Hi Steve:

To this day, things that measure the same sound differently to different trained ears. This is why 
TRAINED EARS are essential to the ART of audio engineering, just as clear understanding of those 
measurements, how they were derived, why they matter and why they don't catch every difference in 
two sounds are essential to the CRAFT of audio engineering. Meter-jockeys and knob-turners never do 
good audio, but I've known plenty of people without engineering degrees and who can't understand the 
typical AES Journal article who can make great recordings and mixes, because they have good ears and 
good taste.

Then there are measureable problems that go unfixed until people complain about hearing the obvious 
problem (and at first get ridiculed for it). The latest example of this is jitter from USB 
(computer) sources into DACs. It took one or two generations of DACs for equipment makers to admit 
that the bits coming down the USB were full of jitter. Then many DACs started adding re-clocking and 
jitter-rejection and all of a sudden what came out of the computer sounded as good as what came out 
of a well-designed disc player (or better). To this day, some USB outboard DAW interfaces don't 
address this issue.

The longer I work in digital audio, the more I think that (properly managed) bits are bits, but 
there are all kinds of problems that happen often between bits and moving air. It's the same on the 
other end, it's not so easy to turn moving air into electrical current into bits. So the "bits is 
bits" statement is dumb, it doesn't matter if you can copy the same bits all over the place, put 
them on various playback media, stream them over the interwebs, etc. What matters is, did the bits 
capture what was in front of the mic and, when the bits get played back, do the sound like what was 
in front of the mic? In between (when bits is bits) is the easy part!

BTW, anyone who thinks ANY analog recording chain was "transparent" or output equalled input has tin 
ears or is in denial. All sorts of things happen with disk recording and even with the best tape 
recorders, and both media are far from "silent" or "transparent." Eye-opening at ARSC Rochester was 
Nick Bergh's demonstration of how good the audio was going to a Victor cutterhead in the 1930s. Find 
me a pressed 78 or even most laquers or metal parts from that era that have that kind of fidelity. 
In later times (70s and 80s), I heard enough pre-tape and post-tape monitoring in professional 
studios to know how much tape changes the sound. To my ears, digital is much less sound-changing but 
you have to be very careful that you capture everything on the front end and then play it all back 
on the back end. The fact that DAC and ADC design and technologies continue to evolve proves my 

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Steve Smolian" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2013 11:55 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Audibility of 44/16 ?

>I recall being present at a couple such presentations to the National AES by Lipschitz, etc.
> There may have been tests and papers by others on this general topic, but my recollection of 
> Lipschitz' work boiled down to, paraphrased, "If you ear tells you one thing and the meters 
> another, believe the latter."  The overall concept was known as "bits is bits."  His work was not 
> held in high regard by some.
> In L's  defense, at the time there were few devices available to the engineering public that could 
> measure digital phenomena in sufficient detail to quantify what was going on with sufficient 
> accuracy to allow results specific enough to be meaningful.
> In those days, my seat companion at such events was a acoustical psychologist (not the right term) 
> to whom I would describe what I was hearing and which he would then relate to known phenomena in 
> his academic world.  L's tests were clearly based on an a priori conclusion to us both.
> More interesting was a shootout of a bunch of data compression algorhythms from maybe 10 parties. 
> Even on conference speakers the losses in each were almost all clearly audible.  There was only 
> one- I think Philips in an early iteration- that had a minor but passable loss.  Again, he didn't 
> need me to tell him what was what.  In part, the different flawed approaches were a reflection of 
> what was patentable.  Late 1970s?   I can't recall his name at the moment either.  I think he died 
> in the 1990s.
> Steve Smolian
> -----Original Message----- 
> From: Goran Finnberg
> Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2013 3:28 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [ARSCLIST] Audibility of 44/16 ?
> And now for some fun reading:
> -- 
> Best regards,
> Goran Finnberg
> The Mastering Room AB
> Goteborg
> Sweden
> E-mail: [log in to unmask]
> Learn from the mistakes of others, you can never live long enough to
> make them all yourself.    -   John Luther
> (\__/)
> (='.'=)
> (")_(") Smurfen:RIP