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The Environmental thread + Conventional (HI-FI) wisdom is almost always invariably wrong

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20 minutes ago, Paul R said:

That is one of those articles that has a lot of truth in it. So much that one has difficulty separating out the silliness, I think. One of those cognitive bias’ he is so intent upon pointing out is that a soundstage must extend “behind” a set of speakers. This is, of course, kinda cool. But all “soundstage” is built upon illusion. I fail to see how that particular illusion is more important than any other, save as a preference. There are people who care less about soundstage than, for instance, the sound of a violin. Heck, there are people that prefer mono recordings, and find “depth” in those recordings.

 

To me, most mono recordings seem “small” - however there are arguments that a mono recording sounds closer to reality than stereo. 

 

Also, the idea of the absolute sound is just as illusory. Even at a concert in the best venue, where you are sitting is going to make an enormous difference in what you hear. Also, the fact you can see the performance makes a really huge difference. Visual + Auditory perception is never equal to just auditory perception. 

 

A good article, but too many opinions presented as facts, and too much experience presented as the reason those opinions must be facts. Experience is incredibly valuable, but does not make opinion fact. They can be incredibly useful however, perhaps in the same way that Newtonian calculations are useful?  They miss the underlying reality a bit, but are good enough to get good results in the everyday world? 

 

 

Your assessment mostly matches my analysis.

 

The things that I find most noteworthy in this piece are the reference to a lack of healthy references and to a growing trend of moving the goals towards accessory effects instead of focusing on the qualities that form the core of instrument and vocal sound thus of music. And then there's the depressing subject of audio relativism...

 

But I'm not sure that "there are arguments that a mono recording sounds closer to reality than stereo."


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

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Warning: this post probably won't make much sense.

 

This one is for fun, for @accwai, also taken from the web. :S

 

DSC00499.thumb.JPG.aa01ede7de339dd66d2d71588a8fa6b5.JPG

 

100% crop of the one upfront :

 

DSC00499a.thumb.JPG.dbcca49c5b4a4fb83b049ed8cca0f210.JPG

 

(don't forget to zoom in because this is still more than half of a meter wide at 96DPI or so)

 

I'll stop wasting bandwidth now.

 

Anyway this was about not using an AA filter and not needing any processing - different from what your photos require, as far as I can see  e.g. the one in the mountains. Also :

Once you are used to what sharpening does, you can't avoid the painstaking "too much sparkle" of it.

I am not 100% sure that you did this to your orchids as well, but it seems so. Here's an example which may look similar but where no sharpening was applied at all:

 

So this is just reality and next we may wonder whether we like that reality or not (the basil seems to suffer a little).

DSC00493a.thumb.JPG.58465ae077f3cfdca128a24c07161b4f.JPGDSC00493b.JPG.81e59ab9521119d95785d6ed93bdb7bf.JPG

 

What we may also get from this, is that a too pinpointed focus gives a too shallow picture of the whole. Think sweetspot. IOW, I am under the impression that these (my) photos hurt more than that they are beautiful. Palpable but wrong to the brain. Still, with more depth of field things may even become more hazy because now I (my brain) will not be able to focus on something automatically.

 

16 minutes ago, Paul R said:

Also, the fact you can see the performance makes a really huge difference. Visual + Auditory perception is never equal to just auditory perception. 

 

So envision that you are in front of a large orchestra and with eyes closed you want to focus on this beautiful woman violinist (violin section counts 7). Would it work ?

Would it NOT work with eyes open ?

IOW, our playback system must help us a little in focusing. This is just one aspect of things we could think about. How to let that work is something else, but in my experiences all aids which broaden the sound stage artificially (like ByBees) only confuse (which is logic in the end). It is nice at first (wow, a REAL church ?!?) but it is tiring as hell.

 

I see I jump from the one to the other. But that happens when there is just so much to think about and improve upon.

 


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1 hour ago, Paul R said:

But all “soundstage” is built upon illusion.

 

I don't agree with that much; :)

With everything I incur for over here regarding "sound stage", referring to sounds or instruments in the room playing (through two loudspeakers), two persons could be in a very different part of the room (say 20ft apart), them both pointing at the same position where a sound or instrument is heard. Obviously this does not work throughout (say it requires special sounds) but it is the beginning of the untruth in the sound stage being an illusion.

