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  • Originally posted by Slartifartblast View Post
    You'll find presbycusis kicks in fairly soon after 18 and it's bye-bye to those beloved high frequencies audio fools love to harp on about and as for musicians and recording studio professionals most of the ones I've met have serious hearing loss from either playing in band or being around them all the time
    AFAIK, audio fools would talk about realistic (or smooth) vs harsh high frequencies.
    This has actually less to do with absolute high frequency but rather with the representation of the overtones of instruments and voices (to me at least). The human ear/brain does not distinguish these frequencies from the fundamental frequency (note) but meshes it together. You don't have to hear very high frequencies to hear the effects.
    These overtones differentiate expensive top level instruments (violins, wood instruments, guitars, ...) and entry level student instruments.
    Highly compressed audio can make them sound similar.
    However, compression works because today many people would have a hard time distinguishing a Stradivari from a few hundred dollar violin from Amazon even if it is played in front of them.

    Originally posted by rickst29 View Post
    If anyone else cares to comment about the stereo soundstage and quality of instruments on these various stations...
    IMO, stereo soundstage is somewhat subjective that has to do with speaker quality, speaker placement, and room properties.

    I agree with the comments on instruments. Personally, I tend to go lossless for acoustic, jazz, and classic music, I'm ok with lossy files for pop, and it depends on the album for rock.
    I find orchestral music to be the most difficult music to play since some, especially older records, where not that well recorded and I simply don't have a concert hall at home for a realistic listening experience.
    Also, I find that today's pop is mostly (over)engineered to play reasonable on mediocre car radios and it lightyears from good audio engineering, e.g. Stockfish records.

    Comment


    • I just want to break this down a little bit.

      48,000 Hz is the max that anyone needs for listening to music because it's more than double what people are able to actually hear.

      When using lower and lower compression, the highest frequencies are decreased, creating a sort of compression that causes the "harsh" sounding high frequencies. For instance, if you had snare hits that were in the 12,000 to 20,000+ range and you compress that, what is left is just the lower 12,000 Hz which sounds harsh because the audio waveform loses a part of its shape. Audibly you're hearing something being "harsh" and visually you're seeing an altered waveform.

      Personally, I find that opus at 192kb/s or higher as indistinguishable 99% of the time. There might be the odd song or moment in a song but generally it is excellent and you need audio equipment that is capable of faithfully representing the sounds.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by mppix View Post
        AFAIK, audio fools would talk about realistic (or smooth) vs harsh high frequencies.
        This has actually less to do with absolute high frequency but rather with the representation of the overtones of instruments and voices (to me at least). The human ear/brain does not distinguish these frequencies from the fundamental frequency (note) but meshes it together. You don't have to hear very high frequencies to hear the effects.
        These overtones differentiate expensive top level instruments (violins, wood instruments, guitars, ...) and entry level student instruments.
        Highly compressed audio can make them sound similar.
        You explained this better than I did, great post.
        However, compression works because today many people would have a hard time distinguishing a Stradivari from a few hundred dollar violin from Amazon even if it is played in front of them.
        Originally posted by mppix View Post
        IMO, stereo soundstage is somewhat subjective that has to do with speaker quality, speaker placement, and room properties.
        I agree with the comments on instruments. Personally, I tend to go lossless for acoustic, jazz, and classic music, I'm ok with lossy files for pop, and it depends on the album for rock.
        I find orchestral music to be the most difficult music to play since some, especially older records, where not that well recorded and I simply don't have a concert hall at home for a realistic listening experience.
        Also, I find that today's pop is mostly (over)engineered to play reasonable on mediocre car radios and it lightyears from good audio engineering, e.g. Stockfish records.
        I strongly agree with all of this. I am especially "spoiled" in judging the reproduction of spacial qualities (both the stereo "width" and the "depth" of a stage), of Orchestra recordings: I have usually been sitting in the second best spot for listening (right next to the conductor), and I am often asked to stop playing and step into the audience areas to judge microphone balance for large-scale performances being boosted by PA systems. At home, I have two set-ups which are arranged to create good sound, with pretty good speakers. One is much better than the other -primarily because of room properties - and I use it for all of my critical listening.

