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thoughts about sound?

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sirwin
thoughts about sound?
on Jun 30, 2005 at 7:00:27 pm

Hello,
I was wondering how you think digital has changed the notion of sound---for media, for entertainment, for personal communication. Sometimes I think that what I hear in real life is not close to what the manufactured sound is like---yet it is described as being better quality, just like the original etc. A friend of mine has a son who, after playing a video game, said,


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Brian B
Re: thoughts about sound?
on Jun 30, 2005 at 11:46:56 pm

Now this is a very interesting question.

Audio Professionals in the past were always tring to make a recording sound like the real thing or make it sound like something you've never heard before.

I think currently with digital that people are creating sounds and are not tring to duplicate nature they are tring to create a totally new creation.

of coarse depending on the project. If your working on "The Matrix" you want something new.
If your working on "Open Range" you want a more natural sound.

But for some reason gun shots are different. They always have to be bigger sounding and bassier than the real thing.

Now adays we can create at the speed of thought. I beleive it is in human nature to create and that will wander to and from nature.

So, as for your son. This opens a new question.
Children and Adults now adays get to "lost" into media they believe it is real when in most cases it is very far from "real".

Everyone must question what they see on TV, hear on the Radio, or even what they hear talking to anyone. For example your local nightly news the quote "if it Bleeds it Leads" is very true if there was some sort of violence in your local community it is always at the top of the news broadcast. And always keep in mind that the GM's pocket book prevails over what story will be on the air that night.

Well that was fun!




Brian B
Editor
Avid|DS
http://www.trueindiefilms.com
http://www.lithia.com


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Rob Forsythe
Re: thoughts about sound?
on Jul 1, 2005 at 12:55:11 pm

You can find vintage advertisements that state words to the effect that "the Edison Phonograph reproduces sound so clear that you'll think the artist is singing right in the room with you!"

No one could POSSIBLY think that an old wax cylinder with its horrendous surface noise, severely limited frequency response, and wow and flutter could sound "REAL"... but it was so engrossing that folks could ignore the artifice and just concentrate on the "moment of enjoyment."

Its also interesting (to me anyway) that if you re-read the above paragraph and substitute "LP record" for "wax cylinder" it describes how devotees of analog records ignore the same faults (to a greater or lesser degree).

What is the MOST important thing to consider (and if you are too young to remember otherwise, you'll just have to trust me) is that until modern digital recordings... it simply was not POSSIBLE to make a recording (and subsequent copies) and have the playback sound virtually IDENTICAL to the source in the monitors.

THAT is very significant.
So whether it sounds like "life" or not... it DOES sound (virtually) exactly the way the studio engineers heard it when it was mixed and recorded.
Analog tapes and LP records ALWAYS "added" (subtracted?) their own "sound" to the original master (which, even with Dolby and high-speed tape, itself had artifacts different from the "live" session.

I know digital is said to "degrade" the analog wave... but hey, its so CLOSE (and the copies are so PURE) that it is about as perfect as we NEED at the moment... and as time goes by (at the TOP end at least), it will get better.


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Ty Ford
Re: thoughts about sound?
on Jul 2, 2005 at 12:47:19 pm

So whether it sounds like "life" or not... it DOES sound (virtually) exactly the way the studio engineers heard it when it was mixed and recorded.
Analog tapes and LP records ALWAYS "added" (subtracted?) their own "sound" to the original master (which, even with Dolby and high-speed tape, itself had artifacts different from the "live" session.

I know digital is said to "degrade" the analog wave... but hey, its so CLOSE (and the copies are so PURE) that it is about as perfect as we NEED at the moment... and as time goes by (at the TOP end at least), it will get better.

----Well sort of. What they hear on the mix stage of a feature film (imagine Skywalker) is seldom experienced at home on the DVD player. This is due to the high end gear they use on a mix stage and their tweeked aoustical environment.

Theater playback systems (not home theater, typically) hold the promise of a more comparable listening experience, but everything depends on the thater's system and how well it's tweeked.

