CD vs LP doesn't matter because I hear up to 50kHz! - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 39 Old 04-03-15, 10:54 AM Thread Starter
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Cool CD vs LP doesn't matter because I hear up to 50kHz!

Well, I can't really hear those high frequencies--but I can perceive them. Everyone can! People argue about CD this vs. LP that all the time when they should really be arguing about the best way to capture and reproduce harmonics. Why? Because harmonics are one of the details where music lives, and we all know the is in the details! And what are harmonics? Well, they are how we can tell instruments apart.

At this point you may be thinking it makes no difference to CD's because you can still tell an oboe apart from a clarinet or a guitar apart from a fiddle. And you'd be right; except that when you change the conversation to ultimate sound quality, you now want to be able to tell one violin apart from another. So let the discussion begin! Do you think this can of worms holds any water? Why or why not? As source for thought I cite two references:

Reference #1 (paraphrased excerpt):
"A pure note consisting entirely of one frequency will sound boring. The harmonics are missing. Harmonics are integer multiples of the fundamental frequency. The first harmonic is the fundamental frequency, 264Hz for middle C. The second harmonic will be twice this frequency, 528 Hz, which is an octave higher. The third harmonic will be three times the fundamental frequency, 792Hz, and so on. The violin, piano, and guitar all produce sounds by vibrating strings. Playing the same note, say middle C, will produce a tone with a fundamental frequency of 264 cycles per second. Yet all three instruments sound different because they have different harmonics. The amount of each harmonic present is what gives each musical instrument its own unique sound. A well made instrument will sound richer than a poorly made one because it will have better harmonics. An instrument with no harmonics will sound like a tuning fork with only one fundamental frequency present."

Reference #2 (paraphrased excerpt:)
Section X. Significance of the results
"Given the existence of musical-instrument energy above 20 kilohertz, it is natural to ask whether the energy matters to human perception or music recording. The common view is that energy above 20 kHz does not matter, but AES preprint 3207 by Oohashi et al. claims that reproduced sound above 26 kHz "induces activation of alpha-EEG rhythms that persist in the absence of high frequency stimulation, and can affect perception of sound quality."
Oohashi and his colleagues recorded gamelan to a bandwidth of 60 kHz, and played back the recording to listeners through a speaker system with an extra tweeter for the range above 26 kHz. This tweeter was driven by its own amplifier, and the 26 kHz electronic crossover before the amplifier used steep filters. The experimenters found that the listeners' EEGs and their subjective ratings of the sound quality were affected by whether this "ultra-tweeter" was on or off, even though the listeners explicitly denied that the reproduced sound was affected by the ultra-tweeter, and also denied, when presented with the ultrasonics alone, that any sound at all was being played. "

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post #2 of 39 Old 04-04-15, 09:36 AM Thread Starter
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Re: CD vs LP doesn't matter because I hear up to 50kHz!

People are staying away. Did I say something wrong? I didn't mean this as a flame or to troll. I'm genuinely interested in your thoughts. Should I have used the word "discussion" instead of "argument"? Do most/all of you rank this topic up there with snake oil?

Please reply or PM me, as I welcome constructive criticism!
TIA

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post #3 of 39 Old 04-04-15, 10:02 AM
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Hey Lou! You've blinded me with science!(get that song out of your head now lol). Gotta run. I'll visit later.
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post #4 of 39 Old 04-04-15, 11:08 AM
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Re: CD vs LP doesn't matter because I hear up to 50kHz!

Personally I don't care about the science behind such things. I let my ears tell me what I hear and decide from there. The whole LP vs CD is old and the reality is that most people don't care unless they have invested a huge amount in an LP setup the winner is easy. Plus it was already mentioned in the other thread that channel separation on vinyl as well as bass is mono so you must have a high end table and cartridge to gain from it.

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post #5 of 39 Old 04-04-15, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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Re: CD vs LP doesn't matter because I hear up to 50kHz!

Thanks for checking in... I do appreciate the feedback. I'll get the hang of this thread-starting thing one of these days, you'll see.

Just to sum up and not leave this thread up in the air... Harmonics grow steadily weaker has they go higher in scale. I think anyone would be hard pressed to hear a difference even if fragile harmonics could be preserved through the whole recording/listening chain. Hey, maybe that could be a selling point for snake-oil cables: "We preserve upper harmonics, so you don't have to!"

Our listening media, systems and rooms--with all their faults--still allow us to tell the difference between similar instruments. Most of the harmonics that make a difference are within our range of hearing, so super-tweeters need not apply. Chalk this can of worms up to Great Audio Myth #_____.

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post #6 of 39 Old 04-10-15, 11:15 AM
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Re: CD vs LP doesn't matter because I hear up to 50kHz!

Hey, Lou, just catching up. I find this very interesting, not just in how it relates to CD vs vinyl, but in how it could possibly explain other preferences. Amp A vs Amp B, for instance. I have wondered if there might be some "other sense" involved sometimes where an amp or DAC or medium is clearly preferred by certain listeners, or where it is only after extended listening that a difference becomes apparent. The alpha-EEG reference is the first work that I have heard of that looks at possibilities of perception beyond but related to hearing. To someone who has "tuned into" that other dimension of perception, they might very well associate it with their hearing, as it would seem natural to do.

Having dealt with meditation and hypnosis - OK, we are way out of the audio field now - I can testify that an increase in alpha waves when self-induced definitely feels different, more peaceful, very pleasant. If a listener experienced this while listening to vinyl, or a different amplifier, or a different speaker cable - I know it is a stretch, but we are just brainstorming here - that "pleasant, peaceful" feeling could be perceived as part of the listening experience and lead to an equipment or technology preference. And would be very real and potentially repeatable, for the attuned listener, under the right set of test circumstances.

Edit: Some listeners might have have a tendency to "tune out" that other area of perception altogether, or when doing critical listening. And it might not be conducive to A/B testing. But if a listener is "tuned into" that perception and associates it with the listening experience, then it is as valid to that listener as soundstage or distortion or any other aspect of the listening experience. And someday might even be a measurable system parameter.
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post #7 of 39 Old 04-10-15, 11:39 AM
 
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Re: CD vs LP doesn't matter because I hear up to 50kHz!

Couldn't the extended frequency response also effect the tonality of the instruments or vocals?

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post #8 of 39 Old 04-10-15, 12:43 PM
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Re: CD vs LP doesn't matter because I hear up to 50kHz!

Quote:
ellisr63 wrote: View Post
Couldn't the extended frequency response also effect the tonality of the instruments or vocals?
Just speculating, if the extended response is directly associated with hearing, then it would seem like it could affect the perception of tonalities. If it is more of a "nice feeling," then it seems like it would not.
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post #9 of 39 Old 04-10-15, 02:38 PM
 
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Re: CD vs LP doesn't matter because I hear up to 50kHz!

Quote:
AudiocRaver wrote: View Post
Just speculating, if the extended response is directly associated with hearing, then it would seem like it could affect the perception of tonalities. If it is more of a "nice feeling," then it seems like it would not.
The reason I said this is every note has overtones (?), and if you chop off a part of it... What happens to the original note. I am thinking it is possible that chopping off the overtone could effect the original tone...maybe tonally. Not sure how you would be able to prove it one way or another though.

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post #10 of 39 Old 04-10-15, 02:40 PM
 
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Re: CD vs LP doesn't matter because I hear up to 50kHz!

The only way I can think of to test the theory would be...

Take a tone and digitally chop it off directly at the frequency, and take another tone and leave it alone, and then listen to the 2 tones, and see if there is any audible difference. Feasible?

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