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Mario Martinez

PlayClassics master file giveaway for CA members

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Listened thru the normalized and earlier filtered Rock files a number of times tonight trying to pick up on the differences. It's hard for me to put into words but I prefer the sound of the filtered files over the normalized myself. The normalized just seem to have lost some "edge or detail" to me. It may be the better dynamics of the earlier files that catches my ear, I don't know. There also seems to be slightly better detail in the bass guitar, again they just seem to have lost a bit of the detail in the string attack.

JMHO


"The gullibility of audiophiles is what astonishes me the most, even after all these years. How is it possible, how did it ever happen, that they trust fairy-tale purveyors and mystic gurus more than reliable sources of scientific information?"

Peter Aczel - The Audio Critic

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I have been listening to the 'normalized and filtered' version of the Rock recording and I think that Mario has achieve a nice tonal and dynamic balance and the sound is very good, even if it still sounds more like "live" than to a studio recording.

 

I think high-passing some of the "bloom" and long decay of the bottom end helps because the sound becomes "drier" and apparently "faster" whilst adding some dynamic 'compression' and making the sound louder increases a subjective feel of "presence" and gives the sound more "punch"...

If I am not mistaken most rock recordings tend to have a slightly brighter overall balance and a recessed upper-bass/lower-midrange but we are now deviating from a 'truthful' or documental approach.

 

The Tindersticks' track that I mentioned previously has quite a slow tempo and the "bloom" and long decay don't "hurt" as much.

 

 

As for the Drums, I prefer the non-'normalised' version.

 

 

I too would like to listen to 'filtered' but not 'normalized' versions of the Flamenco tracks if that's not too much work.

 

 

Cheers,

Ricardo


"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira Pascoaes

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"normalised" drum track 3

For my personal taste, the cymbals and drums are now balanced, with the gain of the former being raised relatively much higher now. At the present level, more details are being heard and I would say this track is a real test for an audio system's high, mid and low frequency capability. The drum set sounds so real to me!! I think this track is especially useful for assessing the transient response of an audio system--the rise and decay. Also imaging of the drum set is of proper size. I think many of the high end systems I have come across won't be able to pass both of these counts.

BTW, the overall gain is higher; for the "after measurement" version, I set the level to -7 and for this new one, I need to reduce it to -9.

This track displaced the Sheffield Lab drum record track which is now to be reserved for comparing with its direct to disc uncle only.

Listening to the different versions, I have learned from Mario how a recording could sound so differently by applying different adjustments.

If Mario gives the flamenco track the same "normalisation", I think it may become another gem.

 

The volume of the "normalized" file is 8dB louder than the volume of the "after measurement" file. You said you were playing the "after measurement" file at -7dB. You would need to play the "normalized" file at -15dB to be able to compare them at the same level. Instead you are playing the "normalized" file at -9dB so you are raising the volume relative to the "after measurement" file by 6dB. That is why you are hearing more of it. If you could play the "after measurement" version at -1dB you would hear just as much. So the key thing here is how powerful your system is. If your system was powerful enough to play the "after measurement" file at realistic volume levels then you would have no need for the "normalized" version.

 

This is from post number #41 at the begining of this thread:

 

The Truthful Masters do not have any dynamic range compression. They do have a little less volume but they have the full dynamic range of the performance and the pure sound of the take.

 

We also offer Normalized MP3 files. These MP3 files do sound as loud as you would expect but they do have a little bit of dynamic range compression.

 

We offer both files for this particular reason.

 

The Truthful Masters are best for critical listening on audiophile systems. You may have to bring up the level 7dB or 8dB more than usual but you will get the sound as pure as it gets.

 

The MP3 files are a trade off, you can enjoy them on small systems or louder environments but they do have the drawbacks of dynamic range compression.

 

As an example of this, if I am not mistaken, Sal is listening on headphones. He should be able to raise the volume on the "after measurement" file as loud as he wants. So when he plays the "normalized" file he does not get any benefit from the extra gain on it but he does get all the drawbacks of the dynamic range compression. That is why he prefers the "after measurement" file:

 

Listened thru the normalized and earlier filtered Rock files a number of times tonight trying to pick up on the differences. It's hard for me to put into words but I prefer the sound of the filtered files over the normalized myself. The normalized just seem to have lost some "edge or detail" to me. It may be the better dynamics of the earlier files that catches my ear, I don't know. There also seems to be slightly better detail in the bass guitar, again they just seem to have lost a bit of the detail in the string attack.

