Jump to content
IGNORED

Audio "Digititus" inducing music?


Recommended Posts

My definition of audio digititus

     a unique sensation from digital music in the treble region usually associated with irritation from the piece played and listening fatigue even with

    favorite pieces. A subtle "thats not right" (see Galaxy Quest for context) feeling during playback that can cause one to flee to other pieces

 

I am curious if others have observed as I have that particular pieces, recordings excite audio digititus in their system. When I first became a CA/AS

member, it was the bane of much of what I played. Over the years following member experiments and postings have really helped me to whittle it down.

 

Music by "The Cranberries" used to be not just irritating but actually painful to listen to; with member recommended server and DDC improvements,

now its just bright.

 

Where I perceive digititus remaining  now in my system is mass women's choir and violins, in movie soundtracks like Avatar, Ready Player One. Its like the

fundamental frequencies are right but the harmonics are distorted/off pitch. I bought the vinyl versions of both, no like issues there.

 

Anyone else want to name music that creates this love/hate relationship for them?

 

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

Link to post
Share on other sites

This reminds me of an effect and experiment we used to perform in the early days of digital. It was interesting proof that something was not right in the process—enough so to cause physiological weakening.

 

Allow me to explain:

First off, this was in the mid-1980s. Studios were just beginning to actually lay tracks with the digital tape machines of the day—not just digitizing in the mastering step for CD release. So even with vinyl LPs still being dominant, we were seeing releases that were DDA (digital tracking, digital mastering, analog pressing).

 

My friends and I were strictly into vinyl back then. Typical CDs and CD players at the time were unequivocally pretty unnatural sounding. But so were some of the DDA LP releases.

 

So here was the test/experiment (I don’t remember which of my friends brought it to our group or where he heard of it from; supposedly there was some “doctor” who had stumbled upon it as related to digital recording):

 

1) With no music playing, one person would hold their arms straight out to the side—making themselves into a giant “T”.

2) Another person would come up to the “T” man, put their hands on top of the outstretched arms—at the wrists—and try to push the arms down. Strong resistance would be felt.

3) An LP would be played—at just average volume—and about 30 seconds into it the above test would be repeated.

 

The results were always consistent:

If the album played was all analog or even (if I recall correctly) ADA, the person with their arms out would have good resistance to the downward pressure by the other person.

If the album played was DDA (meaning the tracks were laid down digitally at the start), the outstretched arms could not resist the pressure and would quickly pressed down all the way to the sides. No matter how hard the person tried to resist!

 

Now before you cry fowl on a couple of obvious points, let me state that:

a) After the “weak” showing we could always go back to silence or to a known all-analog LP and the person-under-test’s strength would return;

b) While the person pressing the arms down of course was affected as well, their leverage and weight were enough to overcome that.

 

The best part of this story—which would even overcome any doubts we ourselves had at the time—is that one of the participants of our group was a giant 6-foot 4-inch guy with arms like tree trunks, and they were nearly all muscle. (Dick S., hello wherever you are.)I was this short, skinny 150 pound kid.

The first time we had him participate in the experiment we did not tell him anything. So we have him hold his arms out and I had to reach way up to him—and his arms were so long I could not quite stretch to the top of his wrists. I was literally hanging from this big strong dude, with my feet off the ground and knees bent up.

 

So then we put on some random track from Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” album (which we knew from past experiment was DDA and would demonstrate the effect). I go back to this tree of a man (and he did have a couple minutes rest already), and this time I pull his arms right down. Admittedly I had to push somewhat hard, but I did not do anything different than before and there was zero chance of his holding me up or preventing me from pushing his arms down.

[As I recall, he became slightly angry at this. Perhaps from pride, perhaps from the weirdness of the sound being able to have that affect on his muscular build. He probably resisted going to digital for a couple decades after that—I don’t really know as we have not kept in touch. Likely was not too much of a problem as I recall he was a big classic jazz fan, and ALL that stuff is all analog.]
 

I honestly have not thought about or performed the experiment again since about 1993. Presumably digital recording has gotten a lot better since then (not mentioning the playback side since when we did those tests it was with LP turntables, so it was the recordings). And I do not know the physiological mechanisms that caused the weakening effect. Some sort of non-linear digital distortions that threw our vestibular system off? I have no idea as I am not a doctor. But the experiment was quite repeatable and I would be curious to learn of others who had performed it.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, davide256 said:

My definition of audio digititus

     a unique sensation from digital music in the treble region usually associated with irritation from the piece played and listening fatigue even with

    favorite pieces. A subtle "thats not right" (see Galaxy Quest for context) feeling during playback that can cause one to flee to other pieces

 

I am curious if others have observed as I have that particular pieces, recordings excite audio digititus in their system. When I first became a CA/AS

member, it was the bane of much of what I played. Over the years following member experiments and postings have really helped me to whittle it down.

