Neil Young: This is a low-res world (and the never ending analog vs. digital debate) (1 Viewer)


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I think it's pretty cool that they will actually take your money for those things. Why didn't I think of that?


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Well, that's only one side of the story, right? A lot of people disagree with the "facts" displayed in that piece. In fact, in one of the links provided in the article, you'll find that users point out that the study was poorly designed and the conclusions are pretty much useless:

It's also interesting that most of the articles cited to support this article date back to 2007 and 2008, ignoring recent developments and studies.

Cherry-picking, anyone?


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A lot of people disagree with the "facts" displayed in that piece.
People disagree about how the human ear works? That's news to me.

But what's funny is I wouldn't be surprised to find some 24 bit proponent on a forum somewhere arguing, "That's not how the ear works!"

Some people also believe that humans and dinosaurs coexisted, and the earth is only six thousand years old because someone told them it is so. And they will cite the "science" that was built up from scratch around their belief to "prove" it's true.

Delusion is delusion. I'm not here to help anyone overcome theirs.

Well, anywhoo.


Man, it was hot here today! Like 80 degrees in Pasadena. Crazy. :)

All I would say in closing is, don't forget to send Neil Young $299 for the Archives (volume 1) Blu-Rays! Audiophile sound at the bargain rate of three times the cost of the CDs! Step right up and buy the magic 24 bit elixir! It will make the blind see, the deaf hear and the lame walk again!

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This just in:

24/192 Music Downloads...and why they make no sense

A must-read for anyone who is still awake and gives a shit. It's long, but it really explains in plain language why all of the existing "high-res" formats are irrelevant when it comes to listening to music with human ears.

This is so interesting! Last week, I basically had an intensive "talking to" by Jonathan Nesmith about all of this and he explained to me pretty much everything that's on that webpage, and almost in that detail. I was impressed with myself that I actually understood pretty much everything he said - even though I had to keep the napkins he was writing on to show me some of the sample and bit rate diagrams he drew (I already know all about the cochlea)....

Anywho, I am perfectly happy with our catalog of CDs now. We have a great stereo set up. And what I listen to these days is so far superior than most anything else (sans listening to the actual masters), and certainly blows away how I used to listen to music when I was a youth... I am fully happy with my music room. Anyone would be lucky to be invited over to my house to listen to tunes.

For me, the rest of this ear hair splitting stuff is horse poopie.

Also, as a side note, I AM one of those Golden Ear people as a matter of fact. And it is a training thing, not a genetic thing. I also have hearing damage, but I still hear the nuances. I just can't listen at higher volumes anymore. I get to thank an asshole sound guy at the Whiskey for that.


Art should be its own hammer.
Reaper Crew
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when I buy audio equipment, I do research but I limit myself to CNET and the like. if I went into those AV forums I'd drive myself crazy. I have an obsessive trait to my personality, and I'd end up listening to whatever I bought and thinking "This isn't good enough!" and eventually it would turn into "This guy on said if I wear a tinfoil cape and balloons on my hands and feet I'd hear more ohms! It's all about the ohms, people! Jesus, how blind we have been! But they have to be purple balloons. Where the fuck are my purple balloons!"

I don't want to be that guy. not yet, anyway. my 3000 cds and 500+ lps and 500+ rotting cassettes (there used to be twice that amount of tapes, but they rotted!) will have to be played on whatever I have. but I'm happy!

I think...


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3000 CDs! You could lose more CDs than we have and not even notice.

You're right though, about staying away from and the like. I found a few nuggets of valuable information in those parts, but ultimately none of it had anything to do with hardware. If I had a million dollars in my pocket and had to spend it all today I still wouldn't buy a $20,000 turntable or $10,000 speaker cables (yes, they exist!) that those people praise to the heavens.

Mostly what I got was information about and from people who have long been respected in the recording world, and that's what it's all about anyway. Without a good source none of this format shit matters.

And debating sound is like debating religion or politics or which is the best Bukowski book.

Though I think if you told everyone on that Pulp was superior because of the magic glue used in its binding, they'd all talk endlessly about how they can tell that it's better than the others because the page turning is much deeper, and the text is rich and has a lot of air and detail, and the short words are all tight and well-defined.


