[Ardour-Users] Experience? Rework an external 44.1 KHz 16 bit recording

Lamar Owen lowen at pari.edu
Fri Aug 20 07:09:34 PDT 2010

On Friday, August 20, 2010 05:46:08 am John Emmas wrote:
> So I guess that changing a cable might actually improve the listening experience for an audiophile - simply because they believe it will do so..!  After all, listening to music (as with all appreciation of art) is largely subjective anyway.  Beauty being in the eye (and ear) of the beholder!!

Oh, certainly.  That's why any real testing has to be double-blind A-B with identical SPL (audio engineers should know what changes in SPL of less than 1dB do to the sound), room setup, and even air pressure (in my case, due to sinus problems I can tell roughly what the air pressure is from my ears' low frequency response); thus, A/B testing has to be clickless, and the listener can't even know when it was switched for best accuracy (knowing the switch occurred means you listen for changes, and the very act of concentrating changes the tension of the muscles in the face, which changes your ears' response (at least in my case; I've even noticed what seemed to be pitch changes when yawning).  Take out the placebo effect entirely.

Slightly related (and I add this paragraph only because of the context of this portion of the thread, and because most here like seeing crazy far out audio gear), if you wanted the ultimate in listening rooms, look at this guy's setup: http://www.royaldevice.com/custom.htm  ; includes what appears to be the world's largest horn subwoofer.  I'm not sure I agree with what he says in the text of the page (it's translated from italian, and thus I may not be getting the full meaning in english), but that subwoofer system is insane (in a 'wow, what a cool setup' meaning of 'insane'), and the guy built it himself.

Back in the context of Ardour and mixing, the placebo effect also means that the engineer has to be careful, since, if the engineer adds an effect thought to improve the sound, in that engineer's ears it WILL probably improve the sound.  This is the core reason the recommendation to 'sleep on it and listen again in the morning' is so spot-on, and it is also why the recommendation to have someone other than the mix engineer do the mastering is spot-on.

Likewise, if the engineer does something that the engineer thinks will hurt the sound, that engineer is likely to never really be satisfied with the sound.  These are the simple psychoacoustic facts of life, and thanks, John, for reminding us that our ears, even though they are frequency domain transducers, are not unbiased spectrum analyzers.

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