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Re: [ARSCLIST] Ampex ATR-102 opinion (was MD5 Hash Generators
Of course not.
It is a discussion of your proposal. I find that flawed in many ways,
some of which I addressed. However, you also had a nice suggestion,
that there might be -just might be, of course- an inverse in digital to
what you call analog euphony. I suggest we agree to call that effect
"dysphony", and share the credit. If you are willing to acknowledge
that perception as well as technical measurement plays a role in the
experience of recorded music, I'm willing to join you in a
I quite well understand that error correction, rotational stability,
etc. have roles in assessing disc quality, even sound quality per se. I
don't see how that correlates with a perception like "decent-sounding"
unless there is also a continuum from euphony to dysphony to place such
a concept as a midpoint. As you note, some distortions sound (i.e., are
perceived as) more euphonic than others (odd vs. even harmonic, for
example), so it is no stretch to now say some sound more dysphonic. If
you are old enough to have endured .00001% THD 70's Japanese
transistor electronics as well as SET tube amps, you know what I mean.
Let me suggest we start a book club. Go to Amazon, and buy any of these
Music, The Brain, And Ecstasy: How Music Captures Our Imagination-
Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain- Oliver Sacks
This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession-Levitin
We'll read it together and compare notes. I'm sure they are all decent
reads. Maybe some others on the list could join us?
In fact, if Jerry is willing to make sure the pages are in the correct
order and count the typos, I'll buy him a copy too, just so we can
trust but verify that what we read is not corrupted by errors or
distortions of the original Word .doc.
On Jan 24, 2008, at 4:56 AM, Tom Fine wrote:
OK, Bruce, so I take this as a "no" to Jerry's offer?
----- Original Message ----- From: "Bruce Kinch" <bckinch@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 11:10 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Ampex ATR-102 opinion (was MD5 Hash Generators
On Jan 23, 2008, at 6:09 PM, Tom Fine wrote:
Hi Bruce:Well, I'm retired, but I made my living dealing with ideas, as a
college professor for 30 years. Does tend to force the mind open.
The logical fallacy here is to equate "disc quality" with the
perception of music.
Ah, yeah, that's the point for those of us who must make a living
dealing in facts.
I think most of us operate under the assumption that the higher the
disc quality (ie lack of digital errors and mechanical stability),
the more output = input.
Ah, an assumption is an idea. You have my attention.
As I've said repeatedly, if the input is of bad sonic quality,
digital media and digital conversion will certainly preserve and not
mask those flaws as much as older analog technologies, which add
distortions (some apparently very euphonic to some people) and mask
or "soften" some flaws at the input end (again, this is found to be
euphonic by some people).
Ah, but the same is true of bad input to analog, so no points there.
Please look up euphonic in a dictionary. It is not a swear. True,
distortions can sound good to some people, there's a whole guitar
effects industry to prove it. And as I noted at the last CES, a lot
of digital demos relied on euphonic female vocal recordings that my
dad would have filed under easy listening. I live in a Diana
Krall-free zone now.
So I again submit that many of the "digital sucks" crowd are
igorantly confusing bad human craft and bad human decisions on the
input end with what they hear on the output end and blaming the
I have never said digital sucks (is sucks a swear?), nor even bought
the tee shirt. Can you refer me to someone in that crowd who has? If
not, please promise to stop using swears to color an argument.
How does one quantify ideas like world-views? My students couldn't,
but they were just students.
But, let's see if we can put these different world-views to some
Hitler's idea (or world-view if you please) killed 6 million,
Kevorkian maybe a dozen who asked him to, but kindly. The winner
Does a woman have a right to choose, or is abortion murder? Big Bang
or Genesis? Coke or Pepsi?
Tom, the objective becomes subjective because everyone has
preconceptions and biases. Makes the species argumentative. You too.
Bruce, I really want you to take Jerry's offer. What's to be afraid
of -- I think some very interesting things could be learned by
everyone involved and Jerry has made a very generous offer of his
time and equipment. I suggest we can use test gears and test ears.
Tom, it might make more sense if you took the test. You are probably
more used to the methodology, and would be more surprised by anything
other than a null result. I might be bored, or confused, but hardly
You guys buy two copies of a few commercial CD's -- choose a couple
of titles each, and I think the tests would be best if you chose
something you're familiar with and consider a decent-sounding
Why? What does decent-sounding mean? Can you quantify that, or are we
back in the realm of perception?
Keep one copy wrapped up or have it dropped-shipped to Jerry (in
other words, Jerry should test it right out of the shrink-wrap, so
it goes into his machines just like it came out of the store). Take
the other copies and apply these various treatments, keeping careful
notes as to what treatments were applied. I think you'd want to
stick to one type of treatment per disc but maybe not? Let Jerry
submit both discs to his rigorous tests (please research Jerry's lab
if you don't believe me that his tests are rigorous).
