) also needs a heavy dose
> of compression. The gritty guitar sound is achieved by overloading a gain
> stage (or two) which acts to massively compress the levels. Other more
> dynamic instruments get buried unless they, too, get compressed.

And that distortion is part of the accepted character of electric guitars,
so I consider that part of the performance. However, with acoustic drums,
compression alters the character, sometimes useful to shape the kick drum
sound, if multi-miked, but most of the time, I find it reduces the exciting
qualities of live drums.


I just finished remastering my jazz quintet to a DVD. I used uncompressed
PCM audio for the soundtrack, rather than decimate it with Dolby AC3
encoding. The DVD sounds great.


--
Best Regards,

Mark A. Weiss, P.E.
www.mwcomms.com
-
Anonymous
February 4, 2005 10:32:37 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> I wonder if the low hiss levels of the old recordings was due to the
> very simple signal path, which was really quite difficult to mess up.
> Maybe modern desks are just too complex for the average recording
> engineer to understand beyond the "this button does this" level.
>
> The problem, I guess, is that they have taken the epithet "engineer"
> to themselves without the slightest justification, in many cases.
>
> d
>
> Pearce Consulting
> http://www.pearce.uk.com


That makes some sense. Perhaps recordists today use too many outboard
processor chains.
But I think there must be more to it than that alone.


--
Best Regards,

Mark A. Weiss, P.E.
www.mwcomms.com
-
Anonymous
February 10, 2005 7:43:18 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Mark and Mary Ann, when you write, "I think that 16 bits might not be
quite enough to convey very soft passages without that 'bumpiness' that
happens when there are not enough steps on the waveform to convey it
accurately. Low sample rates, such as 44.1, also may be inadequate to
convey subtle timing differences between sound arrivals, thus reducing
the sense of soundstage depth and breadth." you are stating an
often-expressed viewpoint which accords very well with many people's
mental model of how digital recording works, as well as their common
sense expectations.

Unfortunately the explanations which most people seem to accept about
digital audio are greatly simplified and do not fully describe what
happens in any actual digital recordings. Thus any projections made
from that mental model shouldn't be given much weight unless they can
be shown to occur in reality. Such is the case with the two concerns
which you mention. They are not, in fact, limitations of 16-bit, 44.1
kHz linear PCM as such.

The real, demonstrable (as well as mathematically predictable)
limitations of properly dithered 16-bit, 44.1 kHz linear PCM are its
dynamic range--about 94 dB--and its bandwidth--less than 22.05 kHz.
Sound quality may of course suffer in other ways. But if that were the
fault of this bit depth and sampling frequency, then logically,
_absolutely_ every CD ever made would sound quite bad, and there could
never be a CD--not one, ever--that sounded any good at all.

Increasing the number of "steps on the waveform" doesn't convey an
analog signal any more accurately unless the noise floor of the analog
signal is below that of the A/D converter. You can compare the output
to the input and measure (and listen to) the difference--that's the
gold standard, no? Adding more "steps" (bits) lowers the noise floor.
But it has no other effect on accuracy, i.e. on the difference between
input and output. That's why 20-bit and even 24-bit converters are used
in professional recording, while 16-bit compact discs appear to have
almost too much dynamic range for most consumer requirements. Optimal
bit depth is a straightforward engineering decision--you choose it to
fit your dynamic range requirements.

The more subtle point is that the timing accuracy of analog signals in
(for example) a 44.1 kHz sampled system isn't limited by the 44.1 kHz
rate as you seem to imagine. Rather, it is limited by the accuracy with
which the 44.1 kHz sampling process occurs (i.e. keeping the jitter low
enough). If a transient begins to occur between two sampling intervals,
it can very well be reconstructed as having begun to occur between them
in playback, too. The output of a CD player is a continuous analog
signal--not a series of stairstep sample values which are deaf to all
the occurrences between them. That misleading image comes from the
oversimplified mental model.

Consider this: Cedar, the nice British DSP company, has an "azimuth
correction" unit that can take a stereo 44.1 kHz digital input and
accurately realign the interchannel timing by small fractions of a
sampling interval. If your assumptions were correct, that unit couldn't
possibly do what it does. Yet, turn the knob and it does it.

I hope it is possible to say in a friendly fashion that this accords
with decades of actual observation, with practice as well as theory,
and is not a matter of mere personal viewpoint or opinion. What you
were saying, on the other hand, is conjecture based on your
visualization of a process that doesn't actually work in quite the way
that you (and a lot of other people, unfortunately) seem to think it
does. As a result, the conclusions which you've reached simply aren't
correct.

--best regards
Anonymous
February 11, 2005 3:21:07 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

No man, you got the wrong idea. Compression isn't just for broadcasting
and bass. The whole key is to somehow make your finished CDs WAY louder
than anyone elses. The person with the LOUDEST finished mix wins!

