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Sony Says Upsampled 248K Transparent to High Resolution

watchnerd

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#1
"Did Sony’s Chief Sound Architect just tell me they can’t hear or measure the difference between upsampled 248k files and true high-res audio?*

Yes he did. It seems an extraordinary statement, given this would imply that genuine high-res files offer little benefit over the compressed low-res files we’ve been complaining about all these years. If an upscaled 256k file from, say, iTunes, can sound indistinguishable from a genuine high-res file, then why pay a premium for genuine high-res?"

More at:

http://www.avhub.com.au/news/sound-...248k-files-and-true-high-res-audio-wow-437891
 

RayDunzl

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#2

watchnerd

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RayDunzl

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Blumlein 88

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#5
"Those tiny fluctuations of a musical waveform don’t lend themselves to being captured perfectly as a string of ones and zeros in a computer hard drive, memory stick or mobile phone."

Uh....what?

We are at the beginning of a new Dark Ages man. Living it the process seems gradual. But history will show the difference.........................well one day after the dark age ends. Assuming it does. Before the heat death of the universe. Right?
 

Ken Newton

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#7
"Did Sony’s Chief Sound Architect just tell me they can’t hear or measure the difference between upsampled 248k files and true high-res audio?*


I suspect that there are several possibilities for such an apparent suggestion, and is probably a result of a mix of those. One reason could be that something was lost in translation from Japanese to English. I read words suggesting a mostly subjective claim, not a parametrically objective one. Another reason could simply be that marketing hype was being put forth. Yes, engineers are capable of delivering sales hype, especially engineering managers. Another possibility is that although this was a panel of engineers it seems only one was doing the speaking, the most senior present. Which is common Japanese behavior.

It seemed to me that they were describing an subjective enhancement processor, which it's name pretty much says. As such, several artificial elements could be added to the playback to subjectively 'improve' the perceived sound without it delivering an result objectively closer to the original high-rez file. Elements such as, simply applying some EQ, applying logarithmic dynamic range expansion, adding synthesized even order distortion and adding low frequency noise which can simulate increased hall ambience. Only Sony knows what actually is being done.
 

oivavoi

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#8
My take-away from this report was not that they were letting out some well-kept industry secret from their vaults. It's rather that they were trying to sell a product, and were stumbling along with half-baked rationalizations for why it's a good idea to upsample 256 bit to high-res, or whatever. It's obviously completely unneccesary - what magic can they employ to regain those bits that are lost? Did they hide them somewhere on the moon, or in a dark cellar in Tokyo? Anyway, given that they are trying to argue for such a stupid idea, it doesn't surprise me that they say incoherent stuff.

FWIW, I have no interest in high-res at all. The interesting debate, as I see it, is whether 256 or 320 kbs is enough, or whether we should still aim for CD quality. 256 kbs obviously sounds good - but is there still a case to be made for CD quality? I'm inclined to say yes.
 

watchnerd

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#9
We are at the beginning of a new Dark Ages man. Living it the process seems gradual. But history will show the difference.........................well one day after the dark age ends. Assuming it does. Before the heat death of the universe. Right?
Sadly, I think you're right. I sometimes wonder if it's because technology has advanced too far from the every day experience of the common person that it seems like magic to anyone who isn't a specialist.

A water wheel was simple enough that an illiterate peasant could understand it. 4G cell phones not so much.

If AI starts doing more of our thinking for us, it's going to change our concepts of technical literacy immensely.
 

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#10
It is marketing nonsense and cultural issues in play.

First let me explain what they were announcing. It is yet another spin on restoring lost high frequencies which standard MP3 encoders throw out (at around 17 Khz or so). How do you restore what has been thrown out at encoding time when you play it? You look at what came before it. That is, you look at the spectrum leading up to the cut off and synthesize the rest from lower frequencies. Using statistical modeling of available music you can make this feature more flexible and more true. This picture shows what is happening:



And this one:



The ear is sensitive to total amount of high frequencies. When you cut off some of it, it sounds more muffled. Putting anything back in there will restore the "brightness" making you think it is all there.

