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Can Bad Recordings sound Good?


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8 minutes ago, gmgraves said:

Here’s the problem, Frank. Most of the people who post to these forums do not have “below par” rigs.

 

I have heard rigs which are spectacular on the "right recordings" - and disastrous on everything else - for years. That's not the point - I don't want to hear the 'seasoning' of the expensive equipment ... I want to hear what's on the recording ,,,

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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20 minutes ago, sandyk said:

Frank

Here this is with the YouTube 529kbps "hidden" Audio

Click on  " Read More" and you will also have access to the original YouTube Video with 125kbps .aac audio

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ek391tauf91n961/Dionne Warwick - Who Can I Turn To (Scepter Records 1965).m2t?dl=0

 

Gotta love NBN ... now, 🤪 ... must be how Dropbox works, but from the time I OK'ed where to save the 170 Meg file it took about a second for it to be there; remarkable! Now, that's service! 😁

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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3 minutes ago, fas42 said:

 

Gotta love NBN ... now, 🤪 ... must be how Dropbox works, but from the time I OK'ed where to save the 170 Meg file it took about a second for it to be there; remarkable! Now, that's service! 😁

 

Hmmm, VLC media player gives me sludge for the orchestral backing ... this is not a good sign - will look at it a bit more, via other tools.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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4 hours ago, fas42 said:

 

But subjectively, everything can change, dramatically - the flaw exists, but in another space ... the cocktail party effect kicks in, at full strength - and those "other voices talking in the room", disappear ...

 

 

3 hours ago, fas42 said:

 

The method [ASA] is only used to troubleshoot what the system is doing wrong - it has nothing to do with what I actually hear.

 

Frank you are contradicting yourself. you implied that the ASA/Cocktail Party effect makes the flaws disappear, then you claim it is just a troubleshooting method and has nothing to do with what you hear.

So we are led to believe that the flaws are there but you just can't hear them anymore and this has nothing whatsoever to do with ASA, right! It's magic !

 

 

 

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The "Bingo!" was that one day Magic Sound emerged - which I was able to manipulate with precise control - I could make it go away, and I could make it come back ... with complete reliability. 🙂

 

 

Confirming, then, It's magic !

 

3 hours ago, fas42 said:

 

This would make sense if I regularly came across high end rigs that got their act together ... but I haven't - I spent years chasing down the possibility that others were getting what I was getting ... but it wasn't there.

 

That's because high-end rigs are not magic 🤷‍♂️

 

Quote

 

 the mind is strongly disturbed when it gets clues that the reproduction is fake; it's no easy trick to "fool it".

 

What'da'ya mean it's not easy, you are the living proof 😁

Sound Minds Mind Sound

 

 

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In terms of how distortions (or lack of them) in the system enable us the hear or disregard distortions in the recording, there is some evidence in Archimago's recent "is high harmonic distortion in music audible" blind test.  (see links in post #261)

 

As mentioned some earlier posts, most modern hifi electronics exhibit very low levels of distortion.  Al lot of kit has measured THD in the 0.01 to 0.0001 range.  In fact, if you want significantly higher levels of THD, you almost need to purposely select kit that has it.

 

That said, in a "typical" system, the component with the highest level of distortion in almost certainly the speakers, and on top of this room interactions will add to the distortions from the speakers themselves.

 

Headphones should perform better, intrinsically lower distortion than a typical pair of full range speakers, and no issues of room interactions.  Plus there are some reasonably low cost headphone amps with very low levels of THD.

 

Back to Archimago's recent "is high harmonic distortion in music audible" blind test.  One clear indication from the results was that those that performed the test with headphones comfortably out performed those that performed the test with speakers only.  Indeed, the speaker only group overall failed to pick out the sample with 3.2% distortion as "worst".  Taking these results at face value, it would appear that a touch of distortion in the system actually masks the listener's ability to pick up THD in the recording, whereas the headphone listeners with lower overall THD in there actual listening apparatus did rather better.