:-)
Benj
February 11, 2005 12:20:28 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Dave,

I'm glad you typed all that so I didn't have to. :-)

I agree.

A properly dithered 16 bit 44.1 Ksps digital works as well as an analog
system with 94 dB SNR and 20 kHz bandpass.

Due to the dithering, there is no crunchiness or stair steps or any of
that, there is only noise, just like an analog system. To say it
technically, the dithering converts the quantizing non-linearity into
random noise.

Anyone who does not believe that does not understand the Nyquist
theorem and dithering.


Digital is the best thing that ever happened to audio.

Mark
Anonymous
February 11, 2005 7:39:00 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Lars, maybe that wasn't exactly what I meant to say, but what you wrote
is still correct.

Many people seem to think of digital samples as integer values. I tend
to think of them as binary fractions, and find that scheme more apt. So
when I talk about "adding more steps" I really mean the same thing as
"adding more decimal places" to a fractional number such as 3.14159...
-- the magnitude won't change significantly, but precision is improved
to the extent that the additional digits represent valid, actual data.

Certainly one can work in the other direction and imagine an integer
range which is extended, such that the noise floor (not quantization
noise, please--proper dither is an absolute requirement!) becomes less
and less when compared to the largest possible sample value. Either
way, as you say, more bits simply equals the capability for a wider
dynamic range.

--best regards
Anonymous
February 11, 2005 9:17:48 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

David Satz wrote, in part:

> I hope it is possible to say in a friendly fashion that this accords
> with decades of actual observation, with practice as well as theory,
> and is not a matter of mere personal viewpoint or opinion. What you
> were saying, on the other hand, is conjecture based on your
> visualization of a process that doesn't actually work in quite the way
> that you (and a lot of other people, unfortunately) seem to think it
> does. As a result, the conclusions which you've reached simply aren't
> correct.

One of my great joys experienced by participating in rec.audio.pro has
been the revelations <g> so precisely and so nicely iterated as you have
above, by you and and several others here, that gently but surely
relieved me of my deep misunderstandings about the mechanisms and
results of digital audio recording.

Thank you, one and all.

--
ha
February 11, 2005 9:29:17 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

David Satz wrote:
> Lars, maybe that wasn't exactly what I meant to say, but what you
wrote
> is still correct.
>
> Many people seem to think of digital samples as integer values. I
tend
> to think of them as binary fractions, and find that scheme more apt.
So
> when I talk about "adding more steps" I really mean the same thing as
> "adding more decimal places" to a fractional number such as
3.14159...
> -- the magnitude won't change significantly, but precision is
improved
> to the extent that the additional digits represent valid, actual
data.
>
> Certainly one can work in the other direction and imagine an integer
> range which is extended, such that the noise floor (not quantization
> noise, please--proper dither is an absolute requirement!) becomes
less
> and less when compared to the largest possible sample value. Either
> way, as you say, more bits simply equals the capability for a wider
> dynamic range.
>
> --best regards

Its actally quantization distortion that gets removed by dithering and
replaced with random noise.

Without dithering, there would be crunchiness, but since the dither
that is added before the A/D is larger than the smallest step, the
crunchiness is smoothed over and averaged out. So any intermediate
value between the digital steps is still conveyed by the duty cycle
changes that results from the dither. A crude anlagy is to look at a
scene through your spread fingers. Parts are missing. But is you wave
your hand back and forth, the missing parts are averaged in. The price
for this is added noise but with 16 bits it is still 94 dB down. So
dither makes a 16 bit digital system sound just like an anlog system
with a 94 dB noise floor. If you have more bits, you need less dither
to smooth out the steps so you have less noise. More bits buys you
less noise but as long as you have dither you don't get quantization
distortion.

Mark
Anonymous
February 12, 2005 12:49:27 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Mark, thanks for your post; your information is correct down to the
very last bit.

--best regards
Anonymous
February 12, 2005 12:54:15 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

David Satz <DSatz@msn.com> wrote:

> Increasing the number of "steps on the waveform" doesn't convey an
> analog signal any more accurately unless the noise floor of the analog
> signal is below that of the A/D converter. You can compare the output
> to the input and measure (and listen to) the difference--that's the
> gold standard, no? Adding more "steps" (bits) lowers the noise floor.
> But it has no other effect on accuracy, i.e. on the difference between
> input and output. That's why 20-bit and even 24-bit converters are used
> in professional recording, while 16-bit compact discs appear to have
> almost too much dynamic range for most consumer requirements. Optimal
> bit depth is a straightforward engineering decision--you choose it to
> fit your dynamic range requirements.

