Jim Alfredson

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Everything posted by Jim Alfredson

  1. Rudy Van Gelder interview from 1995

    Actually, when it comes to playing music, I do my best to enter a 'zone' where objectivity isn't present. So I take issue with the description that my music is somehow informed by a cold, calculated, scientific approach. I never studied music formally (I'm self-taught), I don't know much music theory, and can't even read music, so... But one of the reason I love recording is that it combines art and science. All I was trying to tell Allen is that the difference between 16bit and 24bit as a final delivery product is increased file size and that's it. As someone infinitely curious about the world, I find such claims interesting and they become something I obsess over for a little while, reading everything I can about the subject and performing experiments (like null tests and double-blind listening tests). I had hoped he would use that claim as a starting point for his own exploration of the science of sound. If one is really interested in how digital audio works, I don't see how learning something new is a threat. Allen says he can hear a difference. I never said he couldn't and would never presume to tell someone what they can and cannot hear. All I said is that our hearing is wholly subject to our brain and that it is very easy to trick ourselves. The only way to know for sure is to do a double-blind test. Otherwise there are too many biases to make an objective decision. But obviously he can do whatever he wants. I don't think it's worth leaving the community over.
  2. Rudy Van Gelder interview from 1995

    I'm just trying to spread some knowledge about how things work. Digital audio is based on mathematics and physics. There's no woo-woo there. Of course Allen and anyone else is free to do whatever they want, but if you're paying a lot of extra money for 24bit audio as the final product from places like HD Tracks and the like, you are paying for snake-oil. The only exception to that rule is if they mastered the 24bit tracks better, but that has nothing to do with 24bit as a format. As I've said repeatedly, recording at 24bit is smart because it gives you a lot of leeway with your gain staging and is better for internal processing (most DAWs process audio at 64bit these days). But for the final delivery product, it is useless. I did a blind test between the CD of David Bowie's last album, Blackstar, the 24bit files downloaded from HD Tracks, and the vinyl. The vinyl was easy to pick out due to the surface noise and the muted transients. The 16bit and 24bit, however, sounded identical. Neither me nor my friend were able to consistently pick one or the other. Of course, they could've made those 24bit files from the 16bit master, who knows? But I've done similar tests with true 24bit files. My engineer friend who I mentioned above claimed that 16bit does something to the low-end, tightening it in a way that's different than 24bit. Sorry, but it's just not there. If there was a difference, then a null test like the one from the video I posted earlier would reveal it. And it doesn't. Does any of this matter? Well, I personally like to be knowledgeable about things, for example knowing my own limitations when it comes to how my sensory systems work and how I can fool myself. I like to be wrong about things because it means I can learn something. I also like to be protected against someone taking advantage of me. And we haven't even broached the high sample rate question yet (which can actually be making your audio worse). 96kHz is pointless. Anything above 48kHz is pretty much pointless. But that's another subject altogether.
  3. well, it's been real, but I am gone

    I hope you reconsider.
  4. Rudy Van Gelder interview from 1995

    I've been recording since I was a young kid. I started on four-track cassette when I was 8 years old, moved to four-track reel-to-reel in my teens, then to ADAT digital audio tape, then to stand-alone harddisk recording and finally to computer-based DAWs by my mid 20s. I've recorded in iconic studios in LA, NYC, and Chicago. I've attended AES shows and hung with heavy-weights in the industry as well. I've studied under a world-class engineer that just happens to be local and as much as I love him as a friend and a teacher, I can honestly say that his biases have been revealed by double-blind tests as well. It's just human nature. The change from 16bit to 24bit only affects how much dynamic range there is. That's all. In fact, the dynamic range in a true 24bit system is so large that no current electronic device can adequately reproduce it and thus there really is no such thing as a true 24bit analog to digital converter. They are actually around 20bits in practice. It would be really easy to find out if your 24bit system is better than the same system at 16bits. Record something at 24bits, then down-convert it to 16bit, bring it back into your DAW, flip the phase on one of them, and do a null test. If you hear anything other than noise, I would be extremely surprised. An even better way to do it would be to have two of the same interfaces connected to two separate computers and record the same source in both 24bit and 16bit at the same time via a mic splitter. I could actually do that. It would be an interesting experiment. In fact, that would make a fascinating YouTube video. I don't think anyone here is calling you a schmuck, Allen.
  5. What Classical Music Are You Listening To?