Windows 10 PC, Roon, HQPlayer, SOtM sMS-200Ultra, tX-USBultra, Paul Hynes SR4 (x2), Mutec REF10, Mutec MC3+USB, Devialet 1000Pro, KEF Blade.  Plus Pro-Ject Signature 12 TT for playing my 'legacy' vinyl collection.

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13 minutes ago, Confused said:

Taking these results at face value, it would appear that a touch of distortion in the system actually masks the listener's ability to pick up THD in the recording, whereas the headphone listeners with lower overall THD in there actual listening apparatus did rather better

 

It took a survey by Archimago to tell us that ? :D

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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6 hours ago, gmgraves said:

The whole idea of “expensive equipment” is not to have ‘seasoning’, but rather to be as transparent as the state of the art allows. And I don’t want to listen to sub par recordings AT ALL! Remember, most of your ideas about the sound of your “rig” and your “method“ are all in your head.

 

Yes, that's the idea, not to have a system signature ...but it's recognised that the reality is very different - any audio show has as many sounds as there are systems ... if each were true to the recording then there would always be a clear, unique presentation, as one tried various setups, with the same track.

 

I aim to access that sound - the particular rig used is merely a tool for doing that; my method's purpose is to strip away the taint of the playback chain ... in that sense I'm pleased with how my current digital speakers are developing; there have been some solid moments when a nicely immersive soundscape begins to really form.

 

5 hours ago, Audiophile Neuroscience said:

Frank you are contradicting yourself. you implied that the ASA/Cocktail Party effect makes the flaws disappear, then you claim it is just a troubleshooting method and has nothing to do with what you hear.

 

Huhh?! I take the method to be referring to the fact that I listen for audible distortion, locate the cause of such, and mitigate it sufficiently - the result of applying that type of troubleshooting is that the ability of the brain to make sense of what it hears, ASA stuff, can switch on ... if I tune a car engine carefully, then I get more impressive acceleration ... the tuning is a different order of thing, from the improved acceleration, which is an experience.

 

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So we are led to believe that the flaws are there but you just can't hear them anymore and this has nothing whatsoever to do with ASA, right! It's magic !

 

ASA just happens to be the best explanation I've come across, so far, to explain what's going on ... that's all.

 

Quote

 

Confirming, then, It's magic !

 

Magic? I can make an audio system output spluttering noises, if I generate lots of arcing in the mains, by playing with a bad connection - is that magic? I can make a TT sound very different, by playing with the adjustments of the cartridge and tonearm - is that magic? The point is, that if one observes carefully, then the cause and effect relationships become clear - then you have understanding, and can control of the situation.

 

Quote

 

 

That's because high-end rigs are not magic 🤷‍♂️

 

 

What'da'ya mean it's not easy, you are the living proof 😁

 

It ain't easy ... never has been - I've burnt out several times on doing this stuff, including chucking it in entirely for more than 10 years - the buzz of getting it to happen does make it worthwhile; especially when you do it on a beer budget, 😁.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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8 hours ago, sandyk said:

 

It took a survey by Archimago to tell us that ? :D

Maybe, and it might depend on what you mean by "us".  I have seen it asserted that distortion in the playback chain will make distortion in the recording more apparent.  The results of the Archimago survey indicate that the opposite is true.

Windows 10 PC, Roon, HQPlayer, SOtM sMS-200Ultra, tX-USBultra, Paul Hynes SR4 (x2), Mutec REF10, Mutec MC3+USB, Devialet 1000Pro, KEF Blade.  Plus Pro-Ject Signature 12 TT for playing my 'legacy' vinyl collection.

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5 hours ago, Confused said:

Maybe, and it might depend on what you mean by "us".  I have seen it asserted that distortion in the playback chain will make distortion in the recording more apparent.  The results of the Archimago survey indicate that the opposite is true.