 

Something else is that I don't sense the illusion at  all, when deliberately changing e.g. depth, which really can be too much as well. First, however, you must observe those individual sounds and experience how physical they are. Once that starts to happen, you can also sense/feel/"see" how energy won't get lost and how a super flat sound stage bears way too much energy to be happy about (apart from the flatness). I think I described that in the Lush^2 thread, with that one coincidentally found configuration incurring for this. Super dense and uncomfortable sound.

Now assumed you believe me that this happens, can you try to explain to me how it would be an illusion ? this is just physics. Physics with sound waves which are a bit less visible (unless you smoke a lot), but not difficult to understand.

 

Much more difficult to understand is how Mr Wang or Wong of whatever 's sugar cubes can so enormously widen the sound stage. But once that hurdle has been taken (just don't try to understand it), it is again easy to see how all vaguens (gets vague / confused) instead of being pin pointed. It is the opposite of dense, and also not good.

 

IMO illusion starts to happen when all sounds so good that you get drunk on the (sweet)spot because of adrenaline levels and things can't sound wrong any more. Personally I take that into account too and try not to be too excited. Fact is that it is allowed to be excited because the sheer fact that everything sounds so good "today" is because "today" a change was applied and it works out (apparently). Adrenaline level is now a measure in itself.

 

Of course I live in voodoo land. But Paul, in the days you couldn't hear a difference in anything whatsoever ((as you told yourself) I hope that changed by now) and I already did for a couple of years, I proceeded and proceeded on it. The experience grows and grows. And it can only get better of it.

 

Anyway, I really wonder how people see sound perception as illusions, while all what happens is that we process frequencies and phase angles with two ears and a bit of brains capable of that and two sources as radiators also capable of that. And this in sheer 3D when the frequencies are high enough (which they are not for audio - just saying).

 

PS: Maybe how we perceive a violin as a violin is an illusion or make-up. But I don't think the sound stage is an illusion. Mind you, the "stage" as a technical aspect. Who you see on it and how is again something else. For example, if I hear an actually beautiful electric bass playing punk riffs, I envision the (English) guy standing there almost moveless apart from moving his right hand up and down, etc. etc. This can only work if I first perceive the bass and its wood as how it really is/was - the other matters I imagine with it. Of course this is all derived from how Iggy Pop ever back smashed a plant to pieces when you and me were programming PDP11's (OK, a couple of years after that but with a lot of lust for life). So yes, much of it is illusion. But sound stage as such ... I don't think so.

Blahblah


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LOL - in the sense you mean Peter, I can agree it is not illusion.

 

However, in the broader sense — all the sounds emanating from those speakers are essentially point sources. That trumpet playing 3 feet behind the speaker, and the violin playing 2ft in front of it on the left are illusions. Technical tricks, as the speakers are not beaming the sound to those points before it originates it. 

 

I do not think we are localizing the sound in the same way as we would in a real performance, though the result may be similar. I think we learn that skill — hearing a soundstage — from listening to  stereo recordings, and it is made feasible by the bass, parts of which are far less directional than treble sounds.

 

Also, people who cannot hear or perceive a soundstage from stereo often seem able to localize sounds, and “see” a soundstage better from multichannel setups. I seems to intuitively make sense though, as that is closer to the way we localize sounds in nature. 

 

Depth, I believe is all related to timing, or rather phase differentials. (Which is another way of saying timing.) I believe this is the same mechanism that creates right to left soundstage. Be it illusion, real, or both, depending upon perspective. 🤪 

 

So there is sound theory for a cable being able to affect depth, or effect soundstage, etc. Arguable, but a sound basis. Again, I agree it is a real effect, but I think that effect produces an auditory illusion of soundstage and depth.  A most enjoyable illusion, but not one that I am sure measures fidelity. 

 

You know a heck of a lot more about the subject, and especially how to manipulate it in hardware or software than I do though. 

 

 

 


Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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To my knowlegde it is an illusion in the sense that, based on the sounds as received by our hearing constructs it into a soundstage in your brain. Our ability to hear left- right is obvious. Our hearing of depth is a bit more difficult as our intrinsic ability to objectivily determine a distance is limited. However with additional info such as real life experiences like visits to a concert hall, our brain is basically performing an additional depth "guestimation" .

