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ARSCLIST  January 2008

ARSCLIST January 2008

Subject:

Re: Ampex ATR-102 opinion (was MD5 Hash Generators

From:

Bruce Kinch <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 24 Jan 2008 18:15:24 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (388 lines)

Agreed. I hope Tom will stay in touch.

Bruce
On Jan 24, 2008, at 3:45 PM, Roderic G Stephens wrote:

> It strikes me that this has become a debate between
> two gentlemen who might better serve us by continuing
> off list until something concrete (like the music)
> occurs.  WMO,
> Rod Stephens
> --- Bruce Kinch <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> Hi Tom-
>>
>> Of course not.
>>
>> It is a discussion of your proposal. I find that
>> flawed in many ways,
>> some of which I addressed. However, you also had a
>> nice suggestion,
>> that there might be -just might be, of course- an
>> inverse in digital to
>> what you call analog euphony. I suggest we agree to
>> call that effect
>> "dysphony", and share the credit. If you are willing
>> to acknowledge
>> that perception as well as technical measurement
>> plays a role in the
>> experience of recorded music, I'm willing to join
>> you in a
>> presentation.
>>
>> I quite well understand that error correction,
>> rotational stability,
>> etc. have roles in assessing disc quality, even
>> sound quality per se. I
>> don't see how that correlates with a perception like
>>  "decent-sounding"
>> unless there is also a continuum from euphony to
>> dysphony to place such
>> a concept as a midpoint. As you note, some
>> distortions sound (i.e., are
>> perceived as) more euphonic than others (odd vs.
>> even harmonic, for
>> example), so it is no stretch to now say some sound
>> more dysphonic. If
>> you are old enough to have endured .00001% THD  70's
>> Japanese
>> transistor electronics as well as SET tube amps, you
>> know what I mean.
>>
>> Let me suggest we start a book club. Go to Amazon,
>> and buy any of these
>> titles:
>>
>> Music, The Brain, And Ecstasy: How Music Captures
>> Our Imagination-
>> Robert Jourdain
>> Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain- Oliver
>> Sacks
>> This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human
>> Obsession-Levitin
>>
>> We'll read it together and compare notes. I'm sure
>> they are all decent
>> reads. Maybe some others on the list could join us?
>>
>> In fact, if Jerry is willing to make sure the pages
>> are in the correct
>> order and count the typos, I'll buy him a copy too,
>> just so we can
>> trust but verify that what we read is not corrupted
>> by errors or
>> distortions of the original Word .doc.
>>
>> Bruce
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On Jan 24, 2008, at 4:56 AM, Tom Fine wrote:
>>
>>> OK, Bruce, so I take this as a "no" to Jerry's
>> offer?
>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Bruce Kinch"
>> <[log in to unmask]>
>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 11:10 PM
>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Ampex ATR-102 opinion (was
>> MD5 Hash Generators
>>>
>>>
>>>> Hi Tom-
>>>> On Jan 23, 2008, at 6:09 PM, Tom Fine wrote:
>>>>> Hi Bruce:
>>>>>
>>>>>> The logical fallacy here is to equate "disc
>> quality" with the
>>>>>> perception of music.
>>>>>
>>>>> Ah, yeah, that's the point for those of us who
>> must make a living
>>>>> dealing in facts.
>>>> Well, I'm retired, but I made my living dealing
>> with ideas, as a
>>>> college professor for 30 years. Does tend to
>> force the mind open.
>>>>>  I think most of us operate under the assumption
>> that the higher the
>>>>> disc quality (ie lack of digital errors and
>> mechanical stability),
>>>>> the more output = input.
>>>> Ah, an assumption is an idea. You have my
>> attention.
>>>>> As I've said repeatedly, if the input is of bad
>> sonic quality,
>>>>> digital media and digital conversion will
>> certainly preserve and not
>>>>> mask those flaws as much as older analog
>> technologies, which add
>>>>> distortions (some apparently very euphonic to
>> some people) and mask
>>>>> or "soften" some flaws at the input end (again,
>> this is found to be
>>>>> euphonic by some people).
>>>> Ah, but the same is true of bad input to analog,
>> so no points there.
>>>> Please look up euphonic in a dictionary. It is
>> not a swear. True,
>>>> distortions can sound good to some people,
>> there's a whole guitar