 

Depends on the type of distortion - 'pure' distortion, as in the case of being created by software using an algorithm, may be so "perfect" that the brain learns the pattern, and can nicely adapt to it. In the real world of a system dealing with all sorts of interference factors, and having internal misbehaviour from a variety of causes, the actual audible distortion may have a very chaotic character, which the brain can't adapt to.

 

That is, not appreciating that the nature of the distortion is vastly more important than any numbers one can produce, from simple testing, means that one never develops a decent understanding of what is important in getting top notch, subjective SQ.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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32 minutes ago, gmgraves said:

 

I (and any number of other contributors to this site) have been reading your endless posts about your “method” for years now, and while I cannot speak for others, I have come to the conclusion that the improvements (especially the scope and magnitude of those improvements) are figments of your imagination.

 

 

I never understand "FAS LOGIC" ..there has to be a starting point before there can be a debate?

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5 minutes ago, gmgraves said:

 

I know that’s what you believe, but the reasons why there are “as many sounds as there are systems” is mostly because speakers and rooms differ more than anything else. While I’m not saying that electronics don’t have sonic signatures, I am saying that compared to the differences in speakers, and room acoustics, these are fairly subtle. Modern electronics from most reputable high-end manufacturers are surprisingly much more similar Than they are different.

 

How it works out, I've found, is that the less the electronics area has been sorted, the more that changing the speakers, and the room, changes the subjective impression - as the tuning improves, the precise qualities of the speakers matter less and less ...there have been a number of times where the left channel, and the right channel have had completely different paths ... the source feeds a very different amplifier and speaker combo, on each side - and the wheels don't fall off, in terms of what one hears.

 

5 minutes ago, gmgraves said:

 

I (and any number of other contributors to this site) have been reading your endless posts about your “method” for years now, and while I cannot speak for others, I have come to the conclusion that the improvements (especially the scope and magnitude of those improvements) are figments of your imagination.

 

One has to appreciate that the brain can switch into another mode when listening - go from, "It's just another hifi" to "Wow, that sounds real!" - it's the mind that decides this, and you can't force it, by conscious thought. I was lucky enough to have a rig that went from one standard to the other, every day, those decades ago - I have an intimate, intuitive understanding of how this transition manifests.

 

Knowing this, one can recognise the signs when a setup is close - and just do enough to push it over the hurdle ...

 

5 minutes ago, gmgraves said:

Here’s the problem. Short of a complete redesign from the mains transformer to the topology of the circuit, there really isn’t anything you (or anybody else, for that matter) can do that would account for the profound magnitude of improvement that you endlessly assert. Your words simply aren’t credible.

 

 

Turns out that it's otherwise ... the mind triggers on certain anomalies in the sound - if they're there, the mind rejects the illusion - it can never happen. Using experience, one can nudge the most unlikely candidates to throw up highly credible sound ... simply by getting rid of those worst, in subjective importance, misdemeanours.

 

Just thought of what happened literally a couple of days ago - at the audio friend's home; his digital rig is now throwing up huge acoustic spaces on material like classical, and does an excellent job on historical recordings, that 1942 Prom's recording. But the Hendrix Blues disc just wasn't firing - there was something missing ... now, he also has a tiny Sony soundbar music maker, the "fit into your back pocket" type of thing - which he has tweaked. Zero bass of course, but does well in other areas. At the end of the listening session he fired it up, and lo and behold, it actually did a better job on one of those Hendrix tracks than the main rig! Specifically, the mid to treble area just were more true to the recording ... fascinating stuff ...

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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8 minutes ago, beerandmusic said:

 

I never understand "FAS LOGIC" ..there has to be a starting point before there can be a debate?

 

Because the logic, always, follows the experience ... anyone who has come across a rig that makes a recording you have heard a million times, become a magical experience has been exposed to what can happen ... the trick is to stop thinking that this can only occur in some mythical land, and say to yourself, "Hey, I'm going to make this happen for me!"

