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Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??

dick greenhaus 19 Oct 07 - 02:33 PM
treewind 19 Oct 07 - 01:28 PM
Bernard 19 Oct 07 - 11:54 AM
dick greenhaus 19 Oct 07 - 10:45 AM
mattkeen 19 Oct 07 - 09:58 AM
Bernard 19 Oct 07 - 06:56 AM
Mr Happy 19 Oct 07 - 06:50 AM
GUEST 19 Oct 07 - 06:41 AM
treewind 07 Jun 07 - 05:55 PM
Jim Lad 07 Jun 07 - 03:23 PM
The Fooles Troupe 07 Jun 07 - 09:07 AM
Grab 07 Jun 07 - 08:48 AM
GUEST,Darowyn 07 Jun 07 - 07:57 AM
jeffp 07 Jun 07 - 07:00 AM
Hamish 07 Jun 07 - 06:20 AM
treewind 07 Jun 07 - 03:50 AM
Andy Jackson 07 Jun 07 - 02:48 AM
Darowyn 07 Jun 07 - 02:47 AM
The Fooles Troupe 06 Jun 07 - 08:47 PM
The Fooles Troupe 06 Jun 07 - 08:36 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Jun 07 - 07:56 PM
Jim Lad 06 Jun 07 - 03:44 PM
jeffp 06 Jun 07 - 03:37 PM
Tim theTwangler 06 Jun 07 - 02:47 PM
treewind 06 Jun 07 - 11:04 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 06 Jun 07 - 10:54 AM
GUEST,Darowyn 06 Jun 07 - 10:38 AM
GUEST,Darowyn 06 Jun 07 - 10:30 AM
treewind 06 Jun 07 - 07:03 AM
Big Al Whittle 06 Jun 07 - 06:57 AM
The Fooles Troupe 06 Jun 07 - 06:56 AM
Bernard 06 Jun 07 - 06:30 AM
Rockhen 06 Jun 07 - 04:25 AM
The Fooles Troupe 05 Jun 07 - 11:00 PM
Steve Shaw 05 Jun 07 - 07:01 PM
Darowyn 05 Jun 07 - 06:33 PM
Jack Campin 05 Jun 07 - 02:29 PM
Bert 05 Jun 07 - 01:33 PM
Grab 05 Jun 07 - 01:04 PM
GUEST,Edthefolkie 05 Jun 07 - 12:11 PM
treewind 05 Jun 07 - 11:50 AM
Bernard 05 Jun 07 - 11:47 AM
mrmoe 05 Jun 07 - 11:21 AM
Kim C 05 Jun 07 - 11:17 AM
Bernard 05 Jun 07 - 09:21 AM
Bernard 05 Jun 07 - 09:19 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 05 Jun 07 - 09:04 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 05 Jun 07 - 08:53 AM
treewind 05 Jun 07 - 08:42 AM
treewind 05 Jun 07 - 08:25 AM
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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 19 Oct 07 - 02:33 PM

Some years ago I attended a concert given by the Chicago Symphony Orcherstra. I was both amused and saddened to note that the orchestra's make-up had been changed to (apparently) to fit the audience's expectations of Hi-Fi: something like six string basses and a disproportionate number of tubas and baritone horns.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: treewind
Date: 19 Oct 07 - 01:28 PM

If it's just "a singer" possibly with an instrument, that's a perfectly good way to record them and it's not unusual for it to be done that way.

A recording is not the same thing as a live concert, though, so simply capturing the exact sound isn't always what the customer wants.

The simple no processing technique work best when you have a really nice room to record in. "Officium" (Jan Garbarek and The Hilliard ensemble) was recorded in the Monastery of St. Gerold, a very reverberant acoustic, and there is no way your could mess with compression or other processing on a recording like that.

Put a pair of Schoeps mics in the right place (that might take a while to find) press the red button and it's in the can.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: Bernard
Date: 19 Oct 07 - 11:54 AM

Of course they would, Dick. It's just that these overpaid recording techies have to justify their existence!!

