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Interview With Ethan Winer: Acoustics Expert And Author

Brandon Drury —  July 23, 2012 — 1 Comment

The-Audio-Expert-Review

 

Ethan runs Real Traps, high end acoustic treatment and is the author of a new book, The Audio Expert. (I’m only half way through with it but I’m finding it a must read for anyone curious about audio or who would prefer to learn EVERYTHING. I have way too many gaps in my knowledge and this book has been excellent at filling those gaps. A full/fool review is in the works.:beerbangX:

I expected Ethan to be sharp, for some dumb reason I didn’t expect him to be so fun. If we would have had more time, I would have asked him about the Higgs Boson, but the grocery store was closing and he needed to put some pants on. ;)

Note: I want to apologize for the pics in the video. My assistant may have to go back to the home. I told him I wanted “awesome” and “funny” pics of Ethan like with his cat or the Three Ethans cello thing. For some reason I just feel like I’ve TOTALLY invaded the guy’s privacy when we start bringing family picks into the picture. This is NOT my style. (Probably because 89% of all wives hate me until I fix their computer.) Anyway, I plan on giving my assistant, Ruprect, a few lashings just as soon as I can get him to stop drooling.

Saved Comments
fHumble fHingaz – 07-23-2012, 05:31 PM Edit Reply
Excellent interview, Brandon!

Mackanov – 07-23-2012, 09:15 PM Edit Reply
Great stuff from Ethan. I hope I can put it to good use in my new spare room studio.

bobbybovine – 07-23-2012, 09:58 PM Edit Reply
Awesome interview. Thanks Brandon and thanks Ethan. Ethan I hope you stick around the forum and straighten us out when we get out of line

drumnbum – 07-24-2012, 09:28 AM Edit Reply
Good interview but I’m a little confused as to how a Focusrite Saffire would be considered a “good high quality converter”.

shadowsreach – 07-24-2012, 10:45 AM Edit Reply
Awesome interview! Thanks guys!

shadowsreach – 07-24-2012, 10:47 AM Edit Reply
Awesome! Interview Thanks!

brandondrury – 07-24-2012, 10:51 AM Edit Reply
Good interview but I’m a little confused as to how a Focusrite Saffire would be considered a “good high quality converter”.
I’ve got a feeling I know what Ethan is going to say.

First, we need to define what a “high quality converter” is in terms of frequency response, distortion, transient response, etc. Then we simply need to look and see if the Focusrite Saffire can meet those specifications.

While I understand that there is a temptation to view a Focusrite Saffire as “not in the A list of converters”, this is entirely based on marketing and the image of each company. We generally consider Prism, Lavry, Apogee, etc as A-list converters, but does anyone know exactly what that means? All of this stuff is measurable and could be graded on purely empirical standards if we chose to create them.

Even if we drink the kool aid (which I clearly have in my studio…and I mostly regret) and say that maybe there is something to really high end converters, passing blind tests isn’t always easy. Gear Prostitutes had a converter shootout between an Apogee AD-16x and a Behringer ADA8000 and the blind votes were split almost 50/50. The poll was left open after the results were posted and suddenly the votes for the Apogee skyrocketed. Funny stuff. Typical.

Note: Everyone who waited for the results to be posted, read them, and then voted is a con artist and knows it. I call that type of person a full-blown scum bag as they are intentionally rigging the poll when their ears or the gear deviation wasn’t great enough to detect an audible difference. This poll is something some people will use to influence their buying decisions.

My point has nothing to do with Apogee or Behringer. It is that this converter business is VERY freakin’ subtle. Why? Because the relatively inexpensive gear doesn’t perform that much different from the high end toys. In order to judge the Saffire one would have to have heard it in action or done measurements on it. For all I know it’s the best converter on Earth.

Further, the $6500 I dumped into converters has not bared the kind of fruit I hoped it would. It was a good lesson to learn. I wish I could have learned it for less.

Brandon

bozmillar – 07-24-2012, 11:25 AM Edit Reply
Yess. he called it a daw.

JoshERTW – 07-24-2012, 12:05 PM Edit Reply
Awesome Stuff.

Earlier this year I re-jigged my entire mixing setup based mainly on stuff I read on Ethan’s site, and just the room positioning advice alone made a huge difference (I have a bit of homemade treatment for direct reflections but that’s about it – Just got ARC so I’m curious to see how that works out.

I get the distinct feeling I might be buying another “Brandon Recommended” book i the near future…

Dahla – 07-24-2012, 01:18 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by brandondrury
I’ve got a feeling I know what Ethan is going to say.

First, we need to define what a “high quality converter” is in terms of frequency response, distortion, transient response, etc. Then we simply need to look and see if the Focusrite Saffire can meet those specifications.

While I understand that there is a temptation to view a Focusrite Saffire as “not in the A list of converters”, this is entirely based on marketing and the image of each company. We generally consider Prism, Lavry, Apogee, etc as A-list converters, but does anyone know exactly what that means? All of this stuff is measurable and could be graded on purely empirical standards if we chose to create them.

Even if we drink the kool aid (which I clearly have in my studio…and I mostly regret) and say that maybe there is something to really high end converters, passing blind tests isn’t always easy. Gear Prostitutes had a converter shootout between an Apogee AD-16x and a Behringer ADA8000 and the blind votes were split almost 50/50. The poll was left open after the results were posted and suddenly the votes for the Apogee skyrocketed. Funny stuff. Typical.

Note: Everyone who waited for the results to be posted, read them, and then voted is a con artist and knows it. I call that type of person a full-blown scum bag as they are intentionally rigging the poll when their ears or the gear deviation wasn’t great enough to detect an audible difference. This poll is something some people will use to influence their buying decisions.

My point has nothing to do with Apogee or Behringer. It is that this converter business is VERY freakin’ subtle. Why? Because the relatively inexpensive gear doesn’t perform that much different from the high end toys. In order to judge the Saffire one would have to have heard it in action or done measurements on it. For all I know it’s the best converter on Earth.

Further, the $6500 I dumped into converters has not bared the kind of fruit I hoped it would. It was a good lesson to learn. I wish I could have learned it for less.

Brandon
For a mote recent shoot-out, check the Prism Orpheus vs Steinberg MR816 on the same site. Great read when the Prism lost big time until the results where posted. Then suddenly it was “ooooh, OOOOH! The Steinberg sucks and Prism is SO much open, clear etc and by the way the test is flawed!”
Funny how nobody called the test flawed when everybody heard it clear as NIGHT AND DAY that clip A was the Prism. (Of course it wasn’t. )

Oh, and great interview Brandon. Keep ‘em coming.

Hope you’ll hang around Ethan! I’ve been reading alot of your posts on GS, you’ll find it alot friendlier here.

LazyE – 07-24-2012, 02:18 PM Edit Reply
amazing interview!

this guy is a legend, i`d love half his knowledge.

lol @ banning Ethan Winer from a musical forum because he was CORRECT!
thats like banning fat people and hungry people from mac donalds!
i`m never goin on said site again! they should be thankful for his imput, tools!

nice inteview dude
:-)

JoshERTW – 07-24-2012, 02:32 PM Edit Reply
I find the banning thing to be pretty hilarious too.

I’d rather be right and despised than be wrong and accepted any day of the week. Story of my life haha!

Good on ya Ethan!

cporro – 07-24-2012, 03:12 PM Edit Reply
i always liked ethan’s site. lots of useful information. might just get that book. gonna check it out and see what he covers.

that’s hilarious about him getting banned!

cporro – 07-24-2012, 03:41 PM Edit Reply
just remembered something else i like about ethan. he does tests and shares the results. i’m very into that. first hand knowledge is the best. i did a dither vs non-dither test a few months ago. i doubt most people could even pick it out. i can hear it but only in my daw (strange) and it’s super super subtle. proving to me dither is a non-issue for pop music. Dithering to 16bit. Can you hear it? | BlueDustStudio / Chris Porro

thomastx750 – 07-24-2012, 04:34 PM Edit Reply
I spent a ton of money on converters and monitors and I still suck at mixing.

jp2121 – 07-24-2012, 05:50 PM Edit Reply
I loved it. Do another one please.

Smurf – 07-24-2012, 08:28 PM Edit Reply
If I read the “banning” right he was removed for being abrasive, not because of knowledge….and he IS abrasive in ways. But folks should either ignore that part or just move on.

As for me, he is just another “minion with an opinion” on the net, and voices it forcefully. I have learned a LOT from him, and maybe his brain is bigger than mine, but overall his points get lost in the attitude.

Great Interview either way, it was enjoyable!

Dahla – 07-24-2012, 09:44 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by Smurf
If I read the “banning” right he was removed for being abrasive, not because of knowledge….and he IS abrasive in ways. But folks should either ignore that part or just move on.

As for me, he is just another “minion with an opinion” on the net, and voices it forcefully. I have learned a LOT from him, and maybe his brain is bigger than mine, but overall his points get lost in the attitude.

Great Interview either way, it was enjoyable!
I don’t think he was anymore abrasive than the folks who attacked him because he went against their personal beliefs. I understand that when someone goes for your throat, you punch and kick the bastards. And when that happens, the arguments loose. Sad but true.

drumnbum – 07-25-2012, 08:12 AM Edit Reply
Brandon,

When you mentioned you did the bit/dither test – am I correct that you said you did it with a CD? (I could be mistaken, but I thought that’s what you said). If so, the CD is already 16 bit – there won’t be any difference whatsoever when popping a plugin (that starts at 16 bits) onto a 16 bit track. I’ve done this test myself with several songs within Logic – taking a currently 24 bit song and using a plugin to reduce the bit depth to 16 and the differences can definitely be heard. Now, oftentimes they’re quite subtle (especially depending on the source material) – but isn’t that what good engineering/mixing is all about? It’s the extra 1-5% that makes up all the difference – especially when it’s 1% here, 2% there.

John Lance – 07-25-2012, 11:04 AM Edit Reply
I believe the gap between “high” end and “low-middle” end converters has been closing for years.

This interview was super! Thanks!

Ethan Winer – 07-25-2012, 02:00 PM Edit Reply
Wow, what a bunch of great comments. Thanks folks.