 

 

 

 

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12 minutes ago, esldude said:

Everyone knows stereo was just a marketing gimmick to sale twice as many of everything.  With mono you don't have mixed perspectives.  Just one single point of purity sampling an original event.  With stereo it all becomes a mess.  You pick up so much of the room it is like noise between you and the music.  Multi-channel is even worse.   Why would you want to listen to the room and to space when you could just hear music. Stereo succeeded upon marketing the idea we have two ears so we need two channels.  Multi-channel has failed because we don't have multiple ears, just two.  

 

 

 

 

🙄   🤔     🤪

No, i do not know this. Having had contact with medical specialist and others who researcher the way we hear, stereo is not a gimmick. The whole technical stuff around this phenomenon of stereo had a very high degree of gimmick though.

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3 hours ago, Paul R said:

LOL - in the sense you mean Peter, I can agree it is not illusion.

 

However, in the broader sense — all the sounds emanating from those speakers are essentially point sources. That trumpet playing 3 feet behind the speaker, and the violin playing 2ft in front of it on the left are illusions. Technical tricks, as the speakers are not beaming the sound to those points before it originates it. 

 

I do not think we are localizing the sound in the same way as we would in a real performance, though the result may be similar. I think we learn that skill — hearing a soundstage — from listening to  stereo recordings, and it is made feasible by the bass, parts of which are far less directional than treble sounds.

 

Also, people who cannot hear or perceive a soundstage from stereo often seem able to localize sounds, and “see” a soundstage better from multichannel setups. I seems to intuitively make sense though, as that is closer to the way we localize sounds in nature. 

 

Depth, I believe is all related to timing, or rather phase differentials. (Which is another way of saying timing.) I believe this is the same mechanism that creates right to left soundstage. Be it illusion, real, or both, depending upon perspective. 🤪 

 

So there is sound theory for a cable being able to affect depth, or effect soundstage, etc. Arguable, but a sound basis. Again, I agree it is a real effect, but I think that effect produces an auditory illusion of soundstage and depth.  A most enjoyable illusion, but not one that I am sure measures fidelity. 

 

You know a heck of a lot more about the subject, and especially how to manipulate it in hardware or software than I do though. 

 

 

 

 

A few concepts taken from Stereophile's glossary so that everyone knows what I'm talking about:

 

soundstaging, soundstage presentation The accuracy with which a reproducing system conveys audible information about the size, shape, and acoustical characteristics of the original recording space and the placement of the performers within it.

imaging The measure of a system's ability to float stable and specific phantom images, reproducing the original sizes and locations of the instruments across the soundstage.
stereo imaging The production of stable, specific phantom images of correct localization and width.
focus The quality of being clearly defined, with sharply outlined phantom images. Focus has also been described as the enhanced ability to hear the brief moments of silence between the musical impulses in reproduced sound.
 
Assuming that this is what soundstage means to both you and @PeterSt perhaps we can should distinguish between real stereo soundstage from fabricated soundstage.
The former is (optimally) achieved by positioning a pair of mics in a space with natural acoustic reverberation at a reasonable distance from the source or sources. Differences in amplitude, phase and room cues will provide information regarding the location of those sources.
The studio production is a close-mic'ed, multi-track affair, a composite made of several mono takes performed in semi-anechoic conditions which are devoid of any room information, and there wasn't a single original event. During mixing/production each track is pan-potted (like a balance control) into position, EQ'ed to achieve best relative balance between sound sources, compressed, level adjusted. I imagine that to create a more distant source one must add more reverb, bring down the presence region and perhaps roll-off at least the top a tad, maybe add a fraction of delay.
 
I agree with Paul that stereo soundstage should be seen as an illusion or trick because the speakers cannot recreate the original soundfield.
 
I agree with Peter that more room interference will affect imaging focus and drastically reduce the system's ability to recreate the original ambience when listening to real stereo recordings. Studio productions may on the other hand benefit from a bit of boundary reflection if the recording is two dry (lacking in reverberation).
 
And just as the sound engineer can make up a more or less convincing soundstage, so can the audio equipment designer, by manipulating frequency response, harmonic distortion, phase, dispersion, etc.
 