;o)


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 19 Oct 07 - 10:45 AM

One of my lifetime ambitions is to produce some folk music (y'know, the old "trad" kind) with a bare minimum of sound processing. Park the singer in a chair, plant a couple of good mikes about ten feet away and shoot anyone who reaches for a control board. I'd call them "Underproduced Recordings"...and they'd sound just fine.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: mattkeen
Date: 19 Oct 07 - 09:58 AM

Thinking about what Treewind said earlier: it really is such a shame that now we have recording technology (24 bit digital)that can really cope with the dynamic range we head into the "loudness wars" compress to death fashion.

Glad to say that MOST folk albums are v careful about compression. In fact with the common ability to manually adjust levels (thereby pull down overly hot phrases or words) I don't really think you need to compress at all.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: Bernard
Date: 19 Oct 07 - 06:56 AM

Hah! Takes a bit more than that to wind me up!!

;o)

Apparently Jim Marshall jumped on that bandwagon, too...


Anyway, on a more serious note, how is Fitch these days? Len Whitehead died some months back, sadly, but my father is still alive and well - having just had knee replacement surgery on his left knee which he injured in 1944 when they were blown out of their Lancaster by the Luftwaffe's 'Shrage Musik' (upward firing cannon).


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: Mr Happy
Date: 19 Oct 07 - 06:50 AM

Fiend of mine's car conked recently, so she was forced in the short tem to hire one 'til she could get another of her own.

A very irritating prob with the hire vehicle was that when the engine was started, the radio came on automatically & tuned to one of those very loud gobbledygook stations.

She could find a way to switch it off, but there appeared to be no way of silencing it from first ignition.

Guess modern manufacturers think that's what's wanted?


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Oct 07 - 06:41 AM

Bernard,

As you were named after my Uncle Bernard (RAF 50/61 Sqn DFC & bar) you should know that Spinal Tap had an amp that went to 11 thereby debunking your zero Db statement. -Db is therefore possible! QED!

I have friends who are in the audio/Mic business and can help out if you wish.

Steve C


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: treewind
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 05:55 PM

The original radio in my car did that. I replaced it (because it had a cassette player, $DEITY knows why when made in 2005) and I really notice the difference as the new one doesn't change with speed. I have to keep adjusting the volume now.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: Jim Lad
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 03:23 PM

"Wouldn't it be a good idea if the car radio/CD player's volume increased as the car's speed increased, thus helping overcome the increased road and wind noise?"
One of my friends had this in his car years ago. It involved a pick up device, mounted some where on the outside and responded to increasing engine, wheel, wind & street noises. He still talks about it today. Said it was the greatest thing since sliced cheese.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 09:07 AM

"so instead of actually doing his job"

Maybe he was JA's soundman and doing his job real well - can't have the support act looking TOO good you know.... :-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: Grab
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 08:48 AM

The poor girl who opened for Joan Armatrading at Cambridge was a classic example of why over-compression is bad. She was actually a reasonably good singer-songwriter with guitar - nothing too special, but good enough to listen to. Except the soundman was probably feeling lazy, so instead of actually doing his job, he slapped a ton of compression on and sat back with his feet up. Result? Not a single dynamic in the entire performance. You could tell by the tone from girl's voice that she was putting the work in, but the compression just trashed it.

I *really* wish I'd had a mixer with compressors when I did sound for someone playing whistle back last year. Whistle's got massive transients hitting the mic, so it needed compression to cool that down. Sadly I didn't have it to hand, so I had to find some compromise between not hearing them at all and the peaks piercing everyone's eardrums.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: GUEST,Darowyn
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 07:57 AM

I was at a friend's birthday party last week, and since I hadn't seen him for years, I gave him a copy of my CD as an extra present.
He was so pleased that he insisted that the DJ should play it.
It is an uptempo, loud song- Six string. Twelve string, Mandolin, Bass, Drums, but all acoustic.
Hearing my tune played back to back with the Scissor Sisters and Madonna, do you know what I was thinking?

