• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

ASR burning the wrong witches?

Shadrach

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Feb 24, 2019
Messages
503
Likes
740
https://www.biline.ca/audio_critic/critic1.htm

“What is the number one determinant of sound quality in an audio system?
The recording you are playing, without the slightest doubt. The recording microphones, acoustical conditions, and engineering decisions at the recording site introduce much greater sonic variability than any hardware component in a half decent playback system. Buy well-recorded CDs.”

By Peter Aczel

More about the loudness wars? No, not quite although one can’t help but include it in any discussion about recording quality.

I’ve read pages and pages of discussions about differences in the measurements of the electronics that operate between the source and the loudspeaker most of which are completely inaudible barring the occasional complete horror. Every now and then some brave soul arrives on ASR and gets burnt for producing a product that performs below the current high standard of the best engineered products.

The fact is in a properly set up DBT test very few of us could tell the difference between the highest and lowest tiered electronic products and without the measurements to reference I expect most of us would be delighted with their performance.

The differences in recordings is often quite apparent. Thanks to the seeming constant remastering of many of the popular recordings we are in a position to make comparisons between one recording and another of the same albums.

There are recordings those who remaster can do little about because of the condition of the original recording although I’m led to believe there is technology that make improvements to even the worst recordings.

The more recent recordings on digital equipment do not have many of the limitations of those made say in the nineteen sixties but to my ears many of these more recent recordings sound worse than those done with equipment that limited the possibilities.

What is the point of spending thousands of pounds trying to achieve maximum fidelity to the recording if the recording is terrible?

When an equipment designer/manufacturer produces a below par product ASR has no problem pointing out it’s shortcomings and in a few cases the designer/manufacturer responds by addressing the issues.

Why don’t we do something similar with recordings; a name and shame type approach given it’s the recording that matters most.

There are plenty of contributors on ASR who describe themselves as recording engineers and it seems have no problem joining in the criticisms of the equipment manufactures. Lets hear what they’ve produced and rate their level of competency.

You never know, given enough pressure we might get some recordings that warrant the level of excellence the equipment used to produce them has.
 

JonK99

Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2022
Messages
20
Likes
34
Peter Jackson's team developed techniques for using machine learning to clean up the audio in Get Back. I think this may be something we see more of in the future, though no doubt it will spark endless debates about whether older or otherwise flawed recordings should be altered or left alone. Imagine for example Robert Johnson sounding like he was recorded in a modern studio. Is that a dream or nightmare?
 

Music1969

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 19, 2018
Messages
3,041
Likes
1,697
Peter Jackson's team developed techniques for using machine learning to clean up the audio in Get Back. I think this may be something we see more of in the future, though no doubt it will spark endless debates about whether older or otherwise flawed recordings should be altered or left alone. Imagine for example Robert Johnson sounding like he was recorded in a modern studio. Is that a dream or nightmare?

De-mixing wasn't invented in New Zealand. It's been around a while.

But Peter Jackson said they tried all the available options and didn't like any of them so he had people in New Zealand develop their own for Get Back doco.

One example of available:

1652962762140.png
 

Katji

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 26, 2017
Messages
3,002
Likes
2,201
Why don’t we do something similar with recordings; a name and shame type approach given it’s the recording that matters most.
How would you do that? {Pissing against the wind, farting against thunder. iow, "it's a numbers game."]

There are plenty of contributors on ASR who describe themselves as recording engineers and it seems have no problem joining in the criticisms of the equipment manufactures. Lets hear what they’ve produced and rate their level of competency.
How would [we] do that? - How would we do such rating? [Survey of subjective opinions/perceptions, evaluation using AI...?]

You never know, given enough pressure we might get some recordings that warrant the level of excellence the equipment used to produce them has.
? as per above.

What is the point of spending thousands of pounds trying to achieve maximum fidelity to the recording if the recording is terrible?
Because that is what high-fidelity means, that is the purpose. To reproduce the source with the highest possible fidelity. The source is the recorded material, the product.
[Total rehash, this, beating the dead horse.]