I'm not sure I follow. It seems to me that adding "steps" without
changing step size adds dynamic range but does nothing to quantisation
noise. A waveform smaller than 90dB peak to peak would be coded the same
in 16 and 24 bit audio (+/- a constant). Changing step size, adding
steps without changing dynamic range (not commercially available afaik)
would change quantisation noise. Is that what you're saying?

sincerely
Lars


--
lars farm // http://www.farm.se
lars is also a mail-account on the server farm.se
aim: larsfarm@mac.com
Anonymous
February 12, 2005 3:27:58 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <1108175356.972276.63180@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com> makolber@yahoo.com writes:

> The price
> for this is added noise but with 16 bits it is still 94 dB down. So
> dither makes a 16 bit digital system sound just like an anlog system
> with a 94 dB noise floor.

That's pretty darn good. I don't think I've ever worked with an analog
system with any better than about a 75 dB noise floor. So why all the
complaining? And more important, why does 24-bit resolution, used in
exactly the same way as 16-bit resolution, sound better almost all the
time?

> If you have more bits, you need less dither
> to smooth out the steps so you have less noise. More bits buys you
> less noise but as long as you have dither you don't get quantization
> distortion.

Noise is really the least of our problems. And apparently getting rid
of quantization distortion, while helpful, isn't the end of the line
either. I suspect that the real answer is that newer converters, which
because of the industry trend, are 24-bit, are simply more accurate at
doing their job of quantizing analog levels than older converters.

--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
February 13, 2005 2:32:42 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Mike Rivers <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote:

> And more important, why does 24-bit resolution, used in
> exactly the same way as 16-bit resolution, sound better almost all the
> time?

Does it? If it does then there is something wrong with my model of how
this works... (still learning...)

Lars


--
lars farm // http://www.farm.se
lars is also a mail-account on the server farm.se
aim: larsfarm@mac.com
Anonymous
February 13, 2005 2:32:42 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Mike Rivers <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote:

> And more important, why does 24-bit resolution, used in
> exactly the same way as 16-bit resolution, sound better almost all the
> time?

does it? if it does, then there is something wrong with my model of how
things work...

Lars

--
lars farm // http://www.farm.se
lars is also a mail-account on the server farm.se
aim: larsfarm@mac.com
Anonymous
February 13, 2005 2:32:43 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <1grwc2g.1x2scrm1nal95cN%see.bottom.of.page@farm.se> see.bottom.of.page@farm.se writes:

> > And more important, why does 24-bit resolution, used in
> > exactly the same way as 16-bit resolution, sound better almost all the
> > time?
>
> Does it? If it does then there is something wrong with my model of how
> this works... (still learning...)

Well, most people think so, but I have a theory about that which I
won't tell you because it might support your model, which I think it
still a little off.


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
February 13, 2005 4:16:26 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Lars Farm wrote:
> Mike Rivers <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote:
>
>
>>And more important, why does 24-bit resolution, used in
>>exactly the same way as 16-bit resolution, sound better almost all the
>>time?
>
>
> Does it? If it does then there is something wrong with my model of how
> this works... (still learning...)

If it does, I have yet to see the blind, level matched
testing results (using the same converters but throwing away
the extra information) which support the belief.


Bob

--

"Things should be described as simply as possible, but no
simpler."

A. Einstein
Anonymous
February 13, 2005 11:53:26 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <cuog3n02m1t@enews2.newsguy.com> arcane@arcanemethods.com writes:

> >>And more important, why does 24-bit resolution, used in
> >>exactly the same way as 16-bit resolution, sound better almost all the
> >>time?

> If it does, I have yet to see the blind, level matched
> testing results (using the same converters but throwing away
> the extra information) which support the belief.

Well, you see, there's a trick to it. Most of the time you don't use a
24-bit converter and throw away the extra bits, or when you do it's
the final step toward making a distributable 16-bit medium (like a
CD), where there's some tweakage involved so it doesn't sound the
same, but not simply because there's lower resolution.

The real trick, though, is that there are no this-generation 16-bit
converters, and the comparison is almost always between an older
16-bit converter and its newer and more linear 24-bit replacement.

No secret.

--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
February 14, 2005 7:42:40 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Mike Rivers wrote:

> The real trick, though, is that there are no this-generation 16-bit
> converters, and the comparison is almost always between an older
> 16-bit converter and its newer and more linear 24-bit replacement.

Yes, that is what I think it's about too but many, including
some highly respected pros, believe that they can hear
differences at 24 bits, after mastering, that are a pure
function of those extra bits.

Same with the higher sample rates but that's a much harder
thing to isolate down to that and only that difference.


Bob
--

"Things should be described as simply as possible, but no
simpler."

A. Einstein
!