        I have just one nit-pick: IMO, some of the best-sounding classical recordings of all time date from the late 1950s and early 1960s, under the label "RCA Living Stereo". They used a much smaller number of microphones than most "full-orchestra" recording engineers use these days, but they placed them with care and mixed them together with amazing results.

        Your post was great, better than any I have made. Thank you!

        Comment


        • Originally posted by lyamc View Post
          I just want to break this down a little bit.
          48,000 Hz is the max that anyone needs for listening to music because it's more than double what people are able to actually hear.
          Agreed. Just to nit-pick a bit, sampling and hearing frequency are not the same.
          We can can only encode (analog) frequencies up to half the sampling frequency by the Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem. As a result, 44.1kHz, i.e. 48kHz, can only encode frequencies up to 22.1kHz, i.e. 24kHz, in theory. Higher frequencies must be filtered to avoid aliasing.
          48kHz seems to be the new norm in audio equipment (default in Linux?) and files are now often encoded as such because people don't want their DACs to resample the music. I am not sure if there is a specific reason why the industry adopted 48kHz..

          Originally posted by lyamc View Post
          When using lower and lower compression, the highest frequencies are decreased, creating a sort of compression that causes the "harsh" sounding high frequencies. For instance, if you had snare hits that were in the 12,000 to 20,000+ range and you compress that, what is left is just the lower 12,000 Hz which sounds harsh because the audio waveform loses a part of its shape. Audibly you're hearing something being "harsh" and visually you're seeing an altered waveform.

          Personally, I find that opus at 192kb/s or higher as indistinguishable 99% of the time. There might be the odd song or moment in a song but generally it is excellent and you need audio equipment that is capable of faithfully representing the sounds.
          Definitely. Personally, I'm fine with lossless for local music but, now that I think about it, opus could be a really good option for plecs/emby remote streaming.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by rickst29 View Post
            I strongly agree with all of this. I am especially "spoiled" in judging the reproduction of spacial qualities (both the stereo "width" and the "depth" of a stage), of Orchestra recordings: I have usually been sitting in the second best spot for listening (right next to the conductor), and I am often asked to stop playing and step into the audience areas to judge microphone balance for large-scale performances being boosted by PA systems. At home, I have two set-ups which are arranged to create good sound, with pretty good speakers. One is much better than the other -primarily because of room properties - and I use it for all of my critical listening.
            This is the part that I rarely - if ever - get quite right on my audio setups. For some reason, I am always left somewhat underwhelmed from many orchestra recordings. I know how it sounds on stage (former player) and as a listener but I don't think I can get anywhere close at home. It is quite possible that I simply won't accept that speakers + living room can sound as good as an orchestra + opera house. There are other explanations of course. One could be that some orchestral recordings are too high-fidelity, i.e. they would need to be replayed in an opera house for "proper" listening. Another could be that the typical background noise of my home of ~30-40dB (city center) is simply too high or that the room(s) are not well enough (audio) conditioned..
            I really don't know but I'd certainly appreciate any suggestions.

            Originally posted by rickst29 View Post
            I have just one nit-pick: IMO, some of the best-sounding classical recordings of all time date from the late 1950s and early 1960s, under the label "RCA Living Stereo". They used a much smaller number of microphones than most "full-orchestra" recording engineers use these days, but they placed them with care and mixed them together with amazing results.
            Thank you for the suggestions! I'll have a look at their records. Is there any particular one that stands out?
            Last edited by mppix; 07-09-2020, 07:12 PM.

