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Old 07-05-2019, 06:10 AM
ac ac is offline
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Default Audiophile or Audio-Fooled?

Saw this in my YouTube sidebar, clicked, and found it very interesting regarding sound perception.

Not sure if it fits in Recording or in the Listen subforum.

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Old 07-05-2019, 09:10 AM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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First, it would have been nice to have some kind of synopsis from you to tell us what the video was about.

But onto the video... he says stuff I agree and disagree with, and he also says some things that seemingly conflict with other things he says.

I agree that the majority of listeners will not be able to tell the difference between a 320kb/s mp3 file and a 44.1 kHz wav file. And I'm pretty sure it's true that most people today are not listening to cds. But that doesn't mean that cds aren't still being played or purchased. In my own case, while I may not be listening to cds the majority of the time I spend listening to music, cds are still the medium of choice for me when I shop for music. I have a fairly large music collection compared to most people I know, and I prefer to have the physical cds as a backup to my digitized music. My ipod tells me I currently have enough music to listen 24/7 for 48 days without repeating anything.

I'm not so sure about the validity of the experiment with his assistant. She may have a degree and technical knowledge of the matter at hand, but I'm doubtful her ears are as well trained as a top of the heap professional mixer. Further, how likely anyone is going to be able to focus on any set of frequencies within the context of a full mix is going to be somewhat dependent on what is going on within that frequency range and how it is being influenced by others. I suspect more experience ears would fair better than his assistant in that test, but I understand his main point and I don't dispute that there's validity to it (later in the video, around the 10 minute mark, he seemingly invalidates the experiment) The experiment just seems to me to have more value for showmanship than anything else.

I think he's a bit off the reservation when he implies that mp3s were developed because scientists noticed that certain frequencies in a song when mostly unheard when they sit against louder frequencies. I have no doubt that's true but everything I've read on the subject indicated that portability was the driving force not some scientific discovery about what we hear or don't hear. When that first mp3 was created by a sound engineer, the purpose wasn't to simply get rid of superfluous frequencies. The purpose was to reduce the size of the music file to a degree that large numbers of those files could be stored on a portable device so people could carry more, if not all, of their music around with them.

I think he's making a big assumption about what the great mixers of our day can hear. I'm 58 and I can hear up to 15k without any dead spots of which I'm aware. I can't hear 16k, but I can hear 17k and 18k. After that it's all silent for me. It's true that most people are like him and will have a much lower ceiling in their 50s when it comes to the ability to hear higher frequencies. But "most" is not all. It stands to reason ...to my anyway... that some of the folks he named probably have better hearing than he does. However, I do agree that the folks who don't aren't severely affected by any high frequency loss since they have decades of experience to fall back on that allows them to avoid creating any problems on the top end while mixing.

His criticism of high end monitors feels a bit disingenuous to me. No mix will sound the same on all listening devices. The purpose of any set of monitors in a mixing environment is to maximize the mixers ability to produce a product that translates well when played back in other environments. The fact that any mix is not going to sound the same in other environments is a given. That's true no matter what monitors you mix on. So in the end, the mixer wants a pair of monitors that allows that to happen as easily as possible and that choice of monitors is going to be personal to each mixer. Specifically about the NS10s, what I've heard from people who have used them is if you can get a mix to sound good on NS10s, it will sound good just about anywhere ...but I've never had one of them tell me they want to mix on them all day long because, as the guy in the video said, they're not very pleasing to the ear. If a mixer can accomplish the same thing with a set of monitors that don't beat the crap out of his ears all day long, why wouldn't you want to make your work environment as pleasant as possible?

Overall, he may be making an argument that become more valid as time goes on. I have no idea what the future of music will be regarding wav files vs mp3 files. I disagree that we're at a point where cds are irrelevant. They're certainly relevant to some touring musicians since it's still a way to let fans go home with a piece of you in their hand (I've never seen a merch table selling mp3s). He's free to make this choice for himself, but I know this about myself, if an album isn't available in cd format, I'm much less likely to purchase that album. I know that doesn't apply to everyone but I'm also confident I'm not the only one for whom that is true.