Improving old/existing material [recordings, production, whatever] is a niche thing, it is archive material or it is done for commercial reasons.
In other words, "no-one cares," new music is being produced every day.
 

JayGilb

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Jul 22, 2021
Messages
628
Likes
875
Location
West-Central Wisconsin
“What is the number one determinant of sound quality in an audio system?
The recording you are playing, without the slightest doubt. The recording microphones, acoustical conditions, and engineering decisions at the recording site introduce much greater sonic variability than any hardware component in a half decent playback system. Buy well-recorded CDs.”
The number one determinant is the skill of the musicians. They are the number one position in the recording chain.
I have had a small home recording studio for a few decades where I record local musicians for free. When I started out and was learning the process, I struggled to get a decent sounding recording. I was about ready to give up, when I talked to a friend of my son who is an accomplished studio player and he agreed to come over and give me a hand. Using the exact same setup that produced an inferior recording the past week, he played a few songs and the recordings were actually very good. He listened back with me and told me that it sounded great for a home based studio and it suddenly clicked with me that the "garbage in == garbage out" mantra holds true in all cases.
 

GDK

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 8, 2020
Messages
474
Likes
1,227
Location
Toronto
There are plenty of contributors on ASR who describe themselves as recording engineers and it seems have no problem joining in the criticisms of the equipment manufactures. Lets hear what they’ve produced and rate their level of competency.
One thing to keep in mind is that these people are, for the most part, employees of the artists/labels and therefore very often do not have ultimate control over the final product.
 

mcdn

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 7, 2020
Messages
187
Likes
328
“What is the number one determinant of sound quality in an audio system?
The recording you are playing, without the slightest doubt...”
That‘s simply wrong. The number one determinant is the loudspeaker, closely followed by the room.
 
OP
Shadrach

Shadrach

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Feb 24, 2019
Messages
503
Likes
740
There's many poorly recorded archival performances of classical works from long departed maestros where the quality doesn't matter one bit.
I don't agree. The recording quality always matters. The replay chain however matters a lot less.
A well recorded performance, or if you prefer, a good tune, in general sounds good on whatever equipment one plays it on.
 

sarumbear

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 15, 2020
Messages
4,445
Likes
4,006
Location
Southampton, UK
Peter Jackson's team developed techniques for using machine learning to clean up the audio in Get Back. I think this may be something we see more of in the future, though no doubt it will spark endless debates about whether older or otherwise flawed recordings should be altered or left alone. Imagine for example Robert Johnson sounding like he was recorded in a modern studio. Is that a dream or nightmare?
The audio was from a live recording on the rooftop, not in the studio and not meant to be released -- and wasn't released as a record. Cleaning audio in films is standard practice.
 
OP
Shadrach

Shadrach

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Feb 24, 2019
Messages
503
Likes
740
How would you do that? {Pissing against the wind, farting against thunder. iow, "it's a numbers game."]


How would [we] do that? - How would we do such rating? [Survey of subjective opinions/perceptions, evaluation using AI...?]


? as per above.


Because that is what high-fidelity means, that is the purpose. To reproduce the source with the highest possible fidelity. The source is the recorded material, the product.
[Total rehash, this, beating the dead horse.]

Improving old/existing material [recordings, production, whatever] is a niche thing, it is archive material or it is done for commercial reasons.
In other words, "no-one cares," new music is being produced every day.
The only point worth addressing is the one where you have written "no one cares".
Evidently this isn't true. I care, and so do many other people. The number of comments regarding what has become known as the loudness wars bears this out.
 

Katji

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 26, 2017
Messages
3,002
Likes
2,201
Meaning you cannot answer them.

"no-one cares" means AKA "it's a numbers game" and "life goes on," stuff like that.

The number of comments regarding what has become known as the loudness wars bears this out.
On audiophile forums? ... = "it's a numbers game."
 

JonK99

Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2022
Messages
20
Likes
34
The audio was from a live recording on the rooftop, not in the studio and not meant to be released -- and wasn't released as a record. Cleaning audio in films is standard practice.
I was not interested so much in this one example as I was in the question of what is possible in the current state of the art, and what may be possible in the future with increasingly sophisticated AI-based techniques applied to audio restoration. The issue then becomes: just because it CAN be done, SHOULD it be done?
 