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Blu-Rays not only can deliver higher audio quality than CDs -whether human ears can perceive it or not is, as you can see, a hot topic- but they also can deliver higher video quality -if you care about it, that is. Blu-Rays usually have 1080p content, which beat the crap out of DVDs. Of course, if you're watching/listening to a Blu-Ray in a shitty laptop you won't see the difference between 720p and 1080p, and then you can argue Blu-Rays are worthless.

Not only that, Blu-Rays allow you to listen to music while simultaneously browsing any graphic material (pics, lyrics, articles, etc) in the disc, while DVDs can't do that.

Yeah, don't waste your $$$ on that fucking hoax called Blu-Ray.

Blu-Rays and CDs are outdated anyway, so who cares?


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Yeah, don't waste your $$$ on that fucking hoax called Blu-Ray.
Well, in all fairness, I didn't call it a hoax. I inferred that it is snake oil. There's a subtle difference there. And I was talking about music reproduction. When did we start discussing video? You have to give me a little warning when we switch to a completely unrelated topic.

As far as being able to read and look at pictures while listening to music, that would mean being tied to a computer, or a TV screen(?), wouldn't it? That's not where I listen to music.

I listen to music in my anechoic chamber, which is isolated from the low frequency interference of the movement of the earth's crust, while reclining completely naked (it's an established fact that clothing blocks certain essential frequencies) on an electromagnetically suspended Herman Miller AcoustiCouch.

If you listen under lesser conditions - well, I can't be expected to take your opinion seriously, can I?

in one of the links provided in the article, you'll find that users point out that the study was poorly designed and the conclusions are pretty much useless:
I just read that thread. You're kidding, right? I see a couple of guys in there picking at nits, but everyone else seems to agree that the test confirms what many of them already knew, and as one person said, "the burden of proof" is now on the "high-res" proponents. That's your example of why this guy is wrong? Maybe I'm an idiot, but that thread seems to support his claims much more than it calls them into question. And of course that thread is nothing more than some dudes on an Internet forum (like us) calling the work of professionals into question. Let's not forget the overall absurdity of that.

And in that thread, again, the topic goes back to mastering (as it always will). If you spent the time and effort mastering a CD that they spent mastering the "high-res" discs, what you would end up with would be exceptional sounding CDs ("These ["high-res"] recordings seem to have been made with great care and manifest affection, by engineers trying to please themselves and their peers"). Unfortunately, only a handful of CD remastering people take that time, so you end up comparing apples to oranges. If "high-res" ever caught on as a widely-used commercial product, you would wind up with the same problem you have in mass-market CD remastering; assembly-line mediocrity.

But more importantly, they say it is going to rain here today, and we could have frost tonight! Imagine that, right after an 80 degree afternoon. It's crazy!

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It has just occurred to me (I'm a bit thick so I'm a little slow on these things) that THIS WILL NEVER END!


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It's true, it will never end, and it's funny how we can argue endlessly over a series of basically outdated formats.

d gray

tried to do his best but could not
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it must rutting season...



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I think there are places where you can buy cassettes at a reasonable price, too. Blu-Rays might be new to a lot of people, but they are in fact very old news.


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CD isn't an outdated format until something replaces it. As of this moment, nothing has.

Most people may download their music now, but the physical format will not disappear. If anything, CDs will become a "deluxe, limited" product (similar to how they market LPs now), with the download being the primary seller.

I look forward to that, actually, because then CDs will be produced with the attention to quality and detail that they deserve.

But CD isn't going anywhere (soon, anyway). This isn't Betamax. CD players are everywhere.


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If you think CDs are too expensive, you might want to stay away from the "high-res" music download sites. Unless you want to spend $20 for another copy of Rumors or Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

I am taking them up on their offer of free sample downloads, but it's all obscure shit that I won't be able to compare to CD (Eiji Oue and the Minnesota Orchestra, Marta Gomez, Harry "Big Daddy" Hypolite, Dave's True Story, Marianne Thorsen and the TrondheimSolistene?).

Hey, I'm trying.

