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CA Articles

This blog entry points to the list of articles I wrote for CA. I hope you enjoy them!   https://www.computeraudiophile.com/profile/8172-mitchco/?do=content&type=cms_records2&change_section=1  

mitchco

mitchco

 

The Importance of Timbre in Sound Reproduction Systems

Timbre definition from Wikipedia, “In music, timbre, also known as tone color, is the quality of a musical note or sound or tone that distinguishes different types of sound production, such as voices and musical instruments, string instruments, wind instruments, and percussion instruments. The physical characteristics of sound that determine the perception of timbre include spectrum and envelope. In psychoacoustics, timbre is also called tone quality and tone color.” I suggest reading the Wikipe

mitchco

mitchco

 

Sonic Signatures: The Art and the Science

I believe every piece of audio equipment has its own sonic signature. E.g. CD transports, cartridges, tone arms, turntables, preamps, amps, cross overs, speakers, interconnects, basically every component, part, and wire in (and around, e.g. power supplies) the audio signal path will have its own sonic signature, whether designed or not. Technically, a sonic signature is called a transfer function, but we will get to that shortly. I also believe there is a direct correlation between what we hea

mitchco

mitchco

 

Criteria to eval SQ of high res masters

As an ex recording/mixing engineer/producer, http://www.thepikes.com/bio here are a few thoughts with respect to evaluating high resolution masters for sound quality.   Unfortunately, for most recordings, especially multi-track, there are many, many steps/paths from the mic to the final master we listen to. Most folks I think would be surprised to see the workflow. But that is another post.   The criteria I use to eval music sound quality is:   1) Musical performance 1st. Ultimately, if

mitchco

mitchco

 

Speaker to Room Calibration Walkthrough

While visiting a friend in The Big Smoke recently, I had an opportunity to assist in tuning a set of DIY speakers to his critical listening environment. This is a walkthrough of what we did, how it sounded, and lessons learned. I tried to present this in a step by step format so if desired, by following the same steps, you could obtain similar results. Here is pic of my friend’s rig:     Let’s inventory the gear. The DIY satellite speakers are enclosed in a designed (using Thiel Small pa

mitchco

mitchco

 

16/44 vs 24/192 Experiment

Updated with more info on Audio DiffMaker, plus ABX listening tests.   Lots of discussion around this article: 24/192 Music Downloads...and why they make no sense http://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html   I decided to run a science experiment using Audio DiffMaker to compare 16/44 to 24/192 format of the same master from Soundkeeper Recordings: http://soundkeeperrecordings.com/format.htm   I have used Audio DiffMaker before to compare FLAC vs WAV and comparing two bit-perfec

mitchco

mitchco

 

JRiver vs JPLAY Test Results

Recommended reading first The reason is that I am not going to reiterate the baseline components and measurements of my test gear already covered in that post.   Here is a high level block diagram of my test setup:     On the left side is my HTPC with both JRiver MC 17 and JPLAY mini installed. The test FLAC file is the same Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Refugee at 24/96 that I have been using for my FLAC vs WAV tests.   JRiver is set up for bit perfect playback with no DSP, resampli

mitchco

mitchco

 

FLAC vs WAV Part 2 Final Results

In part 1, I used a null test technique to show that both FLAC and WAV (lossless) file formats are identical. In this post, I have expanded the null test to cover off playing the same FLAC and WAV files dynamically from JRiver and capturing the audio waveform after the Digital to Analog conversion and analog line output stage. Here is a high level block diagram of my test setup:     For playback, I am using the exact same original FLAC and converted (by JRiver) WAV file I used in Part 1. It

mitchco

mitchco

 

Evaluating Music Players – a proposal

Lots of discussion on the SQ of software music players on CA. I am a fan of correlating what I hear with what I measure and vice versa. In this post, I am proposing a way of measuring the difference between music players by expanding the “null test” I performed here http://www.computeraudiophile.com/blogs/FLAC-vs-WAV-vs-MP3-vs-M4A-Experiment   Rather than performing a null test on audio file formats, the single unit under test will be the music player, so when one music player is switched fo

mitchco

mitchco

 

What is the tone quality of your audiophile system?