JMHO

Edited by Mario Martinez

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So far we have an "after measurement" file with the full dynamic range of the performance and a "normalized" file with a low cut filter and a little bit of dynamic range compression. I think we can safely use the "normalized" file as our "Normalized Master", but I think the "after measurement" file can still be improved to become a better "Truthful Master".

 

We never use low cut filters on our classical music recordings. The response of our hall is supposed to be flat to the bottom of the spectrum and our mics are placed far enough from the instruments not to be affected by the proximity effect. The problem with this rock instruments is (again) how loud they are. Even though our mics are placed away from the instruments with levels this loud we could be suffering from this proximity effect.

 

The purpose of applying the low cut filters to the "normalized" file was to help reduce the dynamic range. The amount of energy under 100Hz was so huge that after applying the low cut filter by itself (without any dynamic range compression) I had already obtained 2dB of headroom on the file. That alone makes me think that we are in fact suffering from this proximity effect so applying this low cut filter to the "after measurement" file would actually bring us closer to the true sound of the instruments. If this is so, then we would have a better "Truthful Master" plus we would be able to raise the volume by 2dB without the use of any dynamic range compression.

 

I will apply these low cut filters to the "after measurement" and post as soon as I have them :)

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The volume of the "normalized" file is 8dB louder than the volume of the "after measurement" file. You said you were playing the "after measurement" file at -7dB. You would need to play the "normalized" file at -15dB to be able to compare them at the same level. Instead you are playing the "normalized" file at -9dB so you are raising the volume relative to the "after measurement" file by 6dB. That is why you are hearing more of it. If you could play the "after measurement" version at -1dB you would hear just as much. So the key thing here is how powerful your system is. If your system was powerful enough to play the "after measurement" file at realistic volume levels then you would have no need for the "normalized" version.

 

This is from post number #41 at the begining of this thread:

 

 

 

As an example of this, if I am not mistaken, Sal is listening on headphones. He should be able to raise the volume on the "after measurement" file as loud as he wants. So when he plays the "normalized" file he does not get any benefit from the extra gain on it but he does get all the drawbacks of the dynamic range compression. That is why he prefers the "after measurement" file:

 

You are exactly correct Mario. As I said I suspected the better dynamics were the cause of my preference. The level control on my DC-1 DAC-HP Amp has a digital readout supposedly calibrated in db, I raised the "after measurement" playback level by 8 db according to the readout. Sounded about right to me?


"The gullibility of audiophiles is what astonishes me the most, even after all these years. How is it possible, how did it ever happen, that they trust fairy-tale purveyors and mystic gurus more than reliable sources of scientific information?"

Peter Aczel - The Audio Critic

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So far we have an "after measurement" file with the full dynamic range of the performance and a "normalized" file with a low cut filter and a little bit of dynamic range compression. I think we can safely use the "normalized" file as our "Normalized Master", but I think the "after measurement" file can still be improved to become a better "Truthful Master".

 

We never use low cut filters on our classical music recordings. The response of our hall is supposed to be flat to the bottom of the spectrum and our mics are placed far enough from the instruments not to be affected by the proximity effect. The problem with this rock instruments is (again) how loud they are. Even though our mics are placed away from the instruments with levels this loud we could be suffering from this proximity effect.

 

The purpose of applying the low cut filters to the "normalized" file was to help reduce the dynamic range. The amount of energy under 100Hz was so huge that after applying the low cut filter by itself (without any dynamic range compression) I had already obtained 2dB of headroom on the file. That alone makes me think that we are in fact suffering from this proximity effect so applying this low cut filter to the "after measurement" file would actually bring us closer to the true sound of the instruments. If this is so, then we would have a better "Truthful Master" plus we would be able to raise the volume by 2dB without the use of any dynamic range compression.

 

I will apply these low cut filters to the "after measurement" and post as soon as I have them :)

 

This should be interesting to listen to.

My guess is that some of the sub-100Hz energy comes from room gain (and distant mic'ing) and not just that which is direct-radiated from the bass guitar amplifier or the kick-drum; that could explain the "bloom" and the subjective impression of "lingering" or "dragging" lows...