 

Music by "The Cranberries" used to be not just irritating but actually painful to listen to; with member recommended server and DDC improvements,

now its just bright.

 

Where I perceive digititus remaining  now in my system is mass women's choir and violins, in movie soundtracks like Avatar, Ready Player One. Its like the

fundamental frequencies are right but the harmonics are distorted/off pitch. I bought the vinyl versions of both, no like issues there.

 

Anyone else want to name music that creates this love/hate relationship for them?

 

If you were to do a decent vinyl rip of Avatar it would sound fine so its a mastering problem, very common unfortunately. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, fas42 said:

An endemic problem with digital playback - not the recording side of it! Certain recordings, with their particular mastering style, will provoke this - but it's not the fault of the recording.

 

The real question is,

 

Audio "Digititus" inducing systems?

You're the only person on this forum that believes this. I guess it makes you special. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Rexp said:

You're the only person on this forum that believes this. I guess it makes you special. 

 

The reason is pretty obvious, to me - people have been conditioned over decades to believe this, and the way they assemble systems only acerbates the behaviour ... it's a perfect feedback loop ... 😛.

 

The only way to break out of the loop is to stop believing this; and understand that nearly all digital based setups inject the type of distortion which causes "digititus"; from the playback chain - the ones that achieve, "magic sound", are those which have eliminated this type of distortion.

 

Which is why someone like me has no time for many high end rigs - the distortion they inject is so obvious; they are, "unlistenable" ...

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, fas42 said:

Which is why someone like me has no time for many high end rigs - the distortion they inject is so obvious; they are, "unlistenable" ...

Franks real response,

 

Which is why someone like me has no money for many high end rigs - the non-distortion they don't inject is so obvious; they are, "enjoyable"...

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, fas42 said:

An endemic problem with digital playback - not the recording side of it! Certain recordings, with their particular mastering style, will provoke this - but it's not the fault of the recording.

 

The real question is,

 

Audio "Digititus" inducing systems?

Yes they exist. A common reason why I used to get up and leave a restaurant new to me in pre-covid days

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Racerxnet said:

Franks real response,

 

Which is why someone like me has no money for many high end rigs - the non-distortion they don't inject is so obvious; they are, "enjoyable"...

 

I might remind you, that a vinyl setup I heard in the 1980's, using Infinity RS speakers, Goldmund TT, and Audio Research electronics, demonstrated what SQ a well sorted setup could produce, using the money approach ... what is interesting is understanding where one can cut corners, to deliver an equivalent presentation.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, fas42 said:

 

I might remind you, that a vinyl setup I heard in the 1980's, using Infinity RS speakers, Goldmund TT, and Audio Research electronics, demonstrated what SQ a well sorted setup could produce, using the money approach ... what is interesting is understanding where one can cut corners, to deliver an equivalent presentation.

Frank,

 

I owned the RS1B system and very familiar with the sound. Even added the GRAZ emims. It is one of the reasons I bought the Genesis speakers I now own. I thought Arnie Nudell was way ahead of his time with the Infinity line of speakers. Different name, same engineer/owner for Genesis at the time.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting read from the link. All very true to some extent. With todays technology we can help mitigate some of the gremlins of yesterday. There is REW, Audiolense, Dirac and others to help tame poor room response. Speakers are now more accurate with dispersion, phase and others using DSP for the crossover. Many technologies which we did not have 15 years ago. Most people try to keep it reasonable based on what they can afford. 

 

With that said, digititis can be mitigated with some of the tools mentioned. Another thought is hearing impairment can play a significant role in audio enjoyment. People with a hearing loss on the top end may overcompensate, and can sound shrill to your guests. DSP can really help when you correct the low end response of the room. It clears up the mid and top end as a benefit. You also need to treat the room appropriately as part of the overall system. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, hopkins said:

 

In my experience, listening fatigue is a result of the system, not the recording. 

 

So I would tend to agree with Frank on this (!) BUT I don't agree with his assessment that this is a caracteristic of most "high end" systems.

 

 

I'll use the requisite car analogy 😁, to make the point ... this in fact happened to me, many decades ago: I went on a test drive in the top of the range version of the big new car model that was the big news of the moment. And I found it very unsettling ... why? Lots of noise reduction everywhere in the cabin, so it was nominally super quiet - but, I could now hear the suspension working! Over a roughish road, there was a irregular chatter of those mechanical bits doing their thing; which lent a nervous quality to the going down the road. Which would have been missing in the normal model, where there would be constant background noise from other, more 'relaxing' sounds.