You might find this interesting:
Listen to what gets lost when an MP3 is made
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Old 07-05-2019, 09:27 AM
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I have hundreds of CDs but have not bought a new one in years. Streaming music has taken over the market. I will still post a wav file on the forum
now and then but truly I can not say that I can reliably can hear a difference between that and a high bit rate mp3.
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Old 07-05-2019, 09:44 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim1960 View Post

I think he's a bit off the reservation when he implies that mp3s were developed because scientists noticed that certain frequencies in a song when mostly unheard when they sit against louder frequencies. I have no doubt that's true but everything I've read on the subject indicated that portability was the driving force not some scientific discovery about what we hear or don't hear. When that first mp3 was created by a sound engineer, the purpose wasn't to simply get rid of superfluous frequencies. The purpose was to reduce the size of the music file to a degree that large numbers of those files could be stored on a portable device so people could carry more, if not all, of their music around with them.
Pendant warning. I'm about to make a small and relatively unimportant point, just a historical nicety about the how the MPEG group research and MP3 was focused when it was making it's efforts. It was not all focused on making files small enough to fit on a portable device, an application that developed afterward and wasn't the driving force of the research. Instead the application they were focused on was reducing bandwidth in live audio (and video) transmission, particularly over old-fashioned copper phone lines. There had been other methods to do this, other kinds of lossy formats, but they really were procrustean beds. The driving force in the research was to make this work, but also sound much better.

MPEG group formats were in use in broadcasting long ("technological long"--like a few years) before anyone made a portable MP3 player or thought of Napster.

This old article is kind of interesting if anyone is interested in how one of the primary researchers went about his work and how he and his interests tried to shape how it was to be used, including waring music industry interests before the genie was fully out of the bottle. Small acoustic music connection in his story involves Suzanne Vega.

A how I created mp3 article
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Old 07-05-2019, 09:47 AM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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The meat of it starts at around 5:00. He's guessing low on some of those ages and leaving a few centenarians out, like Bob Clearmountain and Michael Brauer and Andy Wallace, all of whom are at the top of their game.
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Old 07-05-2019, 10:17 AM
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Beato generates a ton of views arguably because he is fairly experienced recording and mix engineer and can speak the lingo combined with the fact that he is quite willing to state his opinions in declaratory fashion . So I always take his videos with a healthy serving of grains of salt.
Interesting to note despite his casual dismissal of 44.1 16 WAV his video was uploaded at 1080 and I would bet with at least a 24 bit 48 k wav file

That said I think he is correct that generally given the prototypical relatively low fi listening devices being used by the general public today (i would guess that earbuds are far and away the most numerous) that there is going to be little noticeable difference between 320 mp3 and a 16 -44.1 file .

As for the rest of the video it is a mix of spot on info and conclusions and debatable info and conclusions .

First bogus IMO conclusion is attempting to dismiss the 66% accuracy ratio in the results. 66% is actually a significantly successful result positive result for being able to hear the difference.

Another possible flaw in the test or perhaps not flaw but skewed methodology is she is listening on mid level (spec. wise) headphones (and perhaps why he attempts to dismiss high end monitors) This presents one glaring skew in that the sound field is unnaturally collapsed while listening to HP's or ear buds.
The reason this could be a potential flaw is that in a collapsed soundfield the overall mix attributes of an uncompressed file can be compromised.

Another issue as I understand it , is that the reason for the ability to have the monitoring system be able to go at least to 20 or beyond and the recording file to be in higher bit and frequency is handling aliasing artifacts. That can affect the audible range.

I think in his conclusion at end that experience in critical listening skills is arguably more desirable than just the ability to hear up to 18-20 K is spot on.


While taking courses at Berklee In a "critical listening" course we experimented with boosting and cutting specific frequencies in a full mix to see if we could detect it.
And even though I cannot hear a sinewave signal above 15k I could with 70% accuracy detect both the cutting and boosting of 16k in a mix ?????? I have know idea how that is possible but that is what happened ( believe it , or don't)
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Last edited by KevWind; 07-05-2019 at 10:29 AM.
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