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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31 minutes ago, fas42 said:

 

Because the logic, always, follows the experience ... anyone who has come across a rig that makes a recording you have heard a million times, become a magical experience has been exposed to what can happen ... the trick is to stop thinking that this can only occur in some mythical land, and say to yourself, "Hey, I'm going to make this happen for me!"

 

I am looking forward to heaven too (wink)...or maybe you curl up to a loved one, and then everything is bliss...you definitely are riding some type of mojo, and when i find out what it is, i will be right there with you....reminds me of my favorite restaurant....I know they put some "magic juice" in their drinks, because every time I go there, i leave with a smile...no other drink anywhere does this to me.....i wish i knew what the hell they were using...i think they have "liquid love" that they sprinkle in there.

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16 minutes ago, gmgraves said:

IOW, you're just making this up as you go along....

 

No, I do my own experiments, and see what it tells me ... what Authority Figures say is The Truth means nothing, if it doesn't hold up when you try things.

 

Again, I want to extract every ounce of goodness out of every recording I come across - because that's where the real magic is 🙂 ... experiencing what the musicians created, without any filtering by the mechanism used to bring it to life.

 

It's too much of an unnecessary handicap to keep believing that "there are just bad recordings!" - this will always stop one from trying that little bit more, to squeeze that extra bit of integrity out of the playback chain ... the rewards are enormous if one can develop the right attitude, and approach, 😉.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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Magic? I can make an audio system output spluttering noises, if I generate lots of arcing in the mains, by playing with a bad connection - is that magic?

 

 

No its not magic - but its irrelevant strawman. I can make my system sound silent by pulling the power cord, so what.

 

13 hours ago, fas42 said:

 I take the method to be referring to the fact that I listen for audible distortion, locate the cause of such, and mitigate it sufficiently - the result of applying that type of troubleshooting is that the ability of the brain to make sense of what it hears, ASA stuff, can switch on ...

 

So, previously you said you used ASA to help you group good bits from bad bits to "troubleshoot" playback flaws (when we last spoke). Now you are back to saying "ASA stuff can switch on" after you mitigate flaws. You went off the latter explanation when I previously said ASA doesn't work that way and so you then favoured the troubleshooting angle. Lets forget the constant backflips and see what we are left with.

 

Recording flaws are there and will remain there despite 100% perfect tuning of your playback system.

 

You then listen to what's left and direct your brain to hear only good bits - magic happens at this point aka the magic is in your mind.

 

As said before, normal brains do not work in the magnitude you describe as magic - "a complete transformation - the groove of the piece switches on, and it becomes "effortless" to listen to ...".  To pull off such a feat I submit is not possible for normal brains and would be incredibly fatiguing to attempt. You cannot *eliminate* the flaw and if the flaw is substantial, you will hear it. Great effort would be required not to hear it. A normal brain cannot just distort reality to make it go away.

You describe it as "effortless"

AND YET....

 

13 hours ago, fas42 said:

It ain't easy ... never has been - I've burnt out several times on doing this stuff, including chucking it in entirely for more than 10 years

 

Yes, I am aware you will protest that the method is fatiguing but the result is sublime effortless listening. I put it to you that what you claim you are hearing would take extraordinary effort and in normal brains just does not occur. Your expectation bias is so high and must wrestle with the reality of what your ears are trying to tell your brain.

Sound Minds Mind Sound

 

 

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19 minutes ago, Audiophile Neuroscience said:

So, previously you said you used ASA to help you group good bits from bad bits to "troubleshoot" playback flaws (when we last spoke). Now you are back to saying "ASA stuff can switch on" after you mitigate flaws. You went off the latter explanation when I previously said ASA doesn't work that way and so you then favoured the troubleshooting angle. Lets forget the constant backflips and see what we are left with.

