[LAU] Pro Audio? OT rant.

Ralf Mardorf ralf.mardorf at alice-dsl.net
Thu Dec 27 13:57:43 UTC 2012

On Mon, 2012-12-24 at 10:38 -0600, Brent Busby wrote:
> On Mon, 24 Dec 2012, Thomas Vecchione wrote:
> > Your McDonalds analogy would be a better analogy if applied to lossy 
> > compression, and MP3 in particular, rather than Digital vs Analog.  A 
> > more suitable analogy for digital vs analog is going to the fine 
> > restaurant, having an amazing meal, and then being able to reproduce 
> > the exact same meal every time(Digital), whereas a chef might make 
> > small changes to the recipe(Analog).
> Actually I think the thing with analog is that while it's not sonically 
> accurate, the inaccuracies are often musical and pleasant (though that 
> may be more true to older people who are used to the sound of tubes and 
> tape than younger people who are used to MP3's and digital aliasing 
> artifacts).  A lot of the warmth that people associate with an analog 
> signal is harmonics that were not even in the original signal to begin 
> with -- but few can argue that they sound good!  That's the whole point 
> of tube compressors and preamps...not to sound accurate, but to sound 
> even better than accurate.
> After a lifetime of listening to tape saturation and harmonics from tube 
> coloration, accuracy is so...boring.

Correct, accuracy isn't wanted, but it's possible with analog gear too.

> > The Shannon-Nyquist theorem was absolutely the primary inspiration 
> > behind the choice of sample rates of CD.  The theorem states that you 
> > can reproduce exactly any frequency that you sample at over twice the 
> > frequency.  So when 44.1 was chosen, it allows for any frequency up to 
> > just above 22kHz to be reproduced exactly.  The limits of the average 
> > undamaged human hearing is 20kHz, and the average limit for typical 
> > adult hearing is probably closer to the 18k range if the ears were 
> > well taken care of.  For most people that listened to loud music, etc. 
> > that limit is probably much lower.
> The really nice part about that (especially for people like me who 
> actually have damaged their hearing in some frequency zones due to 
> unwise loud playing of the ride cymbal bell and such things as that) is 
> that fortunately, most of the frequencies that really make people groove 
> aren't up in the >10kHz range anyway.  People really respond to bass and 
> mids, even upper midrange, but if you give people too much high treble, 
> unless it's really smooth, it can be described by so many fairly 
> negative adjectives: metallic, harsh, cold, tinny, abrasive, clangy. 
> Most people like warm recordings.  Those near ultrasonic frequencies 
> usually just aren't that big a part of the music.

12 KHz, 14 KHz etc. are needed for transparentness, to add room to the


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