 

Classical music is my preferred genre and accounts for 90% of what I listen to and I find that your set-up and the resulting Truthful Master™ sound is perfect for solo or small group music.

I also listen to vintage 50's and 60's jazz and ethnic/traditional music more than rock/pop; judging from the Flamenco recording I would confidently say that the Truthful Master™ method is also adequate for recording it.

Jazz might work but you'd probably have to add high-pass filtering to the "after measurement".

 

Best,

Ricardo


"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira Pascoaes

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Got a chance to listen to the Normalized rock master. It sounds more congested than the previous version. I guess the reduction in DR shows up in my system and this version sounded more "muddy".

 

The better hi-res remasters of old rock (Beatles, Chicago, Derek & The D's, etc.) are not compressed at all and sound great. Of course, they used to build small isolation areas around drums etc. in the studio during live takes. The best live rock recordings I have heard are primarily from stadiums or amphitheaters.

 

It has to be tough to get the balance of the amplified instruments correct in your space. As mentioned above it seems ideal for small combo acoustic recording. Still like the drums though!

 

Thanks again, Mario


 

Analog:  VPI Scoutmaster / Shelter 501MkII, Sony XRD1 HD FM, Nakamichi BX-300  Music Server:  i7-6700K/Asus RTX2080 OC Gaming, HQPlayer

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Digital Add-ons:  Uptone JS-2s and LPS-1s, ISO REGENS     NAA:  NUCs (2), SoTM SMS-200 Ultra / tX-USB Ultra / Network Switch Clock Mod

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The better hi-res remasters of old rock (Beatles, Chicago, Derek & The D's, etc.) are not compressed at all and sound great.

 

I could be wrong but I find that very hard to believe.

Could you point me to the source of your information?

 

R


"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira Pascoaes

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I could be wrong but I find that very hard to believe.

Could you point me to the source of your information?

 

R

 

Example: Chicago - CTA - Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is 192/24

 

CTA - Does Anybody Really Know.png

 

Sorry it's a small picture. I can show you a bunch more.

 

You should be more careful, I've seen you jump to the wrong conclusion a bunch of times! LOL

Edited by Solstice380
typo

 

Analog:  VPI Scoutmaster / Shelter 501MkII, Sony XRD1 HD FM, Nakamichi BX-300  Music Server:  i7-6700K/Asus RTX2080 OC Gaming, HQPlayer

DACs:  dCS Debussy, Lampizator Golden Atlantic, McIntosh D150 / MCT450 CD/SACD

Digital Add-ons:  Uptone JS-2s and LPS-1s, ISO REGENS     NAA:  NUCs (2), SoTM SMS-200 Ultra / tX-USB Ultra / Network Switch Clock Mod

Preamp:  McIntosh C500P (SS)   Amp:  McIntosh MC452

Speakers:  Wilson Yvette    Signal Cables:  Transparent Ultra Gen V    Power Cables:  Shunyata and PS Audio

GIK Room Treatments   PS Audio P10 AC Regenerators (2)  Dedicated 20 AMP AC circuit

 

 

 

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Thank you Mario for explaining the gain difference in regard to the drum track.

I just wonder whether the gain reading of my gear has correct calibration or not.

The reading that I have merely comes from the Digital to Digital Converter that is based on xCore USB Audio 2.0 with a XMOS internal clock. The gain setting shows up in MIDI, one for left channel and one for right. This is where and how I set them.

The Iberia, flamenco, and soprano tracks, I play them at -20. But drum track versions at -7 whilst the "normalised" one at -9.

I am unable to try the "after measurement" track at -1 because at this level, I am afraid the ribbon tweeters may be damaged and also the amps for the quasi ribbon midrange drivers that go down to low ohms. Some tweeters broke already and 10 stereo amps have been wiped out.

The listening level that I usually set is quite loud as compared to many other audiophiles. And at demo sessions, some said the sound was too loud but to me that was only slightly loud. For example, the Goldmund Apologue speakers when a track was played at full output, I only considered it slightly loud whilst many others complained.

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Thank you Mario for explaining the gain difference in regard to the drum track.

I just wonder whether the gain reading of my gear has correct calibration or not.

The reading that I have merely comes from the Digital to Digital Converter that is based on xCore USB Audio 2.0 with a XMOS internal clock. The gain setting shows up in MIDI, one for left channel and one for right. This is where and how I set them.