Will Jerry's tests confirm the recordings are decent-sounding? That
was the basis on which you would choose them, so he must be able to
validate something that simple. Does the machine export the results
to Amazon.coms review pages? Man would that be cool!
Then I would let a third party take possession of the discs (trust
and verify, ya know) and all of you make your way to the ABX
comparison setup of your choosing (there was a very good one
designed by the Boston Acoustic Society described in a recent JAES
It's trust but verify, I think.
I am actually a past dues-paying member of the BAS. Not without
preconceptions in my day, at least. Actually, the decline in
membership back then correlated nicely with the ascent of digital
recordings. Never figured that out until now. Numbers don't lie, I
Listen and find out first of all if there IS an audible difference
between treated and untreated discs. And if there is, let everyone
keep careful notes as to what they prefer. Then let's compare the
results with Jerry's scientific analysis of things like error rates
and mechanical stability. Perhaps we can learn a few useful facts:I'm mostly interested in whether something gets more decent-sounding
or not. Wasn't that part of the hypothesis, that the discs were
decent sounding? There should be room for improvement there.
1. what variances in laser-disc interactions are effected by
polishing? Do they create higher or lower error rates? Do they
effect laser mechanics at all, and if so positively or negatively
vis-a-vis error rates? Is there an audible difference in ABX testing
between polished and unpolished discs?
Who knows, but does it sound better than decent?
2. does shaving the edge of a disc improve stability? Does it effect
error rates or laser-disc interactions? Is there an audible
difference in ABX testing?
Scott seems to have one of the Dharma Initiative degaussers that
imploded the hatch on Lost. But he heard a difference, and you'd have
to bounce him off the panel as biased because of it. Me too, I'm
afraid. Oops, I was afraid after all.
3. I guess we should ask if degaussing outright ruins a disc --
Scott's experience seems to indicate yes but I suspect the kind of
degaussing sold as a "treatment" uses a much less intense magnetic
field. So, if the disc isn't outright ruined, is the error rate or
mechanical stability effected? Is there an audible difference in ABX
My law student daughter says most trials are won/lost at voir dire.
True of ABX trials, too?
Wow, Tom, I've gotten you interested in PERCEPTION! You are no longer
speaking in MEANINGLESS ABSOLUTES! Like BARNUMESQUE HOKUM!
4. finally, and this would be the most interesting factor to examine
-- I dare say it fringes on a "perception" study -- was there much
agreement about any differences in sound? This would be particularly
interesting and I'll certainly admit surprise if there IS a
statistically relevant perceived differences in sound but no
statistically relevant differences from Jerry's tests. I doubt that
will happen but I'm never saying never.
I think the word you are looking for we can invent together right
here and now. You have suggested that digital might be "dysphonic",
if I have the Greek right. Sure, probably not, couldn't be, but maybe
we can at least copyright it. I can see the new Sony ad: Perfect
sound forever, and now less Dysphonic (TM) than ever, too! Royalties
5. this one is also very interesting, at least to me -- are discs
found to have higher error rates or less mechanical stability in
Jerry's tests preferred sonically in the ABX tests? This gets into
the question, are there euphonic "problems" in digital systems akin
to the harmonic distortion in tube gear that some find euphonic?
Again, I doubt this but again I'm never saying never.
Actually, Aldous Huxley opened the Doors of Perception, I think. I
just can't remember if I actually walked through them, must have been
back in the sixties, all a blur now. Worked for Jim Morrison, though.
So, what do you say guys? Let's see if we can get the laboratory and
the listening room to meet in the middle here. I bet if someone
forwards this thread to the BAS guys who wrote that JAES article
they'd be game to get a crowd together for ABX testing. The only way
we'll get answers is to do some testing. Jerry's opened the door,
Bruce you should walk through it.
But obviously, we just want to ask different questions. We are
looking for different answers. That is bias.
Extra gravey -- this might make a very good ARSC convention
How about From Euphonic Analog to Dysphonic Digital: A new approach
to evaluating musical reproduction. Authors Fine and Kinch
demonstrate their technique of dual-dimensional audio testing.
Plotting measured results on the X axis (Accuracy to Distortion) and
subjective musical pleasurability (Euphonic to Dysphonic) on the Y
axis, the researchers create a scatter plot revealing fundamental
differences between technologies, recordings, and playback equipment.
When correlated to individual biases, greater understanding of both
audiophillic and meter-mania disorders can be derived.