The write up that we are discussing focuses on this subject of equipment intentionally not reproducing the signal that it's being fed and of people expecting or not being able to recognise these departures from naturalness or realism.

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

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there are ways to recover a lot of information from an image (computational photography) and from an audio recording too

 

you will see a lot more of this in the future


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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30 minutes ago, JanRSmit said:

No, i do not know this. Having had contact with medical specialist and others who researcher the way we hear, stereo is not a gimmick. The whole technical stuff around this phenomenon of stereo had a very high degree of gimmick though.

Sure it is.  Ask these specialists about phantom images.  Is that like phantom pain?

 

Phantom images are perception of sound in a location where there is no sound.  What could you call that other than an aural illusion. 


To paraphrase Rick James, "sighted listening is a helluva drug".

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8 minutes ago, esldude said:

Sure it is.  Ask these specialists about phantom images.  Is that like phantom pain?

 

Phantom images are perception of sound in a location where there is no sound.  What could you call that other than an aural illusion. 

 

Don't you mean no sound source?

It's not like we're hearing voices in our heads. 😋


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

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12 hours ago, semente said:

This image, taken from the web, compares the corner sharpness of 4 Canon lenses.

How can a "superbly tuned setup" improve on a bad recording such as what you get from the 17-40?

It just can't.

 

 

 

Where this analogy does not match up to audio is that a technically poor recording will still have a high level of information, which is usually "buried" in the noise of those imperfections - one's ear/brain can't cope with unravelling this when the system playback then adds its own layer of muck. Also, I seem to remember that "perfectly blurred" images can in fact be unblurred to some degree by clever algorithms; so perhaps there is good ovelap there as well.

 

I've been amazed over the years at how well this works. Nellie Melba recordings, at the dawn of recording, done with incredibly crude technology; usually sound somewhat absurd - I've heard these come to life, the voice sounds huge, with beautiful tone, you understand why she was considered so special - the accompanying piano, well behind her, can be clearly "seen", as a real instrument. Yes, the noise levels are horrendous, but it doesn't matter; you can "see past" that with ease.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Ahhh, Mankind ... Porsche intellect, Trabant emotions ...

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If your speakers and electronics are good enough , it is even possible to get very realistic sound from well recorded TV shows and movies from just 2 front speakers.
Several years ago, there was an episode of the local Soapie " Home and Away" where an injured person was adrift in a small boat in the "ocean" , where you could even hear the water lapping around the boat from all directions.

 This was from Dolby Surround encoding, without a Dolby decoder being used.

 With another well recorded movie that I was watching, my son came to my room and asked me where the running water was coming from.


"If you can't hear the difference between an original CD and a copy of your CD,

you might as well give up your career as a tester. The difference between a reconstituted FLAC and full size WAV is much less than that, but it does exist. - Cookie Marenco"

 

PROFILE UPDATED 18-06-2019

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5 minutes ago, fas42 said:

 

Where this analogy does not match up to audio is that a technically poor recording will still have a high level of information, which is usually "buried" in the noise of those imperfections - one's ear/brain can't cope with unravelling this when the system playback then adds its own layer of muck. Also, I seem to remember that "perfectly blurred" images can in fact be unblurred to some degree by clever algorithms; so perhaps there is good ovelap there as well.

 

I've been amazed over the years at how well this works. Nellie Melba recordings, at the dawn of recording, done with incredibly crude technology; usually sound somewhat absurd - I've heard these come to life, the voice sounds huge, with beautiful tone, you understand why she was considered so special - the accompanying piano, well behind her, can be clearly "seen", as a real instrument. Yes, the noise levels are horrendous, but it doesn't matter; you can "see past" that with ease. 

 

What's that word.................🤔.................obstinate. That's it.


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

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9 hours ago, Paul R said:

That is one of those articles that has a lot of truth in it. So much that one has difficulty separating out the silliness, I think. One of those cognitive bias’ he is so intent upon pointing out is that a soundstage must extend “behind” a set of speakers. This is, of course, kinda cool. But all “soundstage” is built upon illusion. I fail to see how that particular illusion is more important than any other, save as a preference. There are people who care less about soundstage than, for instance, the sound of a violin. Heck, there are people that prefer mono recordings, and find “depth” in those recordings.