>>>> effects industry to prove it.  And as I noted at
>> the last CES, a lot
>>>> of digital demos relied on euphonic female vocal
>> recordings that my
>>>> dad would have filed under easy listening. I live
>> in a Diana
>>>> Krall-free zone now.
>>>>>  So I again submit that many of the "digital
>> sucks" crowd are
>>>>> igorantly confusing bad human craft and bad
>> human decisions on the
>>>>> input end with what they hear on the output end
>> and blaming the
>>>>> machine.
>>>> I have never said digital sucks (is sucks a
>> swear?), nor even bought
>>>> the tee shirt. Can you refer me to someone in
>> that crowd who has? If
>>>> not, please promise to stop using swears to color
>> an argument.
>>>>>
>>>>> But, let's see if we can put these different
>> world-views to some
>>>>> quantifiable testing.
>>>> How does one quantify ideas like world-views? My
>> students couldn't,
>>>> but they were just students.
>>>> Hitler's idea (or world-view if you please)
>> killed 6 million,
>>>> Kevorkian maybe a dozen who asked him to, but
>> kindly. The winner
>>>> is...?
>>>> Does a woman have a right to choose, or is
>> abortion murder? Big Bang
>>>> or Genesis? Coke or Pepsi?
>>>> Tom, the objective becomes subjective because
>> everyone has
>>>> preconceptions and biases. Makes the species
>> argumentative. You too.
>>>>> Bruce, I really want you to take Jerry's offer.
>> What's to be afraid
>>>>> of -- I think some very interesting things could
>> be learned by
>>>>> everyone involved and Jerry has made a very
>> generous offer of his
>>>>> time and equipment. I suggest we can use test
>> gears and test ears.
>>>> Tom, it might make more sense if you took the
>> test. You are probably
>>>> more used to the methodology, and would be more
>> surprised by anything
>>>> other than a null result. I might be bored, or
>> confused, but hardly
>>>> afraid.
>>>>>  You guys buy two copies of a few commercial
>> CD's -- choose a couple
>>>>> of titles each, and I think the tests would be
>> best if you chose
>>>>> something you're familiar with and consider a
>> decent-sounding
>>>>> recording.
>>>> Why? What does decent-sounding mean? Can you
>> quantify that, or are we
>>>> back in the realm of perception?
>>>>>  Keep one copy wrapped up or have it
>> dropped-shipped to Jerry (in
>>>>> other words, Jerry should test it right out of
>> the shrink-wrap, so
>>>>> it goes into his machines just like it came out
>> of the store). Take
>>>>> the other copies and apply these various
>> treatments, keeping careful
>>>>> notes as to what treatments were applied. I
>> think you'd want to
>>>>> stick to one type of treatment per disc but
>> maybe not? Let Jerry
>>>>> submit both discs to his rigorous tests (please
>> research Jerry's lab
>>>>> if you don't believe me that his tests are
>> rigorous).
>>>> Will Jerry's tests confirm the recordings are
>> decent-sounding? That
>>>> was the basis on which you would choose them, so
>> he must be able to
>>>> validate something that simple. Does the machine
>> export the results
>>>> to Amazon.coms review pages? Man would that be
>> cool!
>>>>> Then I would let a third party take possession
>> of the discs (trust
>>>>> and verify, ya know) and all of you make your
>> way to the ABX
>>>>> comparison setup of your choosing (there was a
>> very good one
>>>>> designed by the Boston Acoustic Society
>> described in a recent JAES
>>>>> article).
>>>> It's trust but verify, I think.
>>>> I am actually a past dues-paying member of the
>> BAS. Not without
>>>> preconceptions in my day, at least. Actually, the
>> decline in
>>>> membership back then correlated nicely with the
>> ascent of digital
>>>> recordings. Never figured that out until now.
>> Numbers don't lie, I
>>>> guess.
>>>>> Listen and find out first of all if there IS an
>> audible difference
>>>>> between treated and untreated discs. And if
>> there is, let everyone
>>>>> keep careful notes as to what they prefer. Then
>> let's compare the
>>>>> results with Jerry's scientific analysis of
>> things like error rates
>>>>> and mechanical stability. Perhaps we can learn a
>> few useful facts:
>>>>>
>>>>> 1. what variances in laser-disc interactions are
>> effected by
>>>>> polishing? Do they create higher or lower error
>> rates? Do they
>>>>> effect laser mechanics at all, and if so
>> positively or negatively
>>>>> vis-a-vis error rates? Is there an audible
>> difference in ABX testing