Using the chart below, what subjective terms would you use to describe the tone quality (a.k.a. tone color or tone balance or timbre http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timbre) of your sound system at the listening position?         This chart, used by permission from Bob Katz, Mastering Engineer extraordinaire, http://www.digido.com/ shows the subjective terms we use to describe excess or deficiency of the various frequency ranges.   As an aside, there is an important underlying concept here

mitchco

mitchco

 

FLAC vs WAV vs MP3 vs M4A Experiment

I wanted to try an experiment of measuring any differences between various media file formats as described in the title. Consider this, if you are hearing a difference when you change media file formats (e.g. from FLAC to WAV), then the audio waveform must have changed, and if it is has changed, then that change can be measured. While the waveform pictures in this article are technical, it really is a case of which picture does not belong with the others.   If you are comparing media file fo

mitchco

mitchco

 

Compressors, Limiters, Loudness War, and Mastering Inception

Years ago, I was lucky enough to spend a decade as a live sound mixer and recording studio engineer in Western Canada. While most of my sound engineering experience was with rock bands, I had the opportunity to work with many talented musicians, recording/mixing many different types of music, from folk, country, jazz, choirs, and classical. I spent a quite a bit of time working with compressors and limiters, so I thought I would share some of my experiences with them, along with mixing and mas

mitchco

mitchco

 

A Rock n Roller’s Guide to Designing an Audiophile Sound System

Remember that feeling when you were at a concert or club and saw a band perform an awesome live show? The lights, sound, music, and crowd all moving as one. You could feel the music as much as you could hear it. It was loud, but not too loud, sounded clean, with good dynamics and punch. Good times. I wanted to design a high resolution (i.e. audiophile) sound system that reproduced that live sound experience in my listening room.   I want club and concert sound in my listening room via stre

mitchco

mitchco

 

Hear music the way it was intended to be reproduced - conclusion

If you have followed this series on a quest for proper timbre, I have reached a conclusion. From wikipedia, in psychoacoustics, timbre is also called tone quality and tone color. No question, music source, electronics, interconnects, power, etc., all have impact on timbre. However, the biggest factor on reproducing proper timbre, by orders of magnitude, is the speaker to room interface which is limited by small room acoustics: http://www.gcmstudio.com/acoustics/acoustics.html   I was lucky

mitchco

mitchco

 

Hear music the way it was intended to be reproduced – part 5

Now that we have a calibrated frequency response at the listening position, let’s look at the other part of the timbre (i.e. tone quality) equation which is the time domain. Sound in your listening room has 3 measurable dimensions: time, energy, and frequency. We have looked at frequency response, targeting the B&K house curve, and how it affects timbre. So how does the time domain in your listening room affect timbre?   As mentioned earlier, I had the privilege to work in many recordin

mitchco

mitchco

 

Hear music the way it was intended to be reproduced - part 4

This is Part 4 of a series on a quest to hear music the way it was intended to be reproduced. In the last 3 posts, we have “voiced” and calibrated our speakers to an equilateral triangle, took some frequency response measurements, analyzed the results, and introduced digital room correction (DRC). Let’s look at the frequency response measurement results and DRC in more detail. Is DRC ready for prime time? I think this post will show conclusively, yes, DRC is ready for audiophiles to take ful

mitchco

mitchco

 

Hear music the way it was intended to be reproduced - part 3

Now that my speakers are set up in an equilateral triangle, let’s take some frequency response measurements. First we need a calibrated microphone, software to perform the measurements, and a sound card. While there are several choices of measurement mics, acoustic measurement software, and sound cards, I will be using a MP-1r-KIT Acoustical measurement kit:" http://www.content.ibf-acoustic.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=30&products_id=35, Audiolense software: http://www.juicehifi.com/

mitchco

mitchco

 

Hear music the way it was intended to be reproduced - part 2

Part 1 is here. Thanks for your comments. Before we can measure the frequency response of your sound system at the listening position, we need to configure the speakers to the listening room. These set up steps are required in the quest to hear music the way it was intended to be reproduced – i.e. best effort timbre. This is the first part of a three part process. The three parts are setup, measure, and adjust. Then we iterate, sometimes a few times, sometimes more. It will cost you nothing but

mitchco

mitchco

 

Hear music the way it was intended to be reproduced - part 1

I love music, any kind of music really. As a former recording/mixing engineer/producer for 8 years, and lifetime audio freak, I had the privilege to record, mix, and master a wide variety of music. In this introductory post, we will look at the most important quality of reproducing music called, "timbre". Over a series of posts, the goal is to calibrate your sound system to be the most accurate reproducer of music for your ultimate listening pleasure :-)   In Wikipedia’s definition of timb

mitchco

mitchco

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