 

Ummm, the soundstage is always behind the speakers - that is, it starts at the vertical plane where the speakers are located, and exists back from that. Every recording I have meets this criterion when the rig is working at a good level - I'll ignore the "silly" efforts where phase is deliberately manipulated to make things fly around the room, etc.

 

Mono recordings most certainly convey depth; recordings over a 100 years old make it quite easy to judge how far back a particular instrument is, say.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Ahhh, Mankind ... Porsche intellect, Trabant emotions ...

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6 minutes ago, fas42 said:

Ummm, the soundstage is always behind the speakers - that is, it starts at the vertical plane where the speakers are located, and exists back from that.

 

 That is far from my experience, and also that of quite a few DIY Audio members who found that with the almost perfectly measuring amplifier designs from renowned Audio designer Douglas Self, that the sound mainly came from directly between the speakers, but didn't extend past the other sides of them. OR come from behind them.


"If you can't hear the difference between an original CD and a copy of your CD,

you might as well give up your career as a tester. The difference between a reconstituted FLAC and full size WAV is much less than that, but it does exist. - Cookie Marenco"

 

PROFILE UPDATED 18-06-2019

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6 hours ago, jhwalker said:

 

I am one of those people who do not hear "depth" or "soundstage" from any stereo system I've ever heard - sound is, for me, very much on a two-dimensional plane running through the two speakers.  Multichannel systems, OTOH, give me a very palpable sense of depth and "reality" that no stereo system can.

 

I wish I could "learn" to hear the depth out of a two speaker systems :/ but has never happened for me.

 

 

 

You don't have to "learn it", most likely - the way it works for me is, that below a critical quality level, the presentation is just boring ol' fashioned stereo, the same thing I was hearing in the 1960's - no matter how spectacular some of the technical aspects may be. But once you hit that crucial SQ a switch flicks over in the brain, and a full 3D, holographic, whatever you want to call it, vista opens up - and it's impossible to 'unsee' this illusion, no matter how you place yourself in the room, etc.

 

Some people may find that this never happens, because of the wiring in their brains - but the quality of what they're hearing should make up for this, to a large degree, ^_^.

 

BTW, I've got a tree which is dangerously uprooted from strong winds we just had, that I have to deal with - so my input here is going to be minimal, for the moment.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Ahhh, Mankind ... Porsche intellect, Trabant emotions ...

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1 hour ago, fas42 said:

 

You don't have to "learn it", most likely - the way it works for me is, that below a critical quality level, the presentation is just boring ol' fashioned stereo, the same thing I was hearing in the 1960's - no matter how spectacular some of the technical aspects may be. But once you hit that crucial SQ a switch flicks over in the brain, and a full 3D, holographic, whatever you want to call it, vista opens up - and it's impossible to 'unsee' this illusion, no matter how you place yourself in the room, etc.

 

Some people may find that this never happens, because of the wiring in their brains - but the quality of what they're hearing should make up for this, to a large degree, ^_^.

 

BTW, I've got a tree which is dangerously uprooted from strong winds we just had, that I have to deal with - so my input here is going to be minimal, for the moment.

 

I can't see 3D, either :/ I may just be too "literal" in my thinking and sensing.


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3 hours ago, crenca said:

What I really don't get is when folks who mostly listen to modern pop/rock/studio creations and who focus on soundstage.  It's one thing to talk seek a soundstage for real acoustic music played in real acoustic space, but music that is the creation of studio mix boards and computers ???

 

Doesn't matter if all the acoustics are created artificially - the aural clues still carry the same sort of information that the "real thing" contains; and how this translates, to the ears, is that there are frequently multiple acoustics overlaying each other. The different sound elements exist in different spaces in front of you, and you can switch your focus between these spaces, with ease - if the producer is highly creative then the whole thing becomes like a circus spectacular, with myriad sub-events within the whole, each having their own aural integrity.

 

This might sound as if it could become too messy - but in real life situations we deal with these listening situations constantly; and have no trouble switching our attention between each sound element, whether a few inches away, or half a mile distant. And that's how it works on 'manufactured' soundscapes.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Ahhh, Mankind ... Porsche intellect, Trabant emotions ...

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