 

I never use ASA to "group good bits from bad bits" - ASA is the explanation for why my brain can 'assemble' an illusion, once I've troubleshooted the system weaknesses. Quote precisely where I have said otherwise, please.

 

How I troubleshoot is by using a group of say 6 CDs, say, which are 'difficult' .. this is exactly what I have now on hand, with these active speakers. I keep playing them as I try things, and react from the feedback I get. The albums used are ones that make it obvious where the setup is not there yet - the ones which normal audiophiles would just say, if they heard what my speakers sounded like at that point, "Oh, but that's just a bad recording - can't you hear that!" ... see what I mean about having the right attitude ... ? 😜

 

19 minutes ago, Audiophile Neuroscience said:

 

Recording flaws are there and will remain there despite 100% perfect tuning of your playback system.

 

You then listen to what's left and direct your brain to hear only good bits - magic happens at this point aka the magic is in your mind.

 

Direction is not required ... happens completely automatically.

 

19 minutes ago, Audiophile Neuroscience said:

As said before, normal brains do not work in the magnitude you describe as magic - "a complete transformation - the groove of the piece switches on, and it becomes "effortless" to listen to ...".  To pull off such a feat I submit is not possible for normal brains and would be incredibly fatiguing to attempt. You cannot *eliminate* the flaw and if the flaw is substantial, you will hear it. Great effort would be required not to hear it. A normal brain cannot just distort reality to make it go away.

You describe it as "effortless"

 

Curious that that you can't conceive that the brain can process what it hears, and discard what is irrelevant, considering your background ... I'm the one hearing this, as do the others around me; it took decades to stumble across an explanation that made sense, ASA.

 

A special memory, that I've mentioned many times, is Bev coming in when it finally hit the spot, and saying, "Wow, I love this group's playing!" ... "Ummm, it's Status Quo, on the CD that you hate me playing - the music that really bugged you, up to just now ..."

 

19 minutes ago, Audiophile Neuroscience said:

Yes, I am aware you will protest that the method is fatiguing but the result is sublime effortless listening. I put it to you that what you claim you are hearing would take extraordinary effort and in normal brains just does not occur. Your expectation bias is so high and must wrestle with the reality of what your ears are trying to tell your brain.

 

Try telling that to to the small circle of people who enjoy what can happen ... audio friend up the road mentioned last time that his wife came home some days earlier, walked in the front door at their place, and said, "This sounds amazing!!" ... "Uhh, yes, I guess it does ... was just in the flow of trying various recordings - yes, I agree it sounds good ..." 😉

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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3 hours ago, fas42 said:

No, I do my own experiments, and see what it tells me ... what Authority Figures say is The Truth means nothing, if it doesn't hold up when you try things.

You mean “The Truth means nothing, if it doesn't hold up (to my imagination)”!

3 hours ago, fas42 said:

 

Again, I want to extract every ounce of goodness out of every recording I come across - because that's where the real magic is 🙂 ... experiencing what the musicians created, without any filtering by the mechanism used to bring it to life.

Physically, that’s impossible. But if your imagination can conjure-up that kind of realism, then more power to you.

3 hours ago, fas42 said:

It's too much of an unnecessary handicap to keep believing that "there are just bad recordings!" - this will always stop one from trying that little bit more, to squeeze that extra bit of integrity out of the playback chain ... the rewards are enormous if one can develop the right attitude, and approach, 😉.

In other words, the rewards are enormous if you make it up as you go along.

George

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David, I might remind you that it was yourself that kicked off this thread ... would you prefer for everyone that disagrees with your POV to just roll over, and accept your judgement on the matter, 🙂.

 

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My view is that over 90% of "Hi-Fi" is in the quality of the recording. GIGO

 

So what's going on with all those expensive, ambitious systems I've heard over the years that sound like poo?