            Comment


            • I try to keep as much of my music in two forms: FLAC for storage and for my own listening pleasure, and Opus for everyone else.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by mppix View Post
                This is the part that I rarely - if ever - get quite right on my audio setups. For some reason, I am always left somewhat underwhelmed from many orchestra recordings. I know how it sounds on stage (former player) and as a listener but I don't think I can get anywhere close at home. It is quite possible that I simply won't accept that speakers + living room can sound as good as an orchestra + opera house. There are other explanations of course. One could be that some orchestral recordings are too high-fidelity, i.e. they would need to be replayed in an opera house for "proper" listening.
                I feel that there are only a few concert halls and opera houses where the audience sound can approach the sound which the Conductor hears. I prefer the Conductor's position. One city in which i have been especially frustrated is Chicago. I lived there during the best years of the Solti tenure, but sound for the audience in "Symphony Hall" (form even the best seat, first row of a lower balcony straight back) is vastly inferior to sound within its predecessor, the "Chicago Auditorium". Both still exist, and the larger "Chicago Auditorium" is still used for visiting Pop/Rock groups which are capable of pulling in a huge audience. The problem for the CSO was the size of the Auditorium, and the quality of sound from "cheap" seats. At the time it was built, the CSO absolutely could not support audiences of nearly 4000 persons to fill the hall - and people rapidly caught on to the fact that sound from the cheap seats was incredible virtually as good as sound from the most expensive seats.

                For home stereo: I would first advise that a rectangular LONG room, with relatively high ceilings, be chosen. If the ceiling is completely blank, then a couple of accoustic panels can be used to help break up standing wave patterns. (Think "disruption" first, more than "absorption".) Any windows must be covered, preferably with light-weight curtains (rather than heavy curtains which absorb everything) - but they need to have pleats. Mini-blinds don't work, because the creases are too close together (and they're also the wrong orientation, parallel with sound waves). My other suggestions depend on the characteristics of your speakers. If you have high-quality speakers of "bookshelf size", get them mostly outside of oversized shelves (stands work nicely, pulling about 3 feet from the back wall). Start with speakers placed about 20-25% away from long sides of the room, wiith 10% of width cosnsumed by the speakers themselves and about 40-45% of the room width in between.

                The left speaker should aim very slightly to the right of the target listening spot, with the right speaker aiming very slightly to the left. This is an important adjustment, and might end up pointing directly at the target seat as you begin to adjust. In my "nearly perfect" room, the up-front speakers and the listening seat form an isosceles triangle, with the sides only 5% longer than the base between the speakers. But I like a conductor's stage width - much more broad than any audience member would receive in a hall. You can lengthen the sides, putting the "optimized seat location" another foot or two further back into the room, to emulate concert hall seating.

                The sides of the room need to be "broken up" just slightly, with light-weight pleated curtains (in the case of glass windows) or any possible decorative and wall items which you have. The back wall must also not be totally blank, it needs to have considerable absorption and deflection of sound.

                Floor standing speakers? The first rule is (probably) to get them st least a few inches off the floor, which can create some pretty awful reflections. I've "tuned" some stereo installations with high-end and heavy floor standing speakers - getting them off the floor made a great difference. My own speakers are mid-range bookshelves, these guys: http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...SRM2/srm2.html
                Originally posted by mppix View Post
                Thank you for the suggestions! I'll have a look at their records. Is there any particular one that stands out?
                Iif I must choose only one, then it must be this, in the "hybrid" SACD release (which also can be played on a regular CD): http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/...album_id=90661

                1.
                Pictures at an Exhibition for Orchestra (orchestrated by Ravel) by Modest Mussorgsky
                Conductor: Fritz Reiner
                Orchestra/Ensemble: Chicago Symphony Orchestra
                Period: 20th Century
                Written: 1874/1922; Russia
                Date of Recording: 12/07/1957
                Venue: Orchestra Hal, Chicago, Illinois
                Length: 33 Minutes 5 Secs.