But one great thing I saw on that site - 32 bit audio! Woo! Finally. No more suffering with the limited noise floor and soundstage on 24 bit recordings! I can't wait to hear warm and airy realness and tight, well-defined bass.


Spending four grand on that transport might seem like a bargain, but these might stretch your audio budget a bit:


I like to have quality things around me, so you know I'm going to be all over the world's lowest jitter clock!


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The first effect - where what your eyes see affects what your ears hear - is the most interesting.

I'd like to put some audiophiles in a room with a turntable and go through all of the motions of playing an LP on an expensive turntable but really play the sound from a good CD player. Then listen to them fawn over how "warm" the turntable sounds.



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On a related but much longer and more tedious (but interesting if you are a geek) note...

(At the 45 minute mark in an analog vs. digital section he talks about how low resolution audio tape is, and it's worth remembering that pretty much all music prior to the 1980s was recorded on audio tape.)



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This is a better presentation/demonstration about how digital audio really works which, not coincidentally, negates a lot of the criticisms about it.



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Here's a fun little test you can run on your hearing.

The highest frequency that most humans can hear is around 20,000 Hz, but I'd wager that no one here can hear 20,000 Hz. Most people over the age of 20 can't (and some of us never could hear those frequencies, even when we were young and beautiful).

For what it's worth, listening to the samples on that page, I can hear from 40 Hz to 12,000 Hz.

- - -

To sum up the technical side of the high-res vs. CD argument again for anyone smart enough not to have read this entire thread (and to beat the dead "high-resolution" horse once more for old times sake):
  • Human hearing has a frequency range around 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz.
  • CDs use a 44.1 kHz sample rate at a 16-bit depth. What that means in English is the highest frequency a CD can render is a little more than 20,000 Hz - a little higher than human hearing is capable of detecting.
  • "High-resolution" audio files have a 96 kHz at a 24 bit depth (with some going up to a 192 kHz sample rate!). A 96/24 "high-resolution" file can reproduce sounds up to around 48,000 Hz. Nice for your dog, maybe, but useless for humans.
Your awesome, expensive stereo set up reproduces sound in the 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz range (the room that it's in also has an effect on that frequency range). Why 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz? Because, again, you can't hear anything outside of that range. So if you play a "high-resolution" file through your stereo, you are not hearing those frequencies up to 48,000 Hz because your stereo cannot reproduce them (since it was made for humans, not dogs).

To make matters worse, adding those above-human-hearing-range frequencies to a music file can cause distortion in the frequencies you can hear. So not only are they unnecessary, they're potentially destructive.

And don't forget, people can't tell the difference between "high-resolution" and CD sound.

Not that I care, obviously...


Pogue Mahone

Officials say drugs may have played a part
This whole thing is so embarrasing. Stealing other people's money to fund his stupid cause. He obviously has no grasp that he looks like a crook.


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I thought it fitting that I mention in this thread my latest (only) HIGH-RES purchase: a Sony HAP S1 "Hi-Res Music Player System."

They call it a Hi-Res music player, but it really plays any audio files you can put on it. I'm putting FLAC files on it, which are as "high-res" as you can get (but of course the real high-res crowd would scoff at calling mere CD-quality sound "high-res").

Anyway, this thing is the tits, but transferring 17,000+ files is taking a while...


Once that's done though, I'll be able to dial up and play any song in our collection within a few seconds. I've been waiting for a box like this for a long time. All the previous media players I've checked out have left me cold, but this one seems to hit all the bases.


</end commercial>
I thought it fitting that I mention in this thread my latest (only) HIGH-RES purchase: a Sony HAP S1 "Hi-Res Music Player System."
Nice new toy. I'm assuming that this essentially serves as both an external hard drive and a stereo system component, yes? I know I've asked you about external hard drives in the past and I've been lazy, but I've got some 1,000 CDs ripped to my computer and it ain't gonna last. I need to make some decisions soon.