Originally Posted by brandondrury
First, we need to define what a “high quality converter” is in terms of frequency response, distortion, transient response, etc. Then we simply need to look and see if the Focusrite Saffire can meet those specifications.
You totally get it Brandon.

Regarding my being abrasive in audio forums, that’s simply not true. I never start fights with people, and I’m never rude to people unless they’re rude and insulting to me first.

–Ethan

jackslab1 – 07-25-2012, 02:22 PM Edit Reply
Hey Ethan, really like the interview and appreciate you sharing your knowledge. I’ll post a schematic of my room when I get a chance if you would be so kind as to give some advice as far as what to do behind my desk. My question was the one about the sloped ceiling if you recall. Do appreciate you giving Brandon the time to ask all of the questions from us forum members and whoring yourself out. It’s cool to have you around to answer alot of the acoustic questions for us “Noobs”. Thanks again and great interview.

irawan gani – 07-25-2012, 02:44 PM Edit Reply
whichever forum banned Ethan Winer deserves to be sent to the gates of hell for eternity.

drumnbum – 07-25-2012, 03:04 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by irawan gani
whichever forum banned Ethan Winer deserves to be sent to the gates of hell for eternity.
What makes you say that?

irawan gani – 07-25-2012, 04:16 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by drumnbum
What makes you say that?
why do you think i say that?

drumnbum – 07-25-2012, 04:40 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by irawan gani
why do you think i say that?
If I knew, I wouldn’t have asked….

irawan gani – 07-25-2012, 05:31 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by drumnbum
If I knew, I wouldn’t have asked….
why do you need to know?

brandondrury – 07-25-2012, 06:13 PM Edit Reply
When you mentioned you did the bit/dither test – am I correct that you said you did it with a CD?
I’ve done many tests on this. The one I mentioned in the interview was taking a finished 16 bit modern metal song that was loud as hell and moving it down to 8bits. It was shocking just how listenable 8 bits was in that case. That was my point.

You notice it quite a bit in certain industrial-type kick drums that use a bit crusher. The thing doesn’t really get NASTY until about < 4 bits or so. I always used 3.2 bits for this.

taking a currently 24 bit song and using a plugin to reduce the bit depth to 16 and the differences can definitely be heard.
That’s cool. Maybe you can post it. I’d love to hear it. I’ve not been able to repeat your findings in blind tests, but my hearing may not be that good.

Now, oftentimes they’re quite subtle (especially depending on the source material) – but isn’t that what good engineering/mixing is all about?
No, I don’t think mixing is about being subtle. Mixing is about making music that excites people. If it really is a game of inches, fair enough. I think it seems to be entirely about humans and the difference between the best and the middle ground is probably best measured in miles. In my world, the toys don’t do the work. At least not as advertised.

This is all philosophical stuff, I guess.

It’s the extra 1-5% that makes up all the difference – especially when it’s 1% here, 2% there.
That’s the standard logic that has been good for business for high end audio companies. I’m not necessarily disagreeing. However, when you dump $10k in preamps, $3k on compressors, $6.5k on converters, etc and then end up more or less where you started, you do get a hair….skeptical. I think this hypothesis of incremental improvements is best used on people who haven’t maxed out every link of their chain. It keeps them chasing the carrot/dragon. I’ve got a rather strange hypothesis that gear acquisition makes you worse at mixing and I’ll explain that in a later article. I think there is some real truth to it in specific situations.

Brandon

John Lance – 07-25-2012, 07:05 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by brandondrury
I’ve done many tests on this. The one I mentioned in the interview was taking a finished 16 bit modern metal song that was loud as hell and moving it down to 8bits. It was shocking just how listenable 8 bits was in that case. That was my point. Brandon
I am thinking with that type of mix there is SO much information packed into the upper end of the bits available and that there is maybe just enough decorrelation (a sufficiency of randomization from instant to instant) with all of what is going on in that mix that this can almost work.
[Edit] Take out the word decorrelation. I had a moron moment. There’s just enough “randomization” in right areas.

Dahla – 07-25-2012, 10:16 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by brandondrury
I’ve done many tests on this. The one I mentioned in the interview was taking a finished 16 bit modern metal song that was loud as hell and moving it down to 8bits. It was shocking just how listenable 8 bits was in that case. That was my point.

You notice it quite a bit in certain industrial-type kick drums that use a bit crusher. The thing doesn’t really get NASTY until about < 4 bits or so. I always used 3.2 bits for this.

That’s cool. Maybe you can post it. I’d love to hear it. I’ve not been able to repeat your findings in blind tests, but my hearing may not be that good.

No, I don’t think mixing is about being subtle. Mixing is about making music that excites people. If it really is a game of inches, fair enough. I think it seems to be entirely about humans and the difference between the best and the middle ground is probably best measured in miles. In my world, the toys don’t do the work. At least not as advertised.

This is all philosophical stuff, I guess.

That’s the standard logic that has been good for business for high end audio companies. I’m not necessarily disagreeing. However, when you dump $10k in preamps, $3k on compressors, $6.5k on converters, etc and then end up more or less where you started, you do get a hair….skeptical. I think this hypothesis of incremental improvements is best used on people who haven’t maxed out every link of their chain. It keeps them chasing the carrot/dragon. I’ve got a rather strange hypothesis that gear acquisition makes you worse at mixing and I’ll explain that in a later article. I think there is some real truth to it in specific situations.

Brandon
I’ve always thought the bit thing was that 16 bit was good enough, but the recommendations for 24 bit was always just to be safe because you could. The reasoning being 16 bit and softer sounds vs noise floor, and with 24 bit you don’t even need to care or give it a thought at all?

So in my mind it’s not a fidelity thing, it’s a noise floor thing. (Well, somewhat fidelity related though)

Jahman00 – 07-26-2012, 10:23 AM Edit Reply
What a great interveiw! i had a question for ethan what about acoustical membranes Such as MLV vs. a rubber rececelyed compsite both being about a 1/8 of an inch thick I am trying to create a booth that is compeletly isolated from the inside out. no sound goes in no sound goes out. Have you had any experiance with MLV or any one else on the forum?? I am basically trying to find out will it help absorb BASS freqencies more coupled with some 703 2″ ???

irawan gani – 07-26-2012, 10:28 AM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by bozmillar
I looked and couldn’t find anything. care to provide a link? The only ethan bashing I found was on mixerman’s site and I didn’t see anything but third grader playground logic used to refute his claims.
Indeed. i was looking for it but nothing except for he says she says they say.

Which reminds me of the Mark Exit Goodchild interview on Pensado’s place where he mixed a song using only mp3 stems. If it is recorded well does it even matter?

m24p – 07-26-2012, 12:02 PM Edit Reply
Yeah, I just use 24-bit because who cares? If it didn’t take up gobs more space and CPU I’d also use a higher sample rate, for the same reason. Since it does, I use 48 kS/s. Works for me.

bozmillar – 07-26-2012, 12:17 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by m24p
Yeah, I just use 24-bit because who cares? If it didn’t take up gobs more space and CPU I’d also use a higher sample rate, for the same reason. Since it does, I use 48 kS/s. Works for me.
I use 24 bit for the same reason. It doesn’t increase my cpu usage because it’s all being converted to 64bit floats anyway. Now I can peak at -50dB on not have to care.

I do choose the 16 bit option on my sample libraries though because disk I/O is often a bottleneck and reducing that by 33% can be significant, and I feel pretty safe assuming that they didn’t use my super lazy gain staging strategies when recording the samples.

JoshERTW – 07-26-2012, 12:18 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by m24p
Yeah, I just use 24-bit because who cares? If it didn’t take up gobs more space and CPU I’d also use a higher sample rate, for the same reason. Since it does, I use 48 kS/s. Works for me.
This reminds me of something I’ve been meaning to ask – I’ve recently been mixing out of Cubase directly to Mp3 (320 k), instead of going to WAV first and then converting.

Anyone done any testing on this / noticed any difference between a direct mixed Mp3 and a converted from WAV Mp3?

Gut tells me it wouldn’t make any noticeable difference but was curious to see if anyone had tried both methods on the same song.

bozmillar – 07-26-2012, 12:23 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by JoshERTW
This reminds me of something I’ve been meaning to ask – I’ve recently been mixing out of Cubase directly to Mp3 (320 k), instead of going to WAV first and then converting.

Anyone done any testing on this / noticed any difference between a direct mixed Mp3 and a converted from WAV Mp3?

Gut tells me it wouldn’t make any noticeable difference but was curious to see if anyone had tried both methods on the same song.
shouldn’t make any difference, since the mp3 encoder requires PCM input, cubase is exporting a PCM stream then sending it to the encoder. Same thing as exporting a wav then converting it, only the first step is hidden then thrown away.

bobbybovine – 07-26-2012, 12:30 PM Edit Reply
I do that often actually, just to make sure that the conversion to lower bitrate doesn’t cause any accidental clipping. I have had mixes that were limited to -.1db have strange sounds in the MP3 that weren’t in the uncompressed wav. Reducing my limiter to output -.3db fixed this problem and I find myself going straight to MP3 more often lately.

John Lance – 07-26-2012, 01:50 PM Edit Reply
Liking the bit depth statement at least for the practical application. I want to stay out of that other stuff…

brandondrury – 07-26-2012, 02:35 PM Edit Reply
1) I’m always skeptical of everything and every one.
2) I’ve done most of Ethan’s tests myself in conditions where I didn’t give a shit about the outcome. I can’t EVER remember a time where there was ever an exceptional deviation from what Ethan has claimed.

I do want to point out that Mixerman went out of a limb in his book on mixing and said something to the effect of if you can’t hear the obvious improvement in depth (whatever that is) with analog summing you are an idiot. He put his reputation on the line. Granted, he has a fail safe in that I probably am an idiot. However, a Toft ATB32 with Apogee DA-16x converters bared ZERO improvement on my recordings over ITB summing. It did take forever to zero out the console perfectly and that whole experiment cost me about $13,000. So if we are going to point a finger at what I’m calling “life damage”, for me I can 100% say that following Mixerman’s advice cost me infinitely more than Ethan Winer’s.

3) Ethan, being science minded, would most likely improve any experiment if a flaw was pointed out.

The implication behind the quote seems more like political mud flinging particularly when every single once of us with 2 minutes of free time can test the effect ourselves.