I should have used more compression on that!
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: jeffp
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 07:00 AM

The presets on most plug-in effects (reverb, delay, compression, etc.) are crap. They really need tweaking to have a prayer of sounding any good. In fact, the free ones included with most software and on standalone products are pretty poor compared to what is available elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: Hamish
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 06:20 AM

"Wouldn't it be a good idea if the car radio/CD player's volume increased as the car's speed increased, thus helping overcome the increased road and wind noise?" Thus ran conversation between some mates many years back. And - oh joy! - they do that feature now.

It's rubbish. I switch it off. For, I suppose, the same reasons as most of the above posts dislike compression.

(btw, I sent Treewind an early home recording made on my new (second hand via e-Bay) digital multi-tracker a year or so back. His constructive observation was "Too much compression!!!" I'd lazilly used one of the out of the box mastering programmes. He was right: the results are much better with little or no compression.)

--
Hamish


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: treewind
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 03:50 AM

Years ago somebody marketed a device which detected the increase in volume on TV adverts and muted the sound and the TV during the commercial breaks. The version of the story I heard was that this was so successful that the advertisers had to reduce their levels somewhat to thwart the ad-killer. I don't know what the position is now - of course if advert killing became too universally easy to do, nobody would pay to advertise and there wouldn't be any TV.

Not that I can see any problem with that.
I never watch it anyway.

BTW - compression on live sound - certainly used, typically per channel to tame poor vocalist mic technique, and across the main output to protect the speakers from damage by unexpected peaks, but can't be done too much or you get feedback howls.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 02:48 AM

Just to continue the thread drift from above. The pwercieved volume level does go up during advertising breaks, we all notice this. I have complained several times to Advertising standards people whio always come back with a trite reply and a request for exact details of advert concerned and programme details either side. They cannot grasp the idea that to the listener (yes we do listen to telly) notices an increase on nearly every advcert break!

Give them a try.

How to complain

Andy (years in non commercial TV)


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: Darowyn
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 02:47 AM

All the modern, professional-quality, live sound mixing desks have dynamics processors on every channel, and usually on the main Front-of-house and auxiliary mix outputs too(for the stage monitors).
Massive compression is easily possible live.
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 08:47 PM

In the Noise in the Scale of C thread, I asked
QUOTE
"I noticed that I could detect speaker cone breakup "rattle" (and this is heard at 90 dB(C) at several hundred meters!) - if they are riding the gain and tone controls so hard, I suspect that they could also be riding the compression too - to the point where the speakers "just canna take it any more Captn"... anybody have useful comments on just how much would this be commonly done on live music concerts? BTW, in spite of being called "Gospel Music" - many of the pieces played are Top 40 Rock/Pop pieces - eg "Love is a Battlefield", etc.

I wonder just how this would affect my case - it would seem to make it more compelling that the dB(SPL) or dB(C) is more appropriate than the dB(A) scale, surely - especially as the sound would also contain more distortion high frequency components too. "

UNQUOTE

So I ask here (since it seems that other thread isn't being read much at the moment!), any knowledgeable comments on just how much compression is being used on 'live events'? I'm fairly sure that no miming is involved in the one I'm interested in, except with the 'big name' imported US 'Christian Music Bands'.

Robin


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 08:36 PM

"How come all this modern and newly invented jiggery pokery is only explainable in such complicated jargon?"

Jargon is a form of shorthand that is useful for rapid and enhanced communication between those regularly dealing with complex and often newish concepts.

So without at least some technical background in the area of expertise, it should be expected that it would be mostly unintelligible to the uninitiated.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 07:56 PM

These Dummies and Idiots books always seem to comes across simple to the point of ludicrous to start with. Then they rapidly get as jargonish as any other books, but seem to think that putting in lame jokes every now and again makes them easier to follow.

That's a general point - I haven't seen the one jeffp recommended.