 

This is where the "high end" of anything can fail - there always has to be a balance between all the qualities; get it wrong, and it can easily be worse, subjectively, than something of average quality.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, fas42 said:

 

I'll use the requisite car analogy 😁, to make the point ... this in fact happened to me, many decades ago: I went on a test drive in the top of the range version of the big new car model that was the big news of the moment. And I found it very unsettling ... why? Lots of noise reduction everywhere in the cabin, so it was nominally super quiet - but, I could now hear the suspension working! Over a roughish road, there was a irregular chatter of those mechanical bits doing their thing; which lent a nervous quality to the going down the road. Which would have been missing in the normal model, where there would be constant background noise from other, more 'relaxing' sounds.

 

This is where the "high end" of anything can fail - there always has to be a balance between all the qualities; get it wrong, and it can easily be worse, subjectively, than something of average quality.

 

The way I see things, and this is of course a personal point of view, is that audio today is submerged with equipment that are inherently incapable of producing high quality sound, regardless of price. Add to that the fact that "digital" is still an immature (not well understood) technology and this is a recipe for disaster. I like this audiophile's somewhat "old school" approach: http://www.high-endaudio.com/philos.html  (though when it comes to "digital" I don't think he has enough experience to be relevant). Perhaps its a question of taste (for example, having equipment that lets you listen to music really loud).

Maybe this could explain your pessimistic outlook about "high end" today.

 

my blog

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, hopkins said:

 

The way I see things, and this is of course a personal point of view, is that audio today is submerged with equipment that are inherently incapable of producing high quality sound, regardless of price. I like this "audiophile's" approach: http://www.high-endaudio.com/philos.html  (though when it comes to "digital" I don't think he has enough experience to be relevant).

Maybe this explains your pessimistic outlook about "high end" today.

 

Yes, I have looked at his website a couple of times ... his thoughts on what is achievable are spot on, in many areas - but of course his understanding of the digital side of things completely misses the mark!

 

I'm not pessimistic about "high end" today! The steady launching of high performing digital speakers, each of which lifts the standard a touch more, is an excellent sign ... 15 years ago, I was aiming to to do this very thing myself - but lazy sod that I am, I let others catch up with me, 😆 ...

 

My Edifiers project is a budget version of doing it now - and shows how good the raw parts are, for getting it right.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Finally tracked down Salvatore's latest thinking ... and, he's making good progress!

 

http://www.high-endaudio.com/RC-Digital.html

 

Much of what he says about his experiences with digital sound matches what I hear with "other people's systems" ... only tweaking at the level of fastidiousness that he uses will get the best from, say, CDs - but, it is worth it ... 😉.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, hopkins said:

 

In my experience, listening fatigue is a result of the system, not the recording. 

 

So I would tend to agree with Frank on this (!) BUT I don't agree with his assessment that this is a caracteristic of most "high end" systems.

I do agree that you can get really good sound from a relatively modest system.

 

At the end of the day, price is not as relevant as we think (with the exception, possibly, of speakers). I like this analysis:

 

https://londonjazzcollector.wordpress.com/for-audiophiles/the-law-of-diminishing-returns-another-unproven-hi-fi-maxim/

 

Regardless, if you are experiencing 'audio digititus" it is a good indication that something has to be fixed. When you stop experiencing it, upgraditis is also cured 😁 or at least, you become very cautious about making any changes! 

Have you done any needle drops? Would you concede that if your rip sounded the same as the vinyl, then your digital hardware is not responsible for digititus? 

Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Rexp said:

In my experience, listening fatigue is a result of the system, not the recording. 

Actually, it can be due to both causes.😉

 Let's not forget that Vinyl was already a pretty mature medium, often using vacuum tube electronics, even for cutting the vinyl, and not heaps of early type slew rate limited opamps. 

 

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

Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, sandyk said:

Actually, it can be due to both causes.😉

 Let's not forget that Vinyl was already a pretty mature medium, often using vacuum tube electronics, even for cutting the vinyl, and not heaps of early type slew rate limited opamps. 

You're quoting @hopkinsnot me.. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Rexp said:

You're quoting @hopkinsnot me.. 

 I was actually trying to reply to both of you, and trying to point out that Vinyl rips won't prove too much due to technology improvements.

 

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm ... there has been a pretty gung ho distaste for 'digital' LPs, over the years. That is, recordings made for the digital age, and transferred to vinyl bring with them the qualities that upset a lot of people - so, putting the data into a physical groove is no guarantee of moderating the issues that make people dislike certain recordings.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, fas42 said:

Hmmm ... there has been a pretty gung ho distaste for 'digital' LPs, over the years. That is, recordings made for the digital age, and transferred to vinyl bring with them the qualities that upset a lot of people - so, putting the data into a physical groove is no guarantee of moderating the issues that make people dislike certain recordings.

Nope, some of my favourite records are Digitally recorded. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, davide256 said:

Curious as to what those are. I have no love for any vinyl from the 80's or 90's that had a digital master

Try this for massed strings/choral recorded at 16/44.1:

 

Screenshot_20210329_114643.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×
×
  • Create New...