Brandon

Ethan Winer – 07-26-2012, 03:04 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by Dahla
So in my mind it’s not a fidelity thing, it’s a noise floor thing. (Well, somewhat fidelity related though)
Yes, bit-depth is entirely about the noise floor. The notion that there’s higher resolution because the vertical “steps” are smaller is incorrect. All that’s affected is noise.

–Ethan

PS: I see Mixerman’s Womb Forum brigade has arrived. You should see the hissy fit they’re having over there now. This happens every time I have an article published or do a podcast like this one. I have no idea why this gets their panties in a bunch! But they feel they must respond even though they can’t refute me on the facts, so all that’s left are insults and accusations. Go figure.

bozmillar – 07-26-2012, 05:25 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by m24p
Also, the implication that you have to be good at mixing to have an opinion on audio is dumb. Mixing is very much an artistic thing. You don’t need to engineer crap to be a good mixer, and you could believe all sorts of bogus superstitions and what-not. Maybe it even helps. That doesn’t mean that the people who are bad at mixing but good at science can’t do objective tests on audio related things or have an opinion on whack-job audiophile scams.
Just think of the people who actually designed the converters. I’m pretty sure they don’t have a lot of high album sales to their names. Does that mean their designs aren’t valid?

bozmillar – 07-26-2012, 05:52 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by Convectuoso
Everyone’s argument is that Ethan is (supposedly) a scientist right? We are focusing on the SCIENCE of gear right?

But if mixing is an art not a science…Then who would you trust regarding anything remotely related to mixing? The artist (who uses the gear intimately for hours on end) or the scientist (who devises pointless loopback tests that he then doesn’t do properly)?
He never claimed to be giving mixing advice. He doesn’t even pretend to. What he was saying is that in a blind test, people who claim to hear these “huge” differences are rarely able to actually pick them out. I’ve seen this played out many times over. Until I see a test that shows otherwise, I’ll be pretty confident in the results that have already been shown. People claim that cheapo converters are objectively worse, but tests show otherwise. This isn’t a mixing issue, it’s an objective issue.

Originally Posted by Convectuoso
Also if Ethan did what he did with the loopback test in any other scientific field other than audio engineering, he would be shunned and ridiculed no-one would believe anything thereafter.
What exactly did he do that would cause this shunning and ridicule? There has still been no mention beyond personal insults that show what he did wrong.

bozmillar – 07-26-2012, 06:09 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by Convectuoso
I’m sorry but I already showed you a quote where he admitted himself that he botched the test.
He admitted that he didn’t expect the result, which caused him to go back to make sure he didn’t screw it up. He didn’t find anything that indicated he did it wrong. How is that admitting he did it wrong?

Originally Posted by Convectuoso
And if you don’t want to take the words of several highly established people then that’s your problem.
I don’t take anybody’s word if they can’t back up what they say. If my 3 year old did a test to prove a point and einstein was on the other side of the room making fart noises with his armpit, I’d take my 3 year old’s word for it.

Convectuoso – 07-26-2012, 06:19 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by bozmillar
He admitted that he didn’t expect the result, which caused him to go back to make sure he didn’t screw it up. He didn’t find anything that indicated he did it wrong. How is that admitting he did it wrong?
Maybe I need to explain more clearly.

When you do a loopback test, there is no way in hell (see: mission impossible) for the source files and the original files to null completely.

Guess what, they did. And that’s only what I know for sure, there was also talk of the files not alligning properly and being out, so he possibly did not calculate the converter latency so the test would be fucked from the beginning. But I’m not sure about that so don’t quote me on it.

So to reiterate in a more succinct way…either:

A) He botched some of the files on purpose to skew the results.
B) He botched them on accident, and him checking his routing makes him even more incompetent.

I don’t take anybody’s word if they can’t back up what they say. If my 3 year old did a test to prove a point and einstein was on the other side of the room making fart noises with his armpit, I’d take my 3 year old’s word for it.
It’s hard to prove a point when you are banned from a specific thread at the request of Ethan. It’s hard to back up your word when all evidence is scrubbed from the internet.

bozmillar – 07-26-2012, 06:30 PM Edit Reply
ok. It’s becoming a little more clear. So he did a test, screwed it up, posted the results, used those results to prove his point, then erased all evidence of having done the test. So now it’s a war of who is most trustworthy, a guy who sells acoustic treatment and puts tests up on his page to show that treatment is more important than preamps, or a guy who writes books under a disguised name talking about how his clients are retarded.

I’m with m24p. I’m much more interested in actually discussing audio than personal feuds.

Dahla – 07-26-2012, 06:37 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by Convectuoso
Yes but guess who they get to pimp out all their gear?

People who have hit records. And (usually, CMIIW) not acoustic experts.

Proof:

Apogee Artists > Apogee Electronics

Also they have QUALIFIED engineers (see: actual engineers, not recordists who pretend to have 1/10th of the mental capacity as any real engineer, myself included) who rigorously test their equipment so that they can accurately and honestly provide spec sheets that legally have to be correct.
And yet, you have “professionals” telling us “non-professionals” that the said gear somehow still suck because of X and Y, and if we can’t hear it we are either dumb or incompetent.

Originally Posted by Convectuoso
How about this…

Would you ask a plumber to cut your hair?

Would you ask a doctor to put out the fire in your house?

No you wouldn’t.
Actually, why wouldn’t I? Are you telling me that a hair cutter is an extremely advanced tool, and someone who is a PLUMBER possible can’t work it? I only want a crew cut, not look like Operah.

And I’d be a little shocked if a doctor couldn’t have the mental ability to use a fire estinguisher to put out a fire if needs be. Or at least try too.

Originally Posted by Convectuoso
And in the same vein you probably wouldn’t ask Mixerman to analyze your room and fix it acoustically.

You would however ask him how different converters affect his mix process.

Ethan needs to stick to what he knows, acoustics. Not try to get people to forfeit money on their signal chain so he can make personal gains.
I probably wouldn’t ask mixerman for anything unless he has created some gear. Because as you said, why would I ask a mixer converter questions?

Would you ask an engineer that creates converters mixing questions?

Seeing your logic, I guess not…

brandondrury – 07-26-2012, 06:50 PM Edit Reply
ok. It’s becoming a little more clear. So he did a test, screwed it up, posted the results, used those results to prove his point, then erased all evidence of having done the test. So now it’s a war of who is most trustworthy, a guy who sells acoustic treatment and puts tests up on his page to show that treatment is more important than preamps, or a guy who writes books under a disguised name talking about how his clients are retarded.

I’m with m24p. I’m much more interested in actually discussing audio than personal feuds.
I’m sad to see this sort o thing happening here. I’m working hard on my video series right now and with a baby on the way I can’t make time to baby sit.

What’s most upsetting is that we are all adults, but feel the need to turn this discussion away from audio and towards he-said she-said like a bunch of 13-year old girls.

Lastly, these tests can be done in minutes. I wish I had some 1/8th cables. I’d do the Soundblaster vs Apogee test right now.

Mackanov – 07-26-2012, 06:52 PM Edit Reply
Hmm. This one derailed fast. Let’s ban Ethan so it won’t happen again!

John Lance – 07-26-2012, 10:01 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer
Yes, bit-depth is entirely about the noise floor. The notion that there’s higher resolution because the vertical “steps” are smaller is incorrect. All that’s affected is noise.
I would like to be sure we’re on the same page. The word resolution as used here is what I’m having a difficulty with.

I find that noise is hindering my desired outcome by affecting the resolution. ??? To put things in a round-about way.

Sure, some of my signal is there buried in that noise and I can hear it well enough perhaps, but that noise is affecting the resolution of the system (round about way of stating it). It is an added type of signal component as opposed to truncation distortion which can be horrendous. The dither noise required can possibly be drowning out my desired signal, and therefore, in this case it affects the resolution of the outcome, that this system is incapable of a required level of resolution for a desired reproduction.

I can no longer extract my original signal without that noise corruption being significant in the midst relative to my desired signal. At 8 bits this becomes very audible even if subjectively acceptable under some circumstances (anyone remember the Ensoniq sampler?), and at 16 bits it is audible mostly only with music of very wide dynamic range and nuance where actual signal levels can be low enough to where that noise is audible.

Are we dealing with a question of semantics concerning the use of this word here?

Mackanov – 07-26-2012, 10:16 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by John Lance
I would like to be sure we’re on the same page. The word resolution as used here is what I’m have a difficulty with.

I find that noise is hindering my desired outcome by affecting the resolution. ??? To put things in a round-about way.

Sure, some of my signal is there buried in that noise and I can hear it well enough perhaps, but that noise is affecting the resolution of the system (round about way of stating it). It is an added type of signal component as opposed to truncation distortion which can be horrendous. The dither noise required can possibly be drowning out my desired signal, and therefore, in this case it affects the resolution of the outcome, that this system is incapable of a required level of resolution for a desired reproduction.

I can no longer extract my original signal without that noise corruption being significant in the midst relative to my desired signal. At 8 bits this becomes very audible even if subjectively acceptable under some circumstances (anyone remember the Ensoniq sampler?), and at 16 bits it is audible mostly only with music of very wide dynamic range and nuance where actual signal levels can be low enough to where that noise is audible.

Are we dealing with a question of semantics concerning the use of this word here?
To use an analogy from the imaging world, bit depth = color depth, sampling rate = resolution. Does that help?

John Lance – 07-26-2012, 10:24 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by Mackanov
To use an analogy from the imaging world, bit depth = color depth, sampling rate = resolution. Does that help?
Not really.

Sample rate only limits my upper frequency capability. So I can resolve only so high of a frequency in the system.

Bit Depth affects my noise floor and dynamic range the system is capable of. Beyond a point (subjective to a degree), the noise floor has limited my ability to resolve a low level signal because that signal becomes lost in the noise floor. The case of signal to noise ratios.

John Lance – 07-26-2012, 10:36 PM Edit Reply
In photography, sample rate relates to the rate of change from one place to the next that can be captured on that digital sensor without aliasing occurring. Pixel density.