                It also includes some other tasty bits of Russian music.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by rickst29 View Post
                  I feel that there are only a few concert halls and opera houses where the audience sound can approach the sound which the Conductor hears. I prefer the Conductor's position. One city in which i have been especially frustrated is Chicago. I lived there during the best years of the Solti tenure, but sound for the audience in "Symphony Hall" (form even the best seat, first row of a lower balcony straight back) is vastly inferior to sound within its predecessor, the "Chicago Auditorium". Both still exist, and the larger "Chicago Auditorium" is still used for visiting Pop/Rock groups which are capable of pulling in a huge audience. The problem for the CSO was the size of the Auditorium, and the quality of sound from "cheap" seats. At the time it was built, the CSO absolutely could not support audiences of nearly 4000 persons to fill the hall - and people rapidly caught on to the fact that sound from the cheap seats was incredible virtually as good as sound from the most expensive seats.
                  While I have not been to the Symphony Auditorium, I have witnessed quite a few difficult designs. The one that stands out the most to me is Sydney's opera house..

                  Originally posted by rickst29 View Post
                  For home stereo: I would first advise that a rectangular LONG room, with relatively high ceilings, be chosen. If the ceiling is completely blank, then a couple of accoustic panels can be used to help break up standing wave patterns. (Think "disruption" first, more than "absorption".) Any windows must be covered, preferably with light-weight curtains (rather than heavy curtains which absorb everything) - but they need to have pleats. Mini-blinds don't work, because the creases are too close together (and they're also the wrong orientation, parallel with sound waves). My other suggestions depend on the characteristics of your speakers. If you have high-quality speakers of "bookshelf size", get them mostly outside of oversized shelves (stands work nicely, pulling about 3 feet from the back wall). Start with speakers placed about 20-25% away from long sides of the room, wiith 10% of width cosnsumed by the speakers themselves and about 40-45% of the room width in between.

                  The left speaker should aim very slightly to the right of the target listening spot, with the right speaker aiming very slightly to the left. This is an important adjustment, and might end up pointing directly at the target seat as you begin to adjust. In my "nearly perfect" room, the up-front speakers and the listening seat form an isosceles triangle, with the sides only 5% longer than the base between the speakers. But I like a conductor's stage width - much more broad than any audience member would receive in a hall. You can lengthen the sides, putting the "optimized seat location" another foot or two further back into the room, to emulate concert hall seating.

                  The sides of the room need to be "broken up" just slightly, with light-weight pleated curtains (in the case of glass windows) or any possible decorative and wall items which you have. The back wall must also not be totally blank, it needs to have considerable absorption and deflection of sound.

                  Floor standing speakers? The first rule is (probably) to get them st least a few inches off the floor, which can create some pretty awful reflections. I've "tuned" some stereo installations with high-end and heavy floor standing speakers - getting them off the floor made a great difference. My own speakers are mid-range bookshelves, these guys: http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...SRM2/srm2.html
                  Thank you, this is great advice - a reference to-do list really - for everybody that cares about audio.
                  I have similar bookshelves on stands about 3 feet from the wall; current main listening room is reasonably long with reasonably high sealing.
                  I probably have to address some standing waves issues with -as you suggest- disruption (hopefully without needing absorption). Just did the clapping test (again) and wasn't convinced... Let's see with what I can come up that has sufficient "wife approval factor".


                  Originally posted by rickst29 View Post
                  Iif I must choose only one, then it must be this, in the "hybrid" SACD release (which also can be played on a regular CD): http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/...album_id=90661
                  Thank you again for this suggestion. I agree, this really well recorded, I cannot believe I did not know the label. For now, I just have the youtube/opus version but CD is on order

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by mppix View Post
                    While I have not been to the Symphony Auditorium, I have witnessed quite a few difficult designs. The one that stands out the most to me is Sydney's opera house...
                    The Opera house looks great from the outside. Inside, we agree that the difficulties are overwhelming: Too small for staging Operas, very bad for players, and fairly poor for the audience. The Chicago Auditorium is one of the greatest masterpieces by Louis Sullivan (AKA "The father of the skyscaper"). It's Prairie School. As with the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, you can hear a pin dropped on stage from almost anywhere in the hall - except that the sound in Chicago is much more consistent from one location among a wider variety of audience locations.
                    Originally posted by mppix View Post
                    I have similar bookshelves on stands about 3 feet from the wall....
                    That could be a tiny bit too far from the rear wall; maybe try 2 feet? Thanks for your generous reply.

                    Comment

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