So far as volume variation is concerned what bugs me is the way TV ads pump up the volume. You set the sound to something comfortable for you and not too annoying to other people and to the cats - and then the commercial break comes on and the volume hits the roof. Typically just when you've popped into the kitchen to put the kettle on and can't turn down the controls before all hell breaks loose.

That's thread drift, I fear...


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: Jim Lad
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 03:44 PM

I think what my learned friend has so eloquently said is that for all of its faults, the modern methods make nicer music.
I agree, Tim.
Cheers!
Jim


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: jeffp
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 03:37 PM

Home Recording for Dummies is a good place to start.

http://homerecording.com/bbs/ is another good source, but not for the faint of heart. Some can play rough there and it's very lightly moderated.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: Tim theTwangler
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 02:47 PM

Gasp!
What a load of wonderous tech heads
How come all this modern and newly invented jiggery pokery is only explainable in such complicated jargon?
Also is it within what one might call the Tradition to record any proper folk music other than with a quill pen and the blood of a virgin?
Of course I realise it would be expensive to import virgins for this purpose.......
Are there any books,Idiots guides etc, that would help the less cerebral of us to cope with this subject.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: treewind
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 11:04 AM

The "beginning of the end" was cassette.
MD was an improvement on that.

studios can record at 24bit, 96kHz sampling rate
The majority of studio recording engineers like to record at 24 bit 44.1kHz.
They like 24 bits because it gives them loads of headroom while recording. 24 or more bits are also useful for digital processing: eq, level changes, mixing, compression as it leaves room for rounding errors that build up to stay below the 16 bit floor of the final product.
The 16 bit dynamic range of CD exceeds that of almost any room ever used for recording or listening.

You're right that studio quality is wasted on the average home listening environment, but that's been true ever since the 1950's. TV sound was always excellent, and then ended up being played though a 2 inch speaker; superb sound recorded on 15ips or 30ips tape ending up played on portable transistor radios and so on.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 10:54 AM

plus there are are very positive audio reasons for digital transferring
& archiving
old tapes [even cassettes] at the highest available bit rates
[24 bit or higher]
even though the resulting files are so much bigger and require more storage memory.
Even if the digital transfers need to be dithered back down to 16 bit for CD mastering


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: GUEST,Darowyn
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 10:38 AM

I suppose I ought to explain that data compression is not the same as dynamic range compression, which is what this thread is mostly about.
Data compression is where the software decides what part of the sound you don't need to hear, then removes it from the signal before it is encoded. The cleverer versions remove whole frequency bands and than resynthesise them on playback based on the remaining frequencies.
This means that audio file sizes are many times smaller than the original 75 minutes of stereo music equals 650 megabytes of data, which is CD standard. A good quality MP3 will be less than a tenth of that file size.
The data has been compressed (by ignoring the majority of it).
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: GUEST,Darowyn
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 10:30 AM

I think that Minidisk was the first data-compressed audio format to come into general use- so you could see it as the beginning of the end for the concern with ultimate fidelity.
It is odd that when studios can record at 24bit, 96kHz sampling rate, which is four times better than CD quality, the finished product is played on an iPod or worse still, a mobile phone, and some people are happy with the sound!
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: treewind
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 07:03 AM

I don't think many people outside of home recording mastered on minidisc. Why would they do that?

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 06:57 AM

I think the real trouble started when people started mastering on minidisc.

I thought DAT tape was the ultimate. there seemed more space around the music - much better that those old Studer tapes machines.

I don't think the human ear can detect the differences fully - and different speakers tell different stories.

Anyway that is my feeling on the matter. I wonder if anyone agrees.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 06:56 AM

"pipe organ subject, a chap named Bishop developed spring loaded bellows on the wind chest that reacted to the transients, which reduced their effects"

Yep - even with this gadget fitted to the organ I learnt on, I could still get the effects - enough to notice and use :-) I would have mentioned it, but ...