With the bit depth, the limit is in the number of colors and luminance levels that can be statically reproduced, and it is a resolution limitation, and in this case with no dithering applied (cannot be) there is truncation involved. This is interesting in that with a series of pictures such as a movie, I would think “dither” could be applied. This would depend on how our eyes “merge” things as to whether or not this would work and what factors might need changed for it to work.

With a movie, we have another sampling “rate” involved over time as well as with the relative distances mentioned before.

John Lance – 07-26-2012, 11:22 PM Edit Reply
Come to think of it, dither for each color channel and the luminance channel could possibly be applied across the static picture itself as a function of “noise” over the distances involved. I don’t know how human eyes would perceive the result. This would not seem to be very promising in my thinking.

irawan gani – 07-27-2012, 01:41 AM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by Convectuoso
For one, that was an obvious dig at the fact you couldn’t get my Username correct first, so please give me the same courtesy as you expect. Treat others as you are treated etc. -retracted.

And two, condescending would imply I am talking down on everyone, which I am not. What really is happening is everyone is jumping on the Ethan bandwagon without actually knowing the real truth. Blind following the deaf.
no one is jumping on his bandwagon at all. we are still in the midst of questioning and finding more about the interview and the information that he brings and suddenly someone comes in and says, DONT LISTEN TO HIM! HE IS A LIAR!

i get offended by the fact that i am not allowed to make up my own mind if Ethan Winer is liar or not. I am pretty sure most people here feel the same way too.

I am more skeptical of the person who comes in and says that… and i see that the calvary has arrived.

let me put it this way. over here we dont draw the battle line when we talk about Apogee vs Focusrite, dithering v non dithering, tits vs no tits, 2 inch dick vs 200 inch dick. we argue yes. we disagree yes. we analyse yes. but we dont say someone else is a liar because of that.

and if i have an attitude problem, i would have been long gone and banned in this forum brotha.

Mackanov – 07-27-2012, 07:32 AM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by John Lance
Come to think of it, dither for each color channel and the luminance channel could possibly be applied across the static picture itself as a function of “noise” over the distances involved. I don’t know how human eyes would perceive the result. This would not seem to be very promising in my thinking.
This is a 16 color (4 bit) image without dithering:

Now, this is an image with the same resolution (sample rate) and bit depth (4 bits), but with dithering:

To my eyes, the dithered result, while noisier, looks closer to reality than the truncated version.

Let’s take this a bit further. In my image analogy, black is always the lowest color I can get, and white always the brightest. Let’s take grayscale. If I have 8 bits (256 values), I can have 254 shades of gray in between those two, for instance. If I convert that image to 4 bits, I have to truncate those values to the nearest of 14 shades of gray or either black or white. Transposing this directly to audio doesn’t work exactly, because each bit in audio represents a fixed “step”. So the equivalent in audioland would be to throw away those darker 240 shades of gray. Which would leave me with a very bright image, and everything below that would be truncated to the darker gray that I have (noise floor).

At the same time, the highest possible detail I can represent in a 200 pixel wide image is 1 pixel wide lines or dots. This is sampling rate. The thinner the line I can represent, the higher the spatial resolution (sampling rate). If the resolution is still the same, it doesn’t matter how many colors I have to work with, as long as I have at least two, I can always represent a 1 pixel wide line.

Now, if the original image doesn’t have any pixel that is darker than my darkest gray at 4 bits, I will lose nothing when converting from 16 to 4 bits. This is why dithering is most useful on more dynamic material.

I know this isn’t clear as it should be, but I gotta run. If it doesn’t make sense maybe I can try to make it clearer later.

John Lance – 07-27-2012, 07:51 AM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by Mackanov
Now, this is an image with the same resolution (sample rate) and bit depth (4 bits), but with dithering:

I should’ve known to look this up on wikipedia!

Originally Posted by Mackanov
I will lose nothing when converting from 16 to 4 bits.
Detail will get lost in the noise floor. It is inevitable.

I understand very well what you’re saying.

Mackanov – 07-27-2012, 07:55 AM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by John Lance
Detail will get lost in the noise floor. It is inevitable.
Note that I said,
Originally Posted by Mackanov
Now, if the original image doesn’t have any pixel that is darker than my darkest gray at 4 bits, I will lose nothing when converting from 16 to 4 bits.
Which means, there wasn’t any detail there to begin with.

John Lance – 07-27-2012, 08:13 AM Edit Reply
The quality of the picture has suffered in going to 4 bits of depth even though dither has helped to reduce the impact. Much detail now has become fuzzed up.

Those sample photos really are not doing justice for the illustration here.

m24p – 07-27-2012, 09:55 AM Edit Reply
I think the real question is could you tell the difference between a dithered 16-bit image and a non-dithered one.

irawan gani – 07-27-2012, 10:27 AM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by m24p
I think the real question is could you tell the difference between a dithered 16-bit image and a non-dithered one.
oh no! i cant! i am a bad human being!!! my life as i know it has ended. I am going to start my T-shirt corner shop to make ends meet.

I’m busy so I’m leaving this up. I probably SHOULD close it.

I’ll go back and read the full extent of the damage later. For now, it seems that I should devise my own poll. I could have a Behringer ADA8000 hooked up in 3 minutes. I think this poll will require every person who takes the test agrees that the conditions of the poll are fair. This poll will contain the username and score of all people who take the test. It will clearly illustrate the % of people who can pick out the Behringer ADA8000 vs the Apogee AD-16x. (I don’t expect to do so well, personally.)

Here’s my prep thread: I Need Help Designing An Audio Test All people, regardless of bias, are free to help design the test, but my goal is to make it as empirical as possible.

Brandon

m24p – 07-27-2012, 12:16 PM Edit Reply
I don’t think it’s necessary to close it. Just a warning of “keep your egos out of it” would HOPEFULLY be enough to remind people to not be children. I’m looking forward to the test, although it won’t clear everything up once and for all it will be a valuable data point. I’m especially looking forward to JNZ-AE/Convectouso’s scores!

John Lance – 07-27-2012, 01:06 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by m24p
I think the real question is could you tell the difference between a dithered 16-bit image and a non-dithered one.
It can be difficult. I’ve tried it. The noise/truncation floor is pretty low here.

With certain kinds of audio, absolutely not. The “mess” would be so low compared to so many other things going on and would be below the ear’s threshold to detect.

With other kinds of audio, yes, you can hear it.

[Edit] Well I thought I could. I just tried here again and a pure sine tone cleans up pretty doggone decently at 12 bits with no dither applied (-6 dB signal level, oops, I’ve got a defective software meter here and the tone plugin is erroneous. I’ll have to investigate that. Okay, another meter indicates peaks of nearly 0 dBfs). Any signal level lower than that and the truncation noise was again clearly audible. This is at moderate listening levels.

There were a bunch of 12 bit audio products out in the 80′s. Korg’s SDD delay series for one. The math in those things must’ve been horrible for them to have that gritty character in the repeats

I’ve found if I crank pure sine tones loudly (low frequency), I can hear the truncation artifacts easily when down to 15 bits. I think other distortion is getting in the way at this point. Further investigation needed.

m24p – 07-27-2012, 02:04 PM Edit Reply
I said image, I was joking about the picture of the cat that was being posted with 4 bit. :P

John Lance – 07-27-2012, 02:15 PM Edit Reply
I hope this thread can either be turned around, or at worst closed and restarted, and in either case with no side drama crap. Please

Mackanov – 07-27-2012, 02:28 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by John Lance
It can be difficult. I’ve tried it. The noise/truncation floor is pretty low here.

With certain kinds of audio, absolutely not. The “mess” would be so low compared to so many other things going on and would be below the ear’s threshold to detect.

With other kinds of audio, yes, you can hear it.

[Edit] Well I thought I could. I just tried here again and a pure sine tone cleans up pretty doggone decently at 12 bits with no dither applied (-6 dB signal level, oops, I’ve got a defective software meter here and the tone plugin is erroneous. I’ll have to investigate that. Okay, another meter indicates peaks of nearly 0 dBfs). Any signal level lower than that and the truncation noise was again clearly audible. This is at moderate listening levels.

There were a bunch of 12 bit audio products out in the 80′s. Korg’s SDD delay series for one. The math in those things must’ve been horrible for them to have that gritty character in the repeats

I’ve found if I crank pure sine tones loudly (low frequency), I can hear the truncation artifacts easily when down to 15 bits. I think other distortion is getting in the way at this point. Further investigation needed.
John, the thing is, pure tones is exactly the thing dither does work most noticeably with. The quantization errors are much clearer to hear on pure tones, and leads to aliasing even.

John Lance – 07-27-2012, 02:31 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by m24p
I said image, I was joking about the picture of the cat that was being posted with 4 bit. :P
Caught me.

I think most images at this point are still 12 bit out of the high end cameras. It has been a while since I’ve looked though. Dither would most likely be whatever the sensor noise happened to be.

John Lance – 07-27-2012, 02:35 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by Mackanov
John, the thing is, pure tones is exactly the thing dither does work most noticeably with. The quantization errors are much clearer to hear on pure tones, and leads to aliasing even.
This is why I’m listening to begin with, again, using pure tones. To get a handle on the kind of sound it is. Depending on the sound level I listen at I’m noticing my threshold to hear it changes as well.

Likely, with certain kinds of music, fine detail items will become affected, such as reverbs and the apparent space.

With other kinds of music, no dither is likely to be an improvement.

Mackanov – 07-27-2012, 02:43 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by John Lance
This is why I’m listening to begin with, again, using pure tones. To get a handle on the kind of sound it is. Depending on the sound level I listen at I’m noticing my threshold to hear it changes as well.

Likely, with certain kinds of music, fine detail items will become affected, such as reverbs and the apparent space.

With other kinds of music, no dither is likely to be an improvement.
Gotcha. Yeah, I notice it mostly on reverb tails myself.

m24p – 07-27-2012, 02:47 PM Edit Reply
It takes a lot of bit-crushing on a snare for me to care that I added the effect. It does sound like a fun ear-training exercise. BTW, for those who haven’t been there yet, here’s some good ear-training exercise:
Blind Listening Tests

m24p – 07-27-2012, 02:47 PM Edit Reply
I also have “harmon how to listen” which has tests on some other stuff like reverb and EQ

Convectuoso – 07-27-2012, 02:59 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer
Brandon, this is exactly what these Womb guys want. They shows up at every discussion I’m involved with and write thousands of words to defame me. They don’t even try to back it up. They don’t need to. And they don’t care how ridiculous and petty they look. All they care about is casting doubt and trying to defame me. They did the same thing last month at the Sonic Scoop web site after my video interview. These cowards follow me around, and insult me while hiding behind anonymous screen names. The most pathetic thing is that they’re totally wrong on the science. They claim to be “mix engineers” yet they don’t even understand how their own hearing works.