The technology has been around for a decade or more and is used in AAC+ and defunct MP3Pro. The company that popularized it is Coding Technologies which has patents on it. So everyone else puts their own spin on it to avoid their patents.

We implemented the same thing in my group while at Microsoft. At first blush and to non-trained ears, the difference is remarkable. It seems to restore what is lost from frequency content point of view to the original. But it does nothing to eliminate the lossy aspect of compressed music. Those artifacts are still there and actually can get accentuated with SBR. At extremely low bit rates for which this was designed (less than 64 Kbps) that is a fine trade off. But at higher bit rates, I find the added high frequencies to be quite annoying most of the time.

The marketing line unfortunately ignores all of this and just says what was lost was put back in. That is all they are saying on that panel. These are not trained or even good listeners no matter what their title and have to stick to their marketing line.

Now, SBR can be used to manufacture stuff in ultrasonic range too. Problem with that is how do you test it? Since we can't hear what is there likely what is thrown in there could just as well be wrong and we wouldn't know it.
 

Sal1950

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#11
The marketing line unfortunately ignores all of this and just says what was lost was put back in. That is all they are saying on that panel. These are not trained or even good listeners no matter what their title and have to stick to their marketing line.
The part I seem to be missing is "where's the beef"?
What does this marketing spin bring to the plate for Sony? They don't have any original content in 248 that they can then upsample to HD and sell, do they? How does this line of BS make any money for someone? What purpose is behind the curtain?
 

watchnerd

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#12
The part I seem to be missing is "where's the beef"?
What does this marketing spin bring to the plate for Sony? They don't have any original content in 248 that they can then upsample to HD and sell, do they? How does this line of BS make any money for someone? What purpose is behind the curtain?
Yeah, I agree -- who is this aimed at?

The mass market is fine with lossy sound quality. And the audiophile audience who does care about maximal sound quality aren't fine with lossy, upsampled or not.

I don't get it.
 

amirm

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#13
The part I seem to be missing is "where's the beef"?
What does this marketing spin bring to the plate for Sony? They don't have any original content in 248 that they can then upsample to HD and sell, do they? How does this line of BS make any money for someone? What purpose is behind the curtain?
Something is lost in translation as "248" is supposed to be the bit rate of the compressed MP3. There is no standardized bit rate at 248 so likely what they mean is 256 kbps MP3. This is NOT the sample rate which remains at 44.1 Khz.
 

amirm

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Yeah, I agree -- who is this aimed at?

The mass market is fine with lossy sound quality. And the audiophile audience who does care about maximal sound quality aren't fine with lossy, upsampled or not.

I don't get it.
Mass market can hear high frequency loss so restoring it does some good for them.

I think the author and language barriers have really confused this. There is nothing here about high resolution audio.
 

Sal1950

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#15
Mass market can hear high frequency loss so restoring it does some good for them.
So is this process something Sony thinks they can then sell as a backend to itunes or whatever? I don't believe in Santa, There has to be some method to the madness. ;)
 

RayDunzl

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#17
What does Hi Res sound like?
 

amirm

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#18
What does Hi Res sound like?
To the masses, it is what high definition TV did compared to standard definition. "It is mo' better." :)
 

RayDunzl

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#19
I'm still OK with recording the non-HD channels on my crappy DVR (to save space) and stretching the screen to 1080 to have something to watch while I'm asleep.

I do expect to be in the market for a new screen soon (well, someday) since mine is having single-pixel vertical lines that I don't notice until there is a solid color background for them to ruin.

It's a plasma so I'm probably a candidate for OLED, though it does seem the LCD types have gotten better.
 

watchnerd

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#20
Mass market can hear high frequency loss so restoring it does some good for them.
I wasn't claiming that they couldn't hear it.

I'm claiming they don't care enough to spend money on lossless. iTunes sales and free lossy streaming media seem to indicate this.
 
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