The Iberia, flamenco, and soprano tracks, I play them at -20. But drum track versions at -7 whilst the "normalised" one at -9.

I am unable to try the "after measurement" track at -1 because at this level, I am afraid the ribbon tweeters may be damaged and also the amps for the quasi ribbon midrange drivers that go down to low ohms. Some tweeters broke already and 10 stereo amps have been wiped out.

The listening level that I usually set is quite loud as compared to many other audiophiles. And at demo sessions, some said the sound was too loud but to me that was only slightly loud. For example, the Goldmund Apologue speakers when a track was played at full output, I only considered it slightly loud whilst many others complained.

Thank you very much for that beautifull Piano music. I have been looking for some very good Classical Guitar work any one have a list?

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I am afraid the ribbon tweeters may be damaged and also the amps for the quasi ribbon midrange drivers that go down to low ohms. Some tweeters broke already and 10 stereo amps have been wiped out.

The listening level that I usually set is quite loud as compared to many other audiophiles. And at demo sessions, some said the sound was too loud but to me that was only slightly loud. For example, the Goldmund Apologue speakers when a track was played at full output, I only considered it slightly loud whilst many others complained.

Dang, 10 amps and a handful of speakers? Time for a set of good horns! Better look at the new JBL Studio Reference M2s or something in their class.


"The gullibility of audiophiles is what astonishes me the most, even after all these years. How is it possible, how did it ever happen, that they trust fairy-tale purveyors and mystic gurus more than reliable sources of scientific information?"

Peter Aczel - The Audio Critic

no-mqa-sm.jpg

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Thank you Mario for explaining the gain difference in regard to the drum track.

I just wonder whether the gain reading of my gear has correct calibration or not.

The reading that I have merely comes from the Digital to Digital Converter that is based on xCore USB Audio 2.0 with a XMOS internal clock. The gain setting shows up in MIDI, one for left channel and one for right. This is where and how I set them.

The Iberia, flamenco, and soprano tracks, I play them at -20. But drum track versions at -7 whilst the "normalised" one at -9.

I am unable to try the "after measurement" track at -1 because at this level, I am afraid the ribbon tweeters may be damaged and also the amps for the quasi ribbon midrange drivers that go down to low ohms. Some tweeters broke already and 10 stereo amps have been wiped out.

The listening level that I usually set is quite loud as compared to many other audiophiles. And at demo sessions, some said the sound was too loud but to me that was only slightly loud. For example, the Goldmund Apologue speakers when a track was played at full output, I only considered it slightly loud whilst many others complained.

 

 

Hi Francis,

 

you can always try to play the normalized version at -15 and compare it to the after measurement at -7. It the cymbals have the same level then MIDI should be talking dB.

 

If you do this and you still like the balance better on the normalized version that would be good news. My guess then would be you liked the normalized version better because of the low cut filter not because of the limiter. That low cut filter may be the cause for you perceiving a better balance between cymbals and drums thus making it sound more natural to you.

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Dang, 10 amps and a handful of speakers? Time for a set of good horns! Better look at the new JBL Studio Reference M2s or something in their class.

I like horn speakers also.

Several years ago I had the opportunity to listen to Avant Garde Trio with 2 bass stacks for 2 sessions. The first one was with my computer and DAC. The speakers were driven by Kondo tube amps and pre amp of the same brand.

The second session was LP based, with Kondo turntable, going into the same Kondo tube gear. I brought over numerous direct to discs, from Sheffield, Crystal Clear, M&K and Japanese RCA.

I would say the sound was better than that from JBLs that I had listened to previously.

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Hi Francis,

 

you can always try to play the normalized version at -15 and compare it to the after measurement at -7. It the cymbals have the same level then MIDI should be talking dB.

 

If you do this and you still like the balance better on the normalized version that would be good news. My guess then would be you liked the normalized version better because of the low cut filter not because of the limiter. That low cut filter may be the cause for you perceiving a better balance between cymbals and drums thus making it sound more natural to you.

Thanks Mario.

I tried your suggestion just now, with "normalised" played at -15 and "after measurement" at -7. A/B them 4 times.

The snare and cymbal of the "after measurement" at -7 sounded discernibly softer than they were in the "normalised" at -15. The kick drum was louder, punchier and forward in the "after measurement" at -7 compared with that of "normalised at -15.