I still have in my cupboard a Dolby "Comp/ander" which I used to use years ago when recording theatre interval background music.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: Bernard
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 06:30 AM

Maybe I used 'Compressor' and 'Normaliser' in the same sentence, but I was not implying they were the same, just that they have the same 0dB constriction...

When people say 'bad mastering', it doesn't necessarily exclude 'intentional' errors... a bad master may be bad because it has deteriorated with age, but a master may also be bad because the engineer didn't do a good job in the first place!

On the pipe organ subject, a chap named Bishop developed spring loaded bellows on the wind chest that reacted to the transients, which reduced their effects... oddly, I cannot find anything on the net about this, though I have books which document it.

A Bishop organ (two manual tracker) still exists in St. Stephens church, Lever Bridge, Bolton - a church made famous because of work done on it by the late Fred Dibnah. My parents still live just up the road from the church - I used to practice on it sometimes during college holidays (organ was my main instrument).


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: Rockhen
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 04:25 AM

I skimmed through a lot of this thread but some really interesting posts. I'm doing a beginner's sound tech course at the moment and have only a basic grasp of using compression so am not able to join the discussion, properly, but good to hear the comments from those who have experience/knowledge of the technical side of music production. A year ago I wouldn't have had a clue but it has cheered me up to realise I have actually remembered a few things and collected SOME understanding at my night class. Liked the accordion post above, too, Foolestroupe!Cheers, folks!


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 05 Jun 07 - 11:00 PM

"With the organs of Bach's time, the blower (human-driven) had limited power, nowhere near enough to sound all the pipes at once. So if you had a steady long note in one part and staccato chords in the others, the long note would have an audible drop in power as each chord sounded, producing subtle articulations that weren't explicitly notated. "


I exploited this on the pipe organs I used to play - even modern electric blower fed ones can exhibit this effect.

But this is a very useful technique when exploited on a Piano Accordion!!!

It's part of the side effect of the 'bellows flutter' technique.

Also you can use the staccato on one side and legato on the other to 'bring forward' one side or the other as desired.


As I've said before the Piano Accordion is more closely related in playing technique to a Pipe Organ than a Piano!


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Jun 07 - 07:01 PM

I agree with Grab about Radio 3 in the car, something I lament (maybe I should trade in the Peugeot 106 diesel for something a tad quieter!). My Mozart piano concerto CDs are equally hopeless in the car, as is, I found the other day, Penguin Eggs by Nic Jones. I suspect that the excessive compression used by Classic FM is applied with in-car listening in mind. Sometimes it appears to be mismanaged so that you get an awful, squawky wall of sound, and sometimes you get the ludicrous sensation of a single flute or clarinet being much louder than a whole symphony orchestra!


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: Darowyn
Date: 05 Jun 07 - 06:33 PM

The theoretical dynamic range of a CD is 90dB. That is enough for most kinds of music, with the exception of Orchestral and or Choral.
Typically, Jazz and Folk have a dynamic range of less than 30dB.
The frequency range of a CD is approximately 20Hz to 20kHz.
There are no British folk instruments which play lower than 20Hz, and precious few people who can hear either frequency.
It is therefore possible to reproduce live folk music on CD with perfect fidelity.
This is not true of Cassette- noise levels are too high to allow full dynamic range, and tape speed are too low for full frequency range.
78rpm records could, in theory, reproduce greater dynamic range than a CD, but the high frequency fidelity would be poorer because of the mass of the stylus used in the days of 78s.
33.3 Vinyl microgroove stereo records can produce a better dynamic range than CD only on the outer tracks of the album. There has always been a fudge on them, in that the low frequencies are deliberately turned down on the recording and then boosted back with an equaliser in the playback amp. This is done according to a standard referred to as the RIAA curve. The 12" singles used by DJs are good in both respects, but especially because the wider groove spacing allows for more side to side movement of the groove, allowing more emphasis on the bass, which needs to be at a higher amplitude in order to sound as loud as the frequencies that the ear is more sensitive to.
Finally, you must remember that the limiting and compression is not an accident, or bad mastering- it is entirely deliberate- and it's not the same as Normalising either.
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Jun 07 - 02:29 PM

That effect of the voices getting quieter when the band gets louder goes back a long way.