–Ethan
My name is Joel Halford, I live in New Zealand, I’ve been recording/mixing for about 4 years now and I work for about the only real studio in my town.

Is that better now?

Also, care to respond about your 16 bit audio file in your AES dithering test?

m24p – 07-27-2012, 03:54 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by Convectuoso
Way to become the inter-forum stalker.

Please also quote one post where I got my ego involved?
Perhaps this one, where you assumed I was talking about your ego when in fact I was talking about Ethan’s? Carly Simon – You’re So Vain – YouTube
I don’t actually care about finding any posts where you got your ego involved. It would be a good idea for EVERYONE to keep their egos out of it, but I thought it was obvious that I was specifically talking about Ethan posting his anti-Mixerman link here.

Mackanov – 07-27-2012, 03:57 PM Edit Reply

Convectuoso – 07-27-2012, 04:46 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by m24p
Perhaps this one, where you assumed I was talking about your ego when in fact I was talking about Ethan’s? Carly Simon – You’re So Vain – YouTube
I don’t actually care about finding any posts where you got your ego involved. It would be a good idea for EVERYONE to keep their egos out of it, but I thought it was obvious that I was specifically talking about Ethan posting his anti-Mixerman link here.
Damnit. You got me

m24p – 07-27-2012, 05:18 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by Convectuoso
Damnit. You got me
Sorry man, it’s all good!
We both want the same thing – honest tests of audio gear.

brandondrury – 07-28-2012, 01:18 AM Edit Reply
I just cleaned up the comments. Not all were that bad, but I decided I didn’t want any part in the drama. I’d gladly be judge, jury, and executioner if we had some good audio files that I couldn’t hear a difference in….again. Some posts didn’t make any sense after doing a bunch of deleting. I probably missed a bunch, too. I’m so tired I’m misspelling tired….and misspelling.

To bed I go.

Good night, gentleman.

Brandon

challman – 07-28-2012, 09:17 AM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by bozmillar
Yess. he called it a daw.
Awesome interview Brandon. I really envy you being able to set and chat with Ethan. I have, since I joined your board contended that amplifiers (including pre amps) are so good now that even cheap ones are nearly inaudible in their distortion. Thus unless you WANT a pleasant type of distortion, you just don’t need High end stuff. Although I have spent thousands on mics, I still haven’t sprung for a Neuman or 414, and probably never will. I believe this super high end stuff, is not really going to help an audio engineer get a great recording. As I have said over and over,
1. Have something that sounds awesome.
2. Have a good room that doesn’t screw that sound up.
3. Know how to create an environment which is conducive to good performance.
4 Place the mic properly for the sound you want.
5. Select the right mic
6. Know how to properly put effects (or not) on what you have recorded.
7. Have good quality of mic
8. have a good clean quiet pre and good interface into your DAW
9. Have good impedance match
10.Have great preamps and converters
11. have a good mixing environment.

You can get a great mix in a horrible mixing environment. It just takes a lot longer and requires trying your mix everywhere.

Here is a song I recorded with a cad trion 8000 on the vocals in omni, and the guitar with the 8000 pointed at the hole about 18 inches away and a nt1a pointed at the 6th fret again 18 inches away. This is run through my Mackie 1640I

I believe this to be an awesome recording. The artist wanted more bass in this mix than I like. But, it sounds good on headphoes

I would have gotten the same quality through my old Phonic, but it has gone noisy, so I can’t use it any more.

thus for this recording I could have easily used my buddy’s 4 channel mackie which sells for 160 or less
a 200 dollar trion (This one was used on ebay for 160) a 200 dollar nt1a, and reaper.

so it could have done for less than $550 worth of equipment, and hundreds of hours of practice

Tell me I am wrong?

PS I have tightly wrapped corning pink bundles in 3 corners, corning 703 2″ panels all around the room, and 2 7 foot bifold panels with 703 4″ and luan plywood on the back which I wrapped around her when when she did the vocals. Thus the outlay for the treatment was considerably higher than the gear used.

challman – 07-28-2012, 09:40 AM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by Convectuoso
My name is Joel Halford, I live in New Zealand, I’ve been recording/mixing for about 4 years now and I work for about the only real studio in my town.

Is that better now?

Also, care to respond about your 16 bit audio file in your AES dithering test?
Can you explain to me what dithering actually is?

challman – 07-28-2012, 10:01 AM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer
Yes, bit-depth is entirely about the noise floor. The notion that there’s higher resolution because the vertical “steps” are smaller is incorrect. All that’s affected is noise.

–Ethan

PS: I see Mixerman’s Womb Forum brigade has arrived. You should see the hissy fit they’re having over there now. This happens every time I have an article published or do a podcast like this one. I have no idea why this gets their panties in such a bunch! But they feel they must respond even though they can’t refute me on the facts, so all that’s left are insults and accusations.

Thank you to bringing Science to all these religious discussions. You are a hero to me. I have a degree in electronics (associates 30 years ago) and believe in experimentation and logic. I am also an atheist, for the same reason I don’t buy into all the crap the high end vendors try to tell you. High end eq in my mind is about physical quality, signal to noise ratio, and features. Not sound quality.

willj – 07-28-2012, 10:03 AM Edit Reply
You can get a great mix in a horrible mixing environment. It just takes a lot longer and requires trying your mix everywhere.
No you cant. There are just things that are impossible to hear.

I believe this super high end stuff, is not really going to help an audio engineer get a great recording.
Sure it will. Its just that there cant be a weak link in any part of the chain, and for you to buy a $5,000 mic to use in a crap room is only going to give you a great recording of a crap room. There is a reason these guys want 1176′s, LA2A’s, SSL consoles, and Neuman mics. because it DOES help.

As I have said over and over,
Show me a guy that has made major recordings on a firepod and you may have an argument.

Here is a song I recorded with a cad trion 8000 on the vocals in omni
Sorry, sounds like a home recording.

But, it sounds good on headphoes
A great mix will sound great everywhere.

Can you explain to me what dithering actually is?
Is this a real question or internet muscles? He knows quite well what dithering is. there is no reason whatsoever to try and stir trouble up again on a thread Brandon just edited.

LazyE – 07-28-2012, 12:13 PM Edit Reply
i think we should all admit that there is always room for improvenment, always room for more learning and experimentation, but its impossibe for everyone to agree on certain aspects of audio engineering, as its like anything in life, it depends on yur own personal needs, preferances , knolledge and budget!
but lets face it to try and dissprove or argue with somene like Ethan with his years of credible work within sound engineering and acoustics is just plain dumb!
its like trying to question your doctor when he gives you a diagnosis and prescription..and then you find out it cured you!
so we should all just learn to accept other peoples views and use what we learn to achieve our own goals in our own little recording world.
i dont see major recording engineers on here arguing? no thats because there too busy mixing!

shit i`ve gt a lot to learn when it cmes to audi engineering, but hey at least i know it and dont try and prove/disprove theorys that i`m not 100% sure f myself.

time for some guitar and a beer i think,
enjoy the olympics

respect to all

E

John Lance – 07-28-2012, 01:34 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by challman
Tread Lightly3 new.mp3
Nice! She has a gorgeous vocal.

Dahla – 07-28-2012, 01:50 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by willj
Sure it will. Its just that there cant be a weak link in any part of the chain, and for you to buy a $5,000 mic to use in a crap room is only going to give you a great recording of a crap room. There is a reason these guys want 1176′s, LA2A’s, SSL consoles, and Neuman mics. because it DOES help.

Show me a guy that has made major recordings on a firepod and you may have an argument.
Come on willj, you know full and well that there have been made succesfull records just using what is considered to be “crap” gear by is us snobs that like to call ourself engineers.

The gear you listed is also great when talking about this stuff. 1176s and LA2As is used and abused because they do something interesting to the sound. They are probably used just as much as distortion boxes as compressors. They are far from clean, pristine and audiophile equipment. Their specs flat out suck compared to converters, preamps etc yet people crave those now. And don’t forget that once upon a time, people couldn’t give them away, or just threw them in the trash.

There is a paradox that everyone has a strong opinion on gear and specs when it comes to converters etc, and then secretely wants a tape machine and LA2A. How much “damage” will a lower end converter do vs a top dollar one, when you patch in a LA2A and crank the gain to overdrive the vocals a bit?

Distortion sounds good doesn’t it?

John Lance – 07-28-2012, 02:06 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by JoshERTW
Gut tells me it wouldn’t make any noticeable difference but was curious to see if anyone had tried both methods on the same song.
It would depend on settings and which codec was used, Fraunhofer or LAME. If the same codec is used both times at the same settings you should get no change. And NO, I haven’t tried.

Lately I’ve exported to wav and then used WaveLab and Fraunhofer to arrive at 320Kbps mp3′s. A few years ago I was using LAME. The latest iteration of the Fraunhofer mp3 codec (as supplied with WaveLab 7) has been sounding a bit better than LAME to me, and is much faster when encoding.

challman – 07-28-2012, 02:21 PM Edit Reply
“No you cant. There are just things that are impossible to hear.”

If it is impossible to hear on my home, car, or mp3 player. Then what difference does it make.

“Sure it will. Its just that there cant be a weak link in any part of the chain, and for you to buy a $5,000 mic to use in a crap room is only going to give you a great recording of a crap room. There is a reason these guys want 1176′s, LA2A’s, SSL consoles, and Neuman mics. because it DOES help.”

supporting my point. That if you want pleasant sounding distortion. Then that is a good reason to go with High end preamps and such.

“Show me a guy that has made major recordings on a firepod and you may have an argument.
I don’t know of any by name but Brandon actually wrote an article about a big name band who swears that preamps don’t matter, and I am sure there are many”

“Sorry, sounds like a home recording.”
REALLY? Ouch, my ears must be Really bad. cause it sounds amazing to me!