>>>>> between polished and unpolished discs?
>>>> I'm mostly interested in whether something gets
>> more decent-sounding
>>>> or not. Wasn't that part of the hypothesis, that
>> the discs were
>>>> decent sounding? There should be room for
>> improvement there.
>>>>>
>>>>> 2. does shaving the edge of a disc improve
>> stability? Does it effect
>>>>> error rates or laser-disc interactions? Is there
>> an audible
>>>>> difference in ABX testing?
>>>> Who knows, but does it sound better than decent?
>>>>>
>>>>> 3. I guess we should ask if degaussing outright
>> ruins a disc --
>>>>> Scott's experience seems to indicate yes but I
>> suspect the kind of
>>>>> degaussing sold as a "treatment" uses a much
>> less intense magnetic
>>>>> field. So, if the disc isn't outright ruined, is
>> the error rate or
>>>>> mechanical stability effected? Is there an
>> audible difference in ABX
>>>>> testing?
>>>> Scott seems to have one of the Dharma Initiative
>> degaussers that
>>>> imploded the hatch on Lost. But he heard a
>> difference, and you'd have
>>>> to bounce him off the panel as biased because of
>> it. Me too, I'm
>>>> afraid. Oops, I was afraid after all.
>>>> My law student daughter says most trials are
>> won/lost at voir dire.
>>>> True of ABX trials, too?
>>>>>
>>>>> 4. finally, and this would be the most
>> interesting factor to examine
>>>>> -- I dare say it fringes on a "perception" study
>> -- was there much 
>>>>> agreement about any differences in sound? This
>> would be particularly
>>>>> interesting and I'll certainly admit surprise if
>> there IS a
>>>>> statistically relevant perceived differences in
>> sound but no
>>>>> statistically relevant differences from Jerry's
>> tests. I doubt that
>>>>> will happen but I'm never saying never.
>>>> Wow, Tom, I've gotten you interested in
>> PERCEPTION! You are no longer
>>>> speaking in MEANINGLESS ABSOLUTES!  Like
>> BARNUMESQUE HOKUM!
>>>>>
>>>>> 5. this one is also very interesting, at least
>> to me -- are discs
>>>>> found to have higher error rates or less
>> mechanical stability in
>>>>> Jerry's tests preferred sonically in the ABX
>> tests? This gets into
>>>>> the question, are there euphonic "problems" in
>> digital systems akin
>>>>> to the harmonic distortion in tube gear that
>> some find euphonic?
>>>>> Again, I doubt this but again I'm never saying
>> never.
>>>> I think the word you are looking for we can
>> invent together right
>>>> here and now. You have suggested that digital
>> might be "dysphonic",
>>>> if I have the Greek right. Sure, probably not,
>> couldn't be, but maybe
>>>> we can at least copyright it. I can see the new
>> Sony ad: Perfect
>>>> sound forever, and now less Dysphonic (TM) than
>> ever, too! Royalties
>>>> beyond comprehension!
>>>>>
>>>>> So, what do you say guys? Let's see if we can
>> get the laboratory and
>>>>> the listening room to meet in the middle here. I
>> bet if someone
>>>>> forwards this thread to the BAS guys who wrote
>> that JAES article
>>>>> they'd be game to get a crowd together for ABX
>> testing. The only way
>>>>> we'll get answers is to do some testing. Jerry's
>> opened the door,
>>>>> Bruce you should walk through it.
>>>> Actually, Aldous Huxley opened the Doors of
>> Perception, I think. I
>>>> just can't remember if I actually walked through
>> them, must have been
>>>> back in the sixties, all a blur now. Worked for
>> Jim Morrison, though.
>>>> But obviously, we just want to ask different
>> questions. We are
>>>> looking for different answers. That is bias.
>>>>>
>>>>> Extra gravey -- this might make a very good ARSC
>> convention
>>>>> presentation.
>>>> Agreed.
>>>> How about From Euphonic Analog to Dysphonic
>> Digital: A new approach
>>>> to evaluating musical reproduction. Authors Fine
>> and Kinch
>>>> demonstrate their technique of dual-dimensional
>> audio testing.
>>>> Plotting measured results on the X axis (Accuracy
>> to Distortion) and
>>>> subjective musical pleasurability (Euphonic to
>> Dysphonic) on the Y
>>>> axis, the researchers create a scatter plot
>> revealing fundamental
>>>> differences between technologies, recordings, and
>> playback equipment.
>>>> When correlated to individual biases, greater
>> understanding of both
>>>> audiophillic and meter-mania disorders can be
>> derived.
>>>> Bruce
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>>
>

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