 

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The better the reproduction system the more it will reveal good and bad bits of a recording.Good bits of bad recordings can make the presentation sound less unpleasant, indeed pleasant if one is able to mentally tune out the bad bits.One can rediscover many old recordings in this way. The bad bits however are still revealed and no amount of system tweaking will overcome this if transparency is maintained

 

So an extremely advanced vinyl replay system will make you powerfully aware of every tiny defect in the particular LP; the tracking angle error inherent in the physics of the tracking will scream at you; the unavoidable end of the side distortion will be unlistenable to; every tiny bit of dirt and other nasties in the grooves will be intensely experienced - which is why people who prefer vinyl are willing to spend big money to get even more of this while listening ... hmmm?

 

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Tweaking a HiFi system to make the bad bits of recordings sound "good" (less bad) = coloration. All recordings start to sound of the signature of the color chosen and one may gravitate to certain recordings that suit the color.

 

I'll let you in on a secret, David ... the right sort of tweaking makes the signature of each recording stand out even more - and every one is different. Along with that, you get a very powerful sense of each part of the sound on a track having its own, special identity ... now, if you want to call that, colouration, go right ahead - but, personally, I reckon that's not too bad as something to listen to ...

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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5 hours ago, Audiophile Neuroscience said:

Frank, why not give it a break on promoting the "method". It must be exhausting for you to keep on quarreling with one then the next and then next person.

 

It is a futile exercise for you as all evidence is that nobody hears it like you do (to the extent you do)  in this forum.

 

So, why not just enjoy the music and be satisfied in your beliefs without needing to convince others on a daily basis, which by now must be spanning years.You twist just about every thread into "your topic" and yet you have obviously so much more to offer.

 

Just a thought

I pretty much agree...

 

My own belief is this:  there are at least two kinds of audiophile people:  1) those who should simply try to enjoy for themselves, or 2) those who try to improve for others , while enjoying the experience (whether commercial or not.)   Type#2, of which I am a  non-commercial example is either technically much more difficult than one might initially guess, or financial success happens because the results are being over-sold.   Most people, including my early years were in type #1 category, just try to enjoy the experience.   When the experience was no longer fun in about 1990, (bad sound from CDs), then I left the hobby and went on to writing OS code.

 

Type#2 is hard as hell, and I don't suggest that people embark on it, unless they have something very special in mind...  Even then, don't waste your time unless there is a lot of time to waste!!!!   It is much better to be 'Type#1'.  :-).

 

Just tweaking don't cut it in the type#2 category...  Lots of unfocused tweaks are marginally useful when trying to help others. Gotta either have a super-major improvement, or a really good, perhaps at least mildly dishonest marketing person over-selling an improved product.  Nowadays, REAL improvements don't come easy, as there have been 25+yrs of current DSP techniques, 50+yrs of brialliant people with almost current analog technology, and 70+yrs of modern audio techniques in general, there are many thousands of brilliant well educated engineering people to compete with.  Actual innovation and improvement, after these at least 70yrs of development in current audio techniques, do NOT come easy.

 

'sounds better' to a single person is very easy, as almost every Type#1 audiophile does it.   A few nice specific techniques might help others, but 'sounds better' with a bunch of random suggestions doesn't materially help anyone else.  It is always good to listen to other peoples hints though -- keep ones mind open.  Brilliant improvements are not likely to happen though.

 

John

 

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On 6/9/2020 at 2:01 PM, fas42 said:

 

Hmmm, VLC media player gives me sludge for the orchestral backing ... this is not a good sign - will look at it a bit more, via other tools.

 

OK, pulled the audio into Audacity, and also DL'ed the Opus version, which gives me full 20k bandwidth; the "hidden" audio version only goes to 16k - lined them up, and switched soloing between one and the other ... pretty close, but the Opus one had a touch more refinement about it; for example, strings were rougher, coarser in the "hidden" one.

 

Alex, I'm somewhat doubtful that what you accessed has the qualities that would be implied by the bps number you quoted.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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