“A great mix will sound great everywhere.”

As does this mix to me. I was just saying that it is a little bass heavy for my taste and that since most headphones lack a little deep bass responce it is sort of a designed for headphones mix. You could have different mix’s for every different stereo optimized for them. What your looking for when you mix is something that sounds is the best for all of them thus not sounding the best on any one stereo system

“Is this a real question or internet muscles? He knows quite well what dithering is. there is no reason whatsoever to try and stir trouble up again on a thread Brandon just edited.

This is a real question.. I think that a person who talks about this stuff like they are an expert should truly understand what is going on in the background.”
and this was not an attack like you just did to me. I just wanted to see if he knew what he was saying. I mean why should I take the word of someone who has no clue?

The mix on the song I posted may not be that good to you, but to me it sounds amazing. So… I really don’t think you could blame any problems on my gear… Blame it on my 56 year old ears.

I do thank you for the comment though. Dialog like this helps us all to learn

John Lance – 07-28-2012, 02:55 PM Edit Reply
I just deleted a post I made that had too many ways to read it, and too many ways to take it wrongly.
If you got the thing in your email notifications, my apologies to you.
Nothing bad or derogatory (disrespectful) was intended.

challman – 07-28-2012, 03:15 PM Edit Reply
I should have just not posted mine as well. I knew it would lead to problems, and for that I am sorry

challman – 07-28-2012, 03:30 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by John Lance
In photography, sample rate relates to the rate of change from one place to the next that can be captured on that digital sensor without aliasing occurring. Pixel density.

With the bit depth, the limit is in the number of colors and luminance levels that can be statically reproduced, and it is a resolution limitation, and in this case with no dithering applied (cannot be) there is truncation involved. This is interesting in that with a series of pictures such as a movie, I would think “dither” could be applied. This would depend on how our eyes “merge” things as to whether or not this would work and what factors might need changed for it to work.
With a movie, we have another sampling “rate” involved over time as well as with the relative distances mentioned before.
this is very interesting to me. Here is my understanding of it. Ethan could solve this. but
Bit depth actually (I am pretty sure) is the number of possible values we can use to describe the positive or negative excursion of the sound wave the point in time it is sampled. So.. you should be able to express it more accurately. This allows the low order values to be more accurate. Thus the noise floor is lower.

Bit rate is how often you sample these excursions. This would for instance make a sine wave on a graph look much more smooth. These little lacks of smoothness in the lower bit rates are minimized by running them through a coil which has a tendency to smooth things out. Fortunately for the people who engineered digital recording, Speakers are a coil…

I believe I am right here. Pretty sure because of my experience working in the datacom, and telephony industries. Please correct me if I am wrong

willj – 07-28-2012, 03:53 PM Edit Reply
and this was not an attack like you just did to me.
Ummm attack? because you dont like my answers its an attack?? I fail to see ANY animosity anywhere in my post.

I just happen to disagree with about everything you said. Thats not an attack. Thats just an alternative point of view. It happens. A lot.

This is a real question.. I think that a person who talks about this stuff like they are an expert should truly understand what is going on in the background.”
and this was not an attack like you just did to me. I just wanted to see if he knew what he was saying. I mean why should I take the word of someone who has no clue?
Dude youre not fooling anyone. You wanted ethan to notice you. Dont go calling people out, and then get all offended when somebody doesnt agree with your way of thinking.

John Lance – 07-28-2012, 04:10 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by challman
this is very interesting to me. Here is my understanding of it. Ethan could solve this. but
Bit depth actually (I am pretty sure) is the number of possible values we can use to describe the positive or negative excursion of the sound wave the point in time it is sampled. So.. you should be able to express it more accurately. This allows the low order values to be more accurate. Thus the noise floor is lower.

Bit rate is how often you sample these excursions. This would for instance make a sine wave on a graph look much more smooth. These little lacks of smoothness in the lower bit rates are minimized by running them through a coil which has a tendency to smooth things out. Fortunately for the people who engineered digital recording, Speakers are a coil…

I believe I am right here. Pretty sure because of my experience working in the datacom, and telephony industries. Please correct me if I am wrong
This is not so much a reply, as a forwarding of discussion, and an invitation for Ethan to step in:

Raise the sample rate for the recording so that it is FAR above the nyquist for highest desired audio frequency.
Make the bit depth to be 4 bits.
Dither appropriately, but use bandwidth limited dither that is above the highest desired audio frequency and that can be completely filtered out later.

On decoding, you would essentially have PWM to deal with in between the bits depth wise because of the filtering involved and the recording methodology, and the noise floor would essentially be removed in this 4 bit encoded example.

Just having some fun.

bozmillar – 07-28-2012, 04:24 PM Edit Reply
that’s how sacd’s work. It’s 1 bit with his sample rate and super heavy noise shaping dither.

John Lance – 07-28-2012, 04:25 PM Edit Reply
In my other postings, my contention is that the noise level is so high and within the audio bandwidth that I can no longer extract my intended data and therefore as I understand resolution, the resolution capabilities of THAT system are too limited for a possible intended purpose.

Convectuoso – 07-28-2012, 04:30 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by challman
“No you cant. There are just things that are impossible to hear.”

If it is impossible to hear on my home, car, or mp3 player. Then what difference does it make.

“Sure it will. Its just that there cant be a weak link in any part of the chain, and for you to buy a $5,000 mic to use in a crap room is only going to give you a great recording of a crap room. There is a reason these guys want 1176′s, LA2A’s, SSL consoles, and Neuman mics. because it DOES help.”

supporting my point. That if you want pleasant sounding distortion. Then that is a good reason to go with High end preamps and such.
You shouldn’t be mixing for the lowest common denominator. You should strive for the greatest fidelity possible given the parameters of the artist you are working with. I say this because there is only so much fidelity you can get with a high school band using Line 6 amps and Squire guitars. And also there isn’t much fidelity needed with a grotty punk band.

If you mix on crappy speakers, or Logitech computer speakers, yeah sure it may sound great on those, and probably translate to anything with a similar freq. response or anything lower in quality. But put it on big boy speakers and it will sound like crap. I guarantee the low end will suck. It’ll be too harsh because you’ve boosted too many highs to compensate for your shitty speakers, an the vocal level will be all over the place. But you won’t know this because you have no reference for extreme fidelity.

And while I don’t mix on the best speakers in the world (Mackie HR824′s, the originals), they give me enough of the frequency range to know what to do with them. And I also have a pair of these:

And a sub to go with them as my Hifi reference at home. These things man, while still not the highest of the high end, sound amazing, and you can tell straight away if for example something is MP3 or full bandwidth, or more relevant if the mix sucks or not.

I say start at the top and work your way down, rather than vice versa.

And before anyone chimes in with the NS10′s, please find me a studio that doesn’t also have a pair of mains as well.

One reason I’ve always tried to get the very best speaker I can is I’ve found that when something sounds really right on an accurate speaker, it tends to sound right on a wide variety of speakers.
- Bob Ludwig. (The Audio Mastering Handook – Bob Ludwig Interview Excerpt)

His word holds more clout than mine for sure.

Pleasant sounding distortion? You usually buy high end gear because it has so much headroom it doesn’t distort. You also buy it so a couple years later it doesn’t go noisy like your Phonic.

And it’s not exactly compelling to your argument to post a simple acoustic (which sounds very roomy and pretty dull) singer/songwriter type track (the vocals sound pretty good on laptop speakers I must admit, but don’t have that extra bit of shine IMO) because it’s not representative of what actually gets done in a studio day to day and why expensive gear is sometimes/most of the time important. Just because you think something works for one singer and one type of guitar one day, might not work the next day.

I was tracking guitars the other day for this post rock band. Baritone Jaguar (tuned down to A) into a Hiwatt Custom 100 into a Hiwatt 4×12. When we started tracking (albeit we set the mics up when he was playing a different gat) we had 4 mics up. SM7, 57, C414 (room) and eventually a D112 for shits and giggle and extended low end.

Whilst that worked for a few songs and a few tones. As soon as he started using his autofilter pedal, which basically explodes the low end, we had to change our mics and mic placement because the low end wasn’t tight enough. It went from all that to a 57 and a Cascade Fathead.

Moral of the long winded tangent…There is no one magic bullet for everything. All you have is a box of tools and it’s up to you and your skills as an engineer to pick which tools to use at any given time.

I can’t rely on crappy junk to do what I want it to do when I need it. Yeah sure you could fiddle around with a crappy Mackie thing for hours until you compensate for it’s lack of fidelity, or you could get as good as you can afford so that when your client comes in you are ready to go and no questions asked and you can capture anything necessary.

John Lance – 07-28-2012, 04:32 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by bozmillar
that’s how sacd’s work. It’s 1 bit with his sample rate and super heavy noise shaping dither.
Dang. They already beat me to it. So much for that patent application.

John Lance – 07-28-2012, 10:19 PM Edit Reply
Well, I bought the book.

I read through excerpts that have been published (for review purposes) and read reviews done on this book done by well respected people, and that’s it. I got it.

It looks like it will be a very good addition to my library.

John Lance – 07-28-2012, 10:34 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by challman
These little lacks of smoothness in the lower bit rates are minimized by running them through a coil
Sampling rate will affect maximum recordable frequency – as m24p said see Nyquist.
Dither takes care of what is happening between the discrete levels of bit depth, also over time, and just fundamentally = noise floor.

And I was wrong about that “dither in the picture” statement. Obviously dither can be used and there are specialized algorithms available for such work.

challman – 07-29-2012, 07:39 AM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by John Lance
Sampling rate will affect maximum recordable frequency – as m24p said see Nyquist.
Dither takes care of what is happening between the discrete levels of bit depth, also over time, and just fundamentally = noise floor.

And I was wrong about that “dither in the picture” statement. Obviously dither can be used and there are specialized algorithms available for such work.
Hey thanks to the pointer to that great article. I guess where I went wrong here is assuming that we were already using a bitrate high enough to represent the complete audible range of frequencies. In which case In my opinion increase in bitrate would increace the acuracy of the rebuilt wave form…

NO?

challman – 07-29-2012, 07:49 AM Edit Reply
supporting my point. That if you want pleasant sounding distortion. Then that is a good reason to go with High end preamps and such
.
Sorry… I was actually refering to the old transistorized stuff that everyone is paying such a premium for now.