For the consumer going to the local video store, the DVD making process means we're not hearing linear PCM audio with movies anyway.

Regards,

Ty Ford


Ty Ford's "Audio Bootcamp Field Guide" was written for video people who want better audio. Find out more at http://www.tyford.com


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Rob Forsythe
Re: thoughts about sound?
on Jul 3, 2005 at 7:34:11 pm

[Ty Ford] "----Well sort of. What they hear on the mix stage of a feature film (imagine Skywalker) is seldom experienced at home on the DVD player. This is due to the high end gear they use on a mix stage and their tweeked aoustical environment."

I did not make my POINT clear enough...

Of course ANY two playback systems (or rooms, or even where one SITS in the SAME room) will make a difference in how the playback is actually perceived.

But what's really different THESE DAYS is that the MEDIUM does not add or detract from the experience. (As did an LP or analog tape transfer did.)

A DAT of the session can be transported, copied and re-copied... and the bit stream will be (virtually) identical to the source at the session.

Let' me try to make the point even more directly.

A session studio tech wearing Sony 7506 headphones connected to the DAT recorder's 'phones output will hear the same audio as someone at home with a DAT deck listening on the same model headphones. (Let's not get into a discussion of headphone amps or mfg. differences between individual 'phones... let's use the theoretical "all things being equal" scenario.)
Even a CD of the session will not degrade the signal enough to be a serious consideration.
The copy medium is stunningly close to the original.

Now, same situation, only the home user is listening to an LP or 1/4" reel-to-reel dub the session... BIG difference and LOTS of problems to deal with.

THAT'S my point, the commonly available digital medium (CD or DAT) ALL THE WAY TO THE CONSUMER is no longer such a VERY weak link in the chain.



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Peter Perry
Re: thoughts about sound?
on Jul 4, 2005 at 1:17:35 am

But don't try to tell that to all the audiophiles out there that believe just the process of encoding a sound source into digital detracts from the experience less than the vinyl, or more accurately, that the process of recording to vinyl leaves a more pleasing "flavor" than the process of encoding to digital.
Peter


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Rob Forsythe
Re: thoughts about sound?
on Jul 4, 2005 at 12:27:20 pm

[Peter Perry] "the process of recording to vinyl leaves a more pleasing "flavor" than the process of encoding to digital"

Glad you brought that up.

As a studio engineer, do you know of any other RECORDING ENGINEERS that think like that?

I mean, when you are the one in the control room mixing the session... and can then REPRODUCE EXACTLY the same audio track --sans clicks, hiss, dropouts, inner-groove distortion, RIAA Curve-correction, the need to "dead-center" (and limit) the BASS frequencies, wow, flutter, and the problem that replaying the same LP track within, say, 30 minutes can "change" the sound (further) damage the grooves-- how can there be any doubt that digital is a more PURE medium.
I remember when we had LP's made from our master tapes... the audio quality DROPPED by a horrendous amount (even if the master was "specially" EQ'ed).

If the sound is FLAVORED by the analog process, why would adding FLAVOR be a "good thing"?
Consider wine.
Glass bottles would be the "neutral" medium for wines.
Digital is the "neutral" (at least MORE neutral than analog) medium for audio.


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Peter Perry
Re: thoughts about sound?
on Jul 4, 2005 at 8:33:37 pm

[Rob Forsythe] "As a studio engineer, do you know of any other RECORDING ENGINEERS that think like that?"

Actually there are quite a few.....in a roundabout way. I'm refering to the practice of going back to tubes in pre-amps, amps, compressors, and other outboard gear in an attempt to put some "warmth" back into digital recordings that they felt was present in analog recordings. It is common to hear engineers complaining of harsh, or artificially bright sounding digital recordings. Let's face it....until we can sample at infinite sample rates, we must be leaving behind some information, so digital recordings add their own "flavor" just like vinyl does. To me, the digital medium is better because a)I don't hear the harshness some others do, and b)I don't like pops and clicks.
I will buy the "perfect copies" for distribution arguement, though.


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