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And the first song was.....
Trail To Mexico from The Johnny Cash Complete Sun Recordings. I only remember because that was one of the first files to transfer over, and after I played a minute of it, it was displayed on the screen for the next three hours. ;)
I'm assuming that this essentially serves as both an external hard drive and a stereo system component, yes? I've got some 1,000 CDs ripped to my computer and it ain't gonna last.
It's not an external hard drive in the traditional sense, because you can't easily access it at the file level. Meaning you can't just open two windows on your computer and drag files to it. You have to transfer the music files using a proprietary Sony program that you install on your computer.

But yeah, it's another place to store those thousand ripped CDs, but you should still be backing up to another drive off your computer somewhere. Now that I'm using this thing my music files are on the Sony box, my main computer and my external backup drives.


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I thought it fitting that I mention in this thread my latest (only) HIGH-RES purchase...
Okay, this is not my only "HIGH-RES" purchase anymore.

I went to a "HIGH-RES" download website today, and bought some albums that I already know very well so I could listen to the "HIGH-RES" versions and compare for myself (now that I have an easy way to listen to them through the stereo, i.e. the HAP! I love you HAP...).

First of all, everything I downloaded had been remastered - for this format, I assume - so direct comparisons weren't always possible. But in a couple cases I have a CD remaster that matches the "HIGH-RES" download. So comparing those, I have to say that there is no perceptible difference between a 96K 24bit "HIGH-RES" FLAC file and the 44.1K 16bit FLAC version that I ripped from CDs. Even when a direct comparison wasn't possible, I didn't hear anything in the "HIGH-RES" files that I couldn't hear in the regular files.

Not surprising that I'd say that, I suppose. But I was as objective as I could be. Hey, I'd like to be able to get even better versions of these records. But as it turns out, I already have the best versions. They're called CDs.

Can my "no difference" result be explained away as confirmation bias on my part? Yeah, it could be. But I believe that particular bias goes both ways, and the people who hear things that aren't there are also dealing with confirmation bias, since they want to believe the sound is somehow "better."

The best part about the test was listening to loud music that I like. So bear that highly scientific postulation in mind when analyzing and critiquing anything that has to do with music. You can, and should, always listen to music you like, the louder the better. Even jazz.

I said there was no difference, but admittedly there is one big difference: the "HIGH-RES" files are 2 1/2 to 3 times larger (in disk space terms) than the CD rips (same format). But I doubt anyone would consider that a positive.


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I think that article is linked elsewhere in this thread, but I couldn't find it.

But the engineer starts off with a fallacy: "Vinyl is the only consumer playback format we have that's fully analog and fully lossless," Gonsalves said.

Eh, not really. Technically, magnetic tape samples the sound. The samples are tiny, but they are individual bits of oxide that are magnetized. Analog is a continuous electrical variation or something - I know for something to be analog it has to be continuous, which individual particles are definitely not.

Just like a photograph is made up of tiny pieces of tarnished silver and TV screens are rendered in pixels. They appear to be continuous because we don't typically see - or hear - the tiny bits. Just like a digital recording.

Anyway, more of this again. I understand that when people are talking about recording they consider magnetic tape to be analog because it predates digital recording. But this whole argument is the picking of nits, so what can you do.


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I just started reading How Music Got Free: A Story of Obsession and Invention, and I was shocked to learn how much time and what kind of work went in to creating the mp3 algorithms and code. Almost 10 years of work which included psychoacoustic's incredible. I had always assumed it was just math. Hardly.

You can read most of the mp3 story in the preview of the book.

Interesting to note that the guys who started work on what became mp3 did it because they thought the bit rate used to encode CDs was overkill, due to the way human hearing works. I can only imagine what they think of "hi-res" audio files. That being said, mp3 was never intended as a replacement for CD bit rates. It was just done to reduce file sizes (even though the work started before there was a world wide web).

Really interesting story.

Black Swan

Abord the Yorikke!
I am trying to watch Neil Young's Paradox on Netflix and just can't. There is a good jam somewhere in the middle of a disaster. A beautiful rendition of "angels flying too close the ground"by someone, thanks the Great Manitou for that!
Daryl Hannah is directing the fiasco. Maybe in 10 years this will be qualified as CULT but tonight a bit hard to digest. Can someone help me to like it? maybe a big fat one would help...
The soundtrack might be good but the script is incoherent.
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