I would actually love to have a Modern high end preamp. But the reason I would like it is that I would like to have control over input impedance.

challman – 07-29-2012, 07:57 AM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by John Lance
This is not so much a reply, as a forwarding of discussion, and an invitation for Ethan to step in:

Raise the sample rate for the recording so that it is FAR above the nyquist for highest desired audio frequency.
Make the bit depth to be 4 bits.
Dither appropriately, but use bandwidth limited dither that is above the highest desired audio frequency and that can be completely filtered out later.

On decoding, you would essentially have PWM to deal with in between the bits depth wise because of the filtering involved and the recording methodology, and the noise floor would essentially be removed in this 4 bit encoded example.

Just having some fun.
Interesting… I wonder….. Great comment. Maybe we can get Ethan to comment!

challman – 07-29-2012, 08:05 AM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by Convectuoso
You shouldn’t be mixing for the lowest common denominator. You should strive for the greatest fidelity possible given the parameters of the artist you are working with. I say this because there is only so much fidelity you can get with a high school band using Line 6 amps and Squire guitars. And also there isn’t much fidelity needed with a grotty punk band.

If you mix on crappy speakers, or Logitech computer speakers, yeah sure it may sound great on those, and probably translate to anything with a similar freq. response or anything lower in quality. But put it on big boy speakers and it will sound like crap. I guarantee the low end will suck. It’ll be too harsh because you’ve boosted too many highs to compensate for your shitty speakers, an the vocal level will be all over the place. But you won’t know this because you have no reference for extreme fidelity.

And while I don’t mix on the best speakers in the world (Mackie HR824′s, the originals), they give me enough of the frequency range to know what to do with them. And I also have a pair of these:

And a sub to go with them as my Hifi reference at home. These things man, while still not the highest of the high end, sound amazing, and you can tell straight away if for example something is MP3 or full bandwidth, or more relevant if the mix sucks or not.

I say start at the top and work your way down, rather than vice versa.

And before anyone chimes in with the NS10′s, please find me a studio that doesn’t also have a pair of mains as well.

- Bob Ludwig. (The Audio Mastering Handook – Bob Ludwig Interview Excerpt)

His word holds more clout than mine for sure.

Pleasant sounding distortion? You usually buy high end gear because it has so much headroom it doesn’t distort. You also buy it so a couple years later it doesn’t go noisy like your Phonic.

And it’s not exactly compelling to your argument to post a simple acoustic (which sounds very roomy and pretty dull) singer/songwriter type track (the vocals sound pretty good on laptop speakers I must admit, but don’t have that extra bit of shine IMO) because it’s not representative of what actually gets done in a studio day to day and why expensive gear is sometimes/most of the time important. Just because you think something works for one singer and one type of guitar one day, might not work the next day.

I was tracking guitars the other day for this post rock band. Baritone Jaguar (tuned down to A) into a Hiwatt Custom 100 into a Hiwatt 4×12. When we started tracking (albeit we set the mics up when he was playing a different gat) we had 4 mics up. SM7, 57, C414 (room) and eventually a D112 for shits and giggle and extended low end.

Whilst that worked for a few songs and a few tones. As soon as he started using his autofilter pedal, which basically explodes the low end, we had to change our mics and mic placement because the low end wasn’t tight enough. It went from all that to a 57 and a Cascade Fathead.

Moral of the long winded tangent…There is no one magic bullet for everything. All you have is a box of tools and it’s up to you and your skills as an engineer to pick which tools to use at any given time.

I can’t rely on crappy junk to do what I want it to do when I need it. Yeah sure you could fiddle around with a crappy Mackie thing for hours until you compensate for it’s lack of fidelity, or you could get as good as you can afford so that when your client comes in you are ready to go and no questions asked and you can capture anything necessary.

Now this causes me to have a question to ask of you… I have battled with this type of situation before. And really am not sure what to do. Do you find that changing the mics from song to song causes the songs with the new mic setup to sound “OFF” from the others? I have run across this situation with same performer but different music styles, and also in recording Hand drums. How do YOU deal with this.

paul999 – 07-29-2012, 09:57 AM Edit Reply
Wicked interview! Ethan is a the kind of rebel that this industry needs. I always respect a person who leads with information and plays nice…….until people get nasty.

Ethan is a class act!

John Lance – 07-29-2012, 11:26 AM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by challman
In which case In my opinion increase in bitrate would increace the acuracy of the rebuilt wave form…
NO?
No. It doesn’t work that way. The waveforms are rebuilt via appropriate filters. Digital audio is not really intuitive at all.

As long as you’re sampling just a tad over twice the highest frequency you need to reproduce, and have sufficient bit depth in this case for an adequately low noise floor, you should be able to reconstruct the entire waveform with the appropriate filters.

[Edit] and this is a WAY after the fact of the initial posting: Bitrate is explained further below by jp2121. I was “speaking” concerning sample rate at regular bit depths (like 16) for the statements above for digital recording and reproduction, not as in scad. A higher sample rate with a lower bit depth could have the same bitrate.

It is peculiar, but an sacd single bit stream might be adequately decoded through an inductor into a resistor (impedances certainly figured), other end of resistor to ground, and then at resistor-inductor junction going out to a capacitor for D.C blocking on to a hi-z input (at least 10x of network impedance) of an amplifier. Not optimally, but sufficiently….

John Lance – 07-29-2012, 11:39 AM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by challman
Originally Posted by John Lance
This is not so much a reply, as a forwarding of discussion, and an invitation for Ethan to step in:

Raise the sample rate for the recording so that it is FAR above the nyquist for highest desired audio frequency.
Make the bit depth to be 4 bits.
Dither appropriately, but use bandwidth limited dither that is above the highest desired audio frequency and that can be completely filtered out later.

On decoding, you would essentially have PWM to deal with in between the bits depth wise because of the filtering involved and the recording methodology, and the noise floor would essentially be removed in this 4 bit encoded example.

Just having some fun.
Interesting… I wonder….. Great comment. Maybe we can get Ethan to comment!
Probably not.

bozmillar already replied with
Originally Posted by bozmillar
that’s how sacd’s work. It’s 1 bit with his sample rate and super heavy noise shaping dither.
To which I replied in jest that my patent application was not worth anything then.

What I was really hoping to get a comment on was this:
In my other postings, my contention is that the noise level is so high and within the audio bandwidth that I can no longer extract my intended data and therefore as I understand resolution, the resolution capabilities of THAT system are too limited for a possible intended purpose.

Which was carrying forward an initial question I had regarding resolution and whether or not there was a question of semantics involved with the use of the word.

jp2121 – 07-29-2012, 01:23 PM Edit Reply
Lavry Engineering

Some good reading on the Lavry site. Talks about at most using 96kHz sampling rates and real explanations why.

Ethan Winer – 07-29-2012, 01:28 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by Convectuoso
My name is Joel Halford, I live in New Zealand, I’ve been recording/mixing for about 4 years now and I work for about the only real studio in my town.
Hi Joel. My name is Ethan Winer and I’ve been a professional audio engineer and studio musician on multiple instruments for more than 45 years. In the 1980s I owned and was chief engineer of a large commercial recording studio that did music production for dozens of major clients who are household names. I’ve written more than 100 feature articles for pro audio and home recording type magazines, as well as having been a contributing editor for PC Magazine and author for Strings magazine and The Strad.

care to respond about your 16 bit audio file in your AES dithering test?
If you ask me a specific question about audio technology I’ll be glad to answer. I can tell you that most comparisons between photo and audio dither are not valid because of the significance of the bits involved. However, such comparisons are useful to explain the concepts. For anyone who believes they can hear the effect of dither on typical pop music recorded at sensible levels, I invite you to download the files from this article and email me your guesses:

Dither Report

I can tell you that I’ve been been tabulating the emailed guesses for a few years now, and the average of all guesses is the same as random chance. But who knows, maybe you’ll identify the dithered portions correctly! I hope you give it a try, because most people who emailed me told me they learned a lot from this test.

–Ethan

Convectuoso – 07-29-2012, 02:20 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by challman
Hey thanks to the pointer to that great article. I guess where I went wrong here is assuming that we were already using a bitrate high enough to represent the complete audible range of frequencies. In which case In my opinion increase in bitrate would increace the acuracy of the rebuilt wave form…

NO?
Bit depth has nothing to do with frequency. Sample rate has everything to do with frequency and how smooth the waveform is. The higher the sampling rate the closer you get to analog (at a certain point) because you are taking more and more snapshots of the source signal a second.

challman – 07-29-2012, 02:25 PM Edit Reply
yes I knew that I meant bit rate
thanks for the response though

Convectuoso – 07-29-2012, 02:26 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer
If you ask me a specific question about audio technology I’ll be glad to answer. I can tell you that most comparisons between photo and audio dither are not valid because of the significance of the bits involved. However, such comparisons are useful to explain the concepts. For anyone who believes they can hear the effect of dither on typical pop music recorded at sensible levels, I invite you to download the files from this article and email me your guesses:

–Ethan
Nice dodge but I’m not going to let it slide.

Now, as I have already said…You let slip in interview the file in the AES dither test where you reduce the bit depth from 24bit to 16bit and then further was from a CD. Which has to be 16bit. Which means it was probably dithered in the first place. Which means going from 24bit mode on the plug in to 16bit would have no difference in sound at all because the file is already 16 bit and most likely already had the appropriate dithering.

Are you willing to defend this and tell me I am wrong? I am happy to be wrong because I would love to think AES wouldn’t be so careless to let such a test through the gate.

Also what was the name of this studio and who are these household names?

If I can’t google your discography these days, which I can’t seem to find anywhere, then it doesn’t exist.

challman – 07-29-2012, 02:27 PM Edit Reply
Oh I see I guess the term is sample rate. In the datacom world we use bit rate as a term. sorry for the confusion

Dahla – 07-29-2012, 02:39 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by Convectuoso
Bit depth has nothing to do with frequency. Sample rate has everything to do with frequency and how smooth the waveform is. The higher the sampling rate the closer you get to analog (at a certain point) because you are taking more and more snapshots of the source signal a second.
Now you are listening with your eyes. Read the Nyquist theorem again. How a wav-files looks in your daw has nothing to do with how it sounds, and if you believe smooth=analog you have a long way to go…

Convectuoso – 07-29-2012, 04:12 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by Dahla
Now you are listening with your eyes. Read the Nyquist theorem again. How a wav-files looks in your daw has nothing to do with how it sounds, and if you believe smooth=analog you have a long way to go…
When did I ever say smooth referred to how the waveform looked? To me, 48khz to 96khz sounds a fuck load smoother than 44.1khz.