With the organs of Bach's time, the blower (human-driven) had limited power, nowhere near enough to sound all the pipes at once. So if you had a steady long note in one part and staccato chords in the others, the long note would have an audible drop in power as each chord sounded, producing subtle articulations that weren't explicitly notated.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: Bert
Date: 05 Jun 07 - 01:33 PM

Loss of dynamic range has always been a problem with sound recording.

It became seriously noticable with the demise of the 78, when they tried to squeeze thirty minutes of recording onto a roughly three minute format.

Then it took another hit when the 1 - 7/8 ips 1/8 inch casette replaced the 15 ( or 7 1/2) ips 1/4 inch magnetic tape. This set an audio standard which was continued onto CDs, which was further reduced by the use of digital recording which has an inherent square wave buried deep in the format.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: Grab
Date: 05 Jun 07 - 01:04 PM

FWIW, I generally can't listen to Radio 3 in the car. When you've got a background noise of basically fixed volume, the music has to always be louder than this fixed volume. If it isn't, road noise obliterates the music. Conversely, if you have it turned up enough that you can hear the pianissimo bits over the road noise, the loud bits will kill your ears, your car speakers or both.

But I have to say, if you're listening to Shakira in the first place, quality of sound reproduction is irrelevant when the song is inherently crap...

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: GUEST,Edthefolkie
Date: 05 Jun 07 - 12:11 PM

An even more hilarious HiFi urban myth than Bernard's speaker cable one, is the idea put about by certain cable manufacturers and magazines that you need special expensive mains cable to get the best out of your equipment, and that you can hear the difference.

And presumably special wall sockets are needed? And house ring mains? Quick, dig up the road - I need oxygen free cable. And pylons??

Then of course there is the idea that wi-fi causes migraines....personally I blame my son's Black Sabbath albums.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: treewind
Date: 05 Jun 07 - 11:50 AM

Bernard's not talking about which wire is which between (+) and (-) (yes they do have to be in phase) - but directional wire where it supposedly matters which end of the cable is which!

Speakers are AC, but they still have to be in phase with each other. So for a mono signal, when one side is getting a positive half cycle, you don't want the other side getting a negative half cycle. Or in more physical terms, one cone pushing while the other is pulling!

Don't be confused by the + and - markings on the terminals - that doesn't means they use DC. It's just so if you match up hot to + on both channels they'll be pushing in the same direction.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: Bernard
Date: 05 Jun 07 - 11:47 AM

Sorry, mrmoe, I didn't make it clear enough!

Yes, you are quite correct that you should connect both loudspeakers 'in phase'.

What I was referring to are those HiFi nuts who think there is an 'amplifier end' and 'speaker end' of a piece of wire to connect to the speakers! Okay, if there are plugs on it could make a difference - the plugs might not fit the other way around!

ALL loudspeakers are AC, or they wouldn't work - it's just the amplifiers in powered loudspeakers that may be powered by DC. The connection between the amplifier and loudspeaker is always AC.

Applying a large DC current to a loudspeaker can make it catch fire. Anyone who has seen a power amp 'go DC' (usually when a driver transistor fails) will know what I mean.

A loudspeaker requires AC modulation to be able to work - it is basically an electromagnet which pushes and pulls the loudspeaker cone along a fixed magnet to produce the sound.

'Phase' is a phenomenon of AC current. If you were to feed a sine wave through one loudspeaker, and the same sine wave with the phase inverted through a second, identical louspeaker, in theory you should get silence. In practice there are other issues (distance, etc.), so you get a very 'thin' sound.

If you wish to check the phase of a loudspeaker, you can safely use a 9v battery (yes, DC!) across the terminals. Connect the battery one way, and the cone will move forward (the + terminal is on the 'hot' terminal of the speaker); connect the battery the other way around, and the cone will be pulled inwards (the + terminal is on the 'cold' terminal of the speaker).