OP
Shadrach

Shadrach

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Feb 24, 2019
Messages
503
Likes
740
The number one determinant is the skill of the musicians. They are the number one position in the recording chain.
I have had a small home recording studio for a few decades where I record local musicians for free. When I started out and was learning the process, I struggled to get a decent sounding recording. I was about ready to give up, when I talked to a friend of my son who is an accomplished studio player and he agreed to come over and give me a hand. Using the exact same setup that produced an inferior recording the past week, he played a few songs and the recordings were actually very good. He listened back with me and told me that it sounded great for a home based studio and it suddenly clicked with me that the "garbage in == garbage out" mantra holds true in all cases.
Most of the musicians I know rely on the people/person doing the recording to make a professional job of the mix. While they may be number one in the recording chain they are rarely the ones who make decisions on the final mix.
 

Spkrdctr

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
1,439
Likes
1,810
The number one determinant is the skill of the musicians. They are the number one position in the recording chain.
I have had a small home recording studio for a few decades where I record local musicians for free. When I started out and was learning the process, I struggled to get a decent sounding recording. I was about ready to give up, when I talked to a friend of my son who is an accomplished studio player and he agreed to come over and give me a hand. Using the exact same setup that produced an inferior recording the past week, he played a few songs and the recordings were actually very good. He listened back with me and told me that it sounded great for a home based studio and it suddenly clicked with me that the "garbage in == garbage out" mantra holds true in all cases.
That is 100% true!
 

Sgt. Ear Ache

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 18, 2019
Messages
1,509
Likes
3,245
Location
Winnipeg Canada
I’ve read pages and pages of discussions about differences in the measurements of the electronics that operate between the source and the loudspeaker most of which are completely inaudible barring the occasional complete horror. Every now and then some brave soul arrives on ASR and gets burnt for producing a product that performs below the current high standard of the best engineered products.

I'm sorry, but this is a total straw man and completely miss-characterizes most of what ASR is about. First of all, almost all of us recognize the significance of good recordings. A bad recording will always be a bad recording and there's not a lot you can do to fix that. Secondly, the fact that most of the differences in measurements between source and loudspeaker are completely inaudible is the fundamental point of what goes on here. It's why we argue that spending big money on dacs and amps is probably a waste. It's why we have large threads and areas of the forum dedicated to audibility limits of human hearing. Nowhere on ASR is it suggested that components have to measure at the top of the highest standard of engineering to SOUND good. The point of the measurements is mostly to show that absolutely great sound is available at low cost to everyone. This notion that ASR is about pushing the idea that you have to get gear that measures at the top of the engineering tier to get good sound is totally off the mark.
 
OP
Shadrach

Shadrach

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Feb 24, 2019
Messages
503
Likes
740
I was not interested so much in this one example as I was in the question of what is possible in the current state of the art, and what may be possible in the future with increasingly sophisticated AI-based techniques applied to audio restoration. The issue then becomes: just because it CAN be done, SHOULD it be done?
Interesting point but manipulation is already done when the original recording was recorded and is common studio practice.
It's also done with remastering, some of which give good results, others not so much.
 

acbarn

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 11, 2020
Messages
1,877
Likes
4,563
Location
California
There are plenty of contributors on ASR who describe themselves as recording engineers and it seems have no problem joining in the criticisms of the equipment manufactures. Lets hear what they’ve produced and rate their level of competency.

Wow, hostile much? OK, here you go, let ‘er rip:

 

tifune

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 18, 2020
Messages
775
Likes
484
https://www.biline.ca/audio_critic/critic1.htm

“What is the number one determinant of sound quality in an audio system?
The recording you are playing, without the slightest doubt. The recording microphones, acoustical conditions, and engineering decisions at the recording site introduce much greater sonic variability than any hardware component in a half decent playback system. Buy well-recorded CDs.”

By Peter Aczel

I guess that's fine, if you want to completely discard the personality added to recordings by the (sometimes extreme) imperfections.
 
Top Bottom