Edit: Misunderstanding

Dahla – 07-29-2012, 04:56 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by Convectuoso
When did I ever say smooth referred to how the waveform looked? To me, 48khz to 96khz sounds a fuck load smoother than 44.1khz.

If you think digital is anywhere near as smooth as analog then you are the one that has a long way to go.
I might have misunderstood what you wrote. In theory, sampling has to be twice the highest frequency you want to capture. I thought you wrote that the sampled waveform would be more analog-sounding because it looked smoother (when using higher sampling rates).

My bad!

Convectuoso – 07-29-2012, 05:37 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by challman
Now this causes me to have a question to ask of you… I have battled with this type of situation before. And really am not sure what to do. Do you find that changing the mics from song to song causes the songs with the new mic setup to sound “OFF” from the others? I have run across this situation with same performer but different music styles, and also in recording Hand drums. How do YOU deal with this.
Think about it like this.

The source stays constant. All you are trying to do when recording is get the best capture of what you are hearing in the room, so long as the source sounds good in the room; if not all bets are off.

So instead of thinking if you change the mic it’s going to have this radically different sound that will fuck the whole record up, think like…okay so that worked for that tone, and was the best representation of that sound…But it’s not working for this tone/sound. So you adjust and adapt so it is the best representation of this particular sound.

For example, we walked around the room till it sounded best to us, then stuck a 414 exactly where our heads were and pointed it down at the amp. Blended that with the close mics and it sounded awesome on the cleans. In comes the overdriven parts and it didn’t work, too phasey and roomy, not tight enough. So if memory serves me right I don’t even think we tracked it for those parts, even though it was still up and ready to record. Waste of time if it doesn’t sound any good.

willj – 07-29-2012, 05:55 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by challman
Now this causes me to have a question to ask of you… I have battled with this type of situation before. And really am not sure what to do. Do you find that changing the mics from song to song causes the songs with the new mic setup to sound “OFF” from the others? I have run across this situation with same performer but different music styles, and also in recording Hand drums. How do YOU deal with this.
Originally Posted by Convectuoso
Think about it like this.

The source stays constant. All you are trying to do when recording is get the best capture of what you are hearing in the room, so long as the source sounds good in the room; if not all bets are off.

So instead of thinking if you change the mic it’s going to have this radically different sound that will fuck the whole record up, think like…okay so that worked for that tone, and was the best representation of that sound…But it’s not working for this tone/sound. So you adjust and adapt so it is the best representation of this particular sound.

For example, we walked around the room till it sounded best to us, then stuck a 414 exactly where our heads were and pointed it down at the amp. Blended that with the close mics and it sounded awesome on the cleans. In comes the overdriven parts and it didn’t work, too phasey and roomy, not tight enough. So if memory serves me right I don’t even think we tracked it for those parts, even though it was still up and ready to record. Waste of time if it doesn’t sound any good.
Funny, i dont think you ever proved you knew what dither was??

m24p – 07-29-2012, 08:49 PM Edit Reply
I’m not a mod, but this thread feels like it needs a constant reminder: play nice.

And yes, using your ears rather than theory – actually walking around and listening – is great!

brandondrury – 07-30-2012, 12:15 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by willj
Sure it will. Its just that there cant be a weak link in any part of the chain, and for you to buy a $5,000 mic to use in a crap room is only going to give you a great recording of a crap room. There is a reason these guys want 1176′s, LA2A’s, SSL consoles, and Neuman mics. because it DOES help.
I don’t love the implication here, but I know how to ask the right question. So here we go.

We have a lead vocal we are recording today. Do we use the 1176 or the LA2A? (We’ll skip “both” as an answer although that is often viable.) Which one is better? Let’s say we have a good U47 and a good U67. Which one do we use? Which one is better? The fact that there are 100 mics that cost more than $5k is telling. Put up the wrong $10k mic on X singer. How much will that wrong mic help?

I don’t like the “gear makes a difference” argument because it makes it sounds like the gear is going to do all the work. It implies that a $10k mic is “better” than a $3k mic all the time. Debates about whether to pick up the Brauner VM1 or not get REALLY screwy when “Under The Bridge” by the Chili Peppers comes on the radio and we are now talking SM57s or SM7bs.

My advice: Dump $100k into this bullshit and you’ll be right back at where you started most likely.

This doesn’t mean a person doesn’t need to obtain tools that work for them. It means that a $100 hammer isn’t a magic fix, but a $300k crane just might be….when necessary.

Brandon

Ethan Winer – 07-30-2012, 12:20 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by Convectuoso
Nice dodge but I’m not going to let it slide.
Please lose the attitude, okay? That sort of tone has no place in a discussion of audio science.

the file in the AES dither test where you reduce the bit depth from 24bit to 16bit and then further was from a CD. Which has to be 16bit. Which means it was probably dithered in the first place. Which means going from 24bit mode on the plug in to 16bit would have no difference in sound at all because the file is already 16 bit and most likely already had the appropriate dithering.
You are confusing two different segments of my AES Audio Myths video. The dither portion starting at 34:32 starts with a mix that was exported from SONAR at 24 bits. A newer and better version of that comparison is on my web site:

Dither Report

The bit-depth reduction segment of the video starting at 45:48 has nothing to do with dither, and uses a CD source as an example to show how the quality changes as the bit depth is reduced. The point is that you don’t really hear much of a quality change until the bit depth is reduced to well below 16 bits.

I am happy to be wrong because I would love to think AES wouldn’t be so careless to let such a test through the gate.
Yes, you are wrong because you missed the point of each respective demo. BTW, the AES had no input on the specifics of my presentation. I suggested the workshop with a detailed proposal, and their committee liked my proposal and gave the go-ahead. However, after I made the video a few months later, they liked it so much they added a link to it from their own web site.

Also what was the name of this studio and who are these household names? If I can’t google your discography these days, which I can’t seem to find anywhere, then it doesn’t exist.
LOL, when I Google my name I get 352,000 results, including a list of important page on my personal web site. Have you not even visited my site?

Ethan Winer Home Page

–Ethan

challman – 07-30-2012, 12:50 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by willj
Funny, i dont think you ever proved you knew what dither was??
You asking Me willj

Dithering is a process by which you introduce noise to a recording so in such a manor that you can eliminate patterns in the rounding errors which occur when reducing bit depth.
different methods are available but they all do this same thing. I

Dithering becomes less important in recordings that have LOTS of volume and very little low volume sounds.

In a nutshell?

challman – 07-30-2012, 12:59 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by jp2121
Lavry Engineering

Some good reading on the Lavry site. Talks about at most using 96kHz sampling rates and real explanations why.
Thank you for this link! It was awesome! I actually thought I had a handle on this stuff. But as sometimes happens I only had high level understanding and though it was more. I did not take the time to pore over the math, but did take the time to understand what it was saying.

I am now more knowlegeable because of you
Thank YOU

jp2121 – 07-30-2012, 04:23 PM Edit Reply
Glad I could help! I’m not sure if this was mentioned but there is no difference between bitrate in the datacom world and the audio world. The sample rate is different from bitrate.

From Wikipedia:
Audio bit depth – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Attachment 24303

challman – 07-31-2012, 02:33 PM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by jp2121
Glad I could help! I’m not sure if this was mentioned but there is no difference between bitrate in the datacom world and the audio world. The sample rate is different from bitrate.

From Wikipedia:
Audio bit depth – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Attachment 24303
right.. I thought that all through, and do understand. bitrate just sort of came out. You know how things like that happen. Again. Great help and thanks

warlordpriest – 09-03-2012, 11:43 AM Edit Reply
So much talk about scientific crap when music is an art. Ok, granted recording it requires scientific knowledge, but in the end the product has to appeal to the emotions of the listeners. Ethan’s Audio Myths Workshop, if you Really take the time to listen and view it, can be an ass-saver, if you’ve got kids and bills and still trying to make great recordings. I watched it several times, and just at the right moment in my process of re-tooling my studio because I was poised to start really spending big bucks on things that hardly matter.
The whole point is that a lot of this premium gear is unnecessary and the differences are hardly noticeable to the consumer, or even to the purchaser in a blind test. That knowledge has helped me to focus on more of the important things like making good music. But its a very controversial issue and it takes a lot of guts to come out and prove this stuff SCIENTIFICALLY!
My biggest selling CD so far was recorded early in my learning process and on almost all BEHRINGER Gear. At time, I knew this stuff intuitively and made it a point to use the cheapest possible. Since then, thanks to sales, been able to upgrade and get better tools, but sometimes learning how to make cheap gear sound good makes it easier for you to appreciate the high end stuff, by that time be able to really hear a difference and get the most out of your money.
Its just like Brandon’s recent posting of an LA3A compared with some software compressors. A few months ago I thought I just HAD to have an LA3A. Then I heard the sound samples. Ok. NO BIG difference. Especially not a $1000 difference. Good. Back to work on perfecting other things like mixing and gain staging and hey, how about song writing?? It takes real balls to point this stuff out and I applaud both of you guys.
Listen to the Audio Myths Workshop and really check out what’s going on, because the implications can be staggering. Of course, it all depends on what your goals are in this business.

Ethan Winer – 09-03-2012, 01:38 PM Edit Reply
Thanks for the plug. Here’s a link to my AES Audio Myths video.

–Ethan

Brandon Drury

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Brandon Drury quit counting at 1,200 recorded songs in his busy home recording studio. He is the creator of RecordingReview.com and is the author of the Killer Home Recording series.
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One response to Interview With Ethan Winer: Acoustics Expert And Author

  1. wow what an interview !
    I need Ethan’s address I want to go spend a week picking his brain !
    It was nice to hear that some of the crazy stuff i have in my studio real does work .

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