This also proves that speakers aren't DC!


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: mrmoe
Date: 05 Jun 07 - 11:21 AM

Bernard........where are the ac current loudspeakers?.....all that I have ever seen are dc and need to be connected "in phase" or there is distortion due to signal cancellation.....


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: Kim C
Date: 05 Jun 07 - 11:17 AM

I've noticed that digital remasters of original analog recordings tend to sound funny --- like they're too "thin" or something. I don't know if that's a matter of converting one format to another, or again, just lousy mastering.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: Bernard
Date: 05 Jun 07 - 09:21 AM

Forgot to mention... my pet hate is hearing the vocals bounce up and down in time to the beat because the compression has been applied to the overall mix, rather than component parts!


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: Bernard
Date: 05 Jun 07 - 09:19 AM

Yup - and I take issue with the claim that "Music Really Is Getting Louder".

No IT ISN'T!!

Audio compression flattens out the dynamics, but the playback equipment can only play it back at the sound level it is capable of producing!

You cannot push a digital signal beyond 0dB (full volume), and all an audio compressor (or 'Normaliser') can do is to bring as much of the track up to 0dB as possible.

This may trick the ear into believing it is louder, because quieter bits are now as loud as the loud bits. But you cannot push the signal beyond 'full volume'... a more powerful amplifier (and appropriately matched speakers) is the ONLY way to make the signal louder!

It's the difference between 'actual' and 'perceived'...

I'm afraid the HiFi buffs are talking twaddle again! Remember when they insisted you had to connect special speaker wire the right way round for it to work properly? But loudspeakers use AC current, not DC, so it simply cannot make any difference!


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 05 Jun 07 - 09:04 AM

btw.. i've been searching for an influential article
that was circulating round musicians forums a few years ago..
cant remember the name of the auther[a veteran sound guy]

but links can probably be located here..


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 05 Jun 07 - 08:53 AM

all the more reason why its esssential to properly archive origional
vintage master tapes [and multitracks]..

its really not good enough to say

"oh well the tapes disintegrated into a mush of mildew & rust..
but we can always master a CD from a mint vinyll LP!!!"


not much use if the LPs were over-compressed,
riddled with distortion from knackered worn out metal pressing stamps
and pressed badly onto cheap noisy recycled vinyll..


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: treewind
Date: 05 Jun 07 - 08:42 AM

Now I've read the Times article - wot I said, innit!

It was going fine until it got to this point:
"Downloading has exacerbated the effect. Songs are compressed once again into digital files before being sold on iTunes and similar sites. The reduction in quality is so marked that"

Whoa there - totally different application of the word compression, serious confusion results.
Low bit rate MP3s and WMAs are also a sound quality problem, but a different one from the dynamic range compression that's being done on pop CDs.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD sound - has anyone noticed this??
From: treewind
Date: 05 Jun 07 - 08:25 AM

Yes indeed, it's too much compression, especially at the mastering stage.
The top professional audio engineers all know it's happening and hate it, but it's driven by the bands and their marketing people who all want their CDs to be as loud as possible because that makes more (short term) impact on the radio or when played in sequence with other CDs. Except now they're ALL squashed to death, you have to do it or everyone wonders why your CD sounds so quiet and weedy.

It's also the reason why BBC radio 3 seems so quiet. It's about the only radio station that doesn't compress its output (not much any way, maybe a bit of peak limiting). Classic FM sounds weidrly relentless and in-your-face by comparison.

Interestingly, to get best results through the compressors used on radio, you need to start with a CD with less or no compression - then the broadcast compressor will actually do a better job of making it all sound louder.

The only thing it has to do with digital technology is that the multiband compression techniques that are used, and phase rotation, and a whole load of other tricks (see Robert Orban's articles on how it's done) are relatively easy to implement digitally.

Anahata


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