I take your point in regard to the limiter and the low cut filter. I was unable to perceive any limiter effect on the high frequencies but because the overall gain was set at -9, I heard even more details of the cymbals and high hat. The "normalised" version at -9 tallies more with my personal preference of a drum set.

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The normalized versions sound better to me. More like what I expect Rock to sound like, but still having that unique sound Mario's process gives us.


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS >SOtM Lan Isolator>Bricasti M5 Network Player >Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Could you run that track through Audioleak? Your graphic doesn't seem to have a scale.

 

R

 

Howdy R, First my apologies for a snarky response - bad day at the office! We all sometimes throw out opinion like it is fact. I need to watch myself too.

 

Just D/L'd AudioLEAK and first time using it so would appreciate your insight on the results. It does look like a good DR on these files I checked: (I don't use foobar either)

 

CTA - Does Anybody Really Know... 192/24

CTA Does Anybody AudioLEAK.png

 

Tom Petty - Refugee (96/24from Blu-ray)

Tom Petty Refugee AudioLEAK.png

 

ZZ Top - I Thank You 192/24

ZZ Top I Thank You AudioLEAK.png

 

Let me know what you think!


 

Analog:  VPI Scoutmaster / Shelter 501MkII, Sony XRD1 HD FM, Nakamichi BX-300  Music Server:  i7-6700K/Asus RTX2080 OC Gaming, HQPlayer

DACs:  dCS Debussy, Lampizator Golden Atlantic, McIntosh D150 / MCT450 CD/SACD

Digital Add-ons:  Uptone JS-2s and LPS-1s, ISO REGENS     NAA:  NUCs (2), SoTM SMS-200 Ultra / tX-USB Ultra / Network Switch Clock Mod

Preamp:  McIntosh C500P (SS)   Amp:  McIntosh MC452

Speakers:  Wilson Yvette    Signal Cables:  Transparent Ultra Gen V    Power Cables:  Shunyata and PS Audio

GIK Room Treatments   PS Audio P10 AC Regenerators (2)  Dedicated 20 AMP AC circuit

 

 

 

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Howdy R, First my apologies for a snarky response - bad day at the office! We all sometimes throw out opinion like it is fact. I need to watch myself too.

 

Just D/L'd AudioLEAK and first time using it so would appreciate your insight on the results. It does look like a good DR on these files I checked: (I don't use foobar either)

 

Let me know what you think!

 

Hi,

 

Thanks for posting...and I did mention I could be wrong. :)

I still have my doubts that no dynamic compression has been used (if I am not mistaken it should be used to balance the dynamic range of the different instruments and vocals) but it looks like they made a nice work with the mastering.

 

Next time you use AudioLeak try to pull the graph on the right outwards to expand it:

 

2cdxtme.png

 

PlayClassics - Flamenco track 3

 

 

If you are analysing classical music recordings you will probably have to toggle the grey arrow at the left bottom of the graph (above ±/m:s) to expand the dB scale to 69dB:

 

hwd25u.jpg

 

Berlioz: Lélio [inbal, RSO Frankfurt] - Denon CD (link for expanded version)

 

 

R


"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira Pascoaes

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Thanks R for the tips on AL. I'll poke around in it some more.

 

Agreed, it's hard to tell that there was "no" compression but at least it wasn't heavy handed.


 

Analog:  VPI Scoutmaster / Shelter 501MkII, Sony XRD1 HD FM, Nakamichi BX-300  Music Server:  i7-6700K/Asus RTX2080 OC Gaming, HQPlayer

DACs:  dCS Debussy, Lampizator Golden Atlantic, McIntosh D150 / MCT450 CD/SACD

Digital Add-ons:  Uptone JS-2s and LPS-1s, ISO REGENS     NAA:  NUCs (2), SoTM SMS-200 Ultra / tX-USB Ultra / Network Switch Clock Mod

Preamp:  McIntosh C500P (SS)   Amp:  McIntosh MC452

Speakers:  Wilson Yvette    Signal Cables:  Transparent Ultra Gen V    Power Cables:  Shunyata and PS Audio

GIK Room Treatments   PS Audio P10 AC Regenerators (2)  Dedicated 20 AMP AC circuit

 

 

 

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