    Messiaen - Complete Organ Works https://www.amazon.com/Messiaen-Complete-Organ-Olivier-Latry/dp/B00005UOVM It's like entering a different dimension.
  6. Rudy Van Gelder interview from 1995

    No, I meant confirmation bias. From wiki: " Confirmation bias, also called confirmatory bias or myside bias,[Note 1] is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one's preexisting beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities.[1] It is a type of cognitive bias and a systematic error of inductive reasoning. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs. People also tend to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position. Biased search, interpretation and memory have been invoked to explain attitude polarization (when a disagreement becomes more extreme even though the different parties are exposed to the same evidence), belief perseverance (when beliefs persist after the evidence for them is shown to be false), the irrational primacy effect (a greater reliance on information encountered early in a series) and illusory correlation (when people falsely perceive an association between two events or situations)."
  7. Rudy Van Gelder interview from 1995

    Unless it was a double-blind test, I would be wary of drawing any conclusions. Confirmation bias is very real and very powerful. If you know you're listening to 24bit, and you believe 24bit is better, then 24bit will sound better to you. The extra bits are just for low volume information. Essentially you are lowering the noise floor and pushing any quantization levels way way down there. For tracking, it's great (though with careful preparation and gain staging, 16bit sounds just as good). For the final product, there's no perceivable benefit. Here's a great video outlining the difference between 24bit and 16bit. This guy does a null-test (phase reversing a 24bit track and a 16bit version of the same track made from the original 24bit file). The result is nothing but noise that is -83db (ie, not even audible...the natural noise of your room is far louder than that).
  8. Rudy Van Gelder interview from 1995

    It depends. For multi-tracking and using any kind of in-the-box processing, 24bit is better than 16bit for the reasons outlined above, mainly as a safeguard against bad gain staging. But if you were recording something say in stereo with no overdubs and very little post-processing and you set your levels correctly, 16bit would be fine. But most everything today is designed to record and sound best at 24bit (again, the analog side makes the biggest difference) and storage costs are low so why not use it?
  9. Rudy Van Gelder interview from 1995

    Yes. 24bit is only useful in the recording process, not for the final product. The only difference between 24bit and 16bit is the dynamic range. The dynamic range of 16bit is nominally 96db which is already far more than any final product needs or uses. The reason to use 24bit in the recording process is because it allows you to fudge your gain staging and not worry about it. So yes, I record at 24bit because it allows me to not necessarily worry about my gain staging when recording dynamic music like jazz or classical. I shoot for about -12dbfs (about halfway up most digital meters) as my peaks and even if the signal is much quieter, the noise floor of 24bit is so low that you can increase the gain after the fact and it won't suffer from quantization errors, aliasing, etc. But for the final mastered and delivered product, 16bit is more than enough. Here's a great article on why and it even touches upon the subject of the usefulness of dither. http://www.head-fi.org/t/415361/24bit-vs-16bit-the-myth-exploded From the article: So, 24bit does add more 'resolution' compared to 16bit but this added resolution doesn't mean higher quality, it just means we can encode a larger dynamic range. This is the misunderstanding made by many. There are no extra magical properties, nothing which the science does not understand or cannot measure. The only difference between 16bit and 24bit is 48dB of dynamic range (8bits x 6dB = 48dB) and nothing else. This is not a question for interpretation or opinion, it is the provable, undisputed logical mathematics which underpins the very existence of digital audio.So, can you actually hear any benefits of the larger (48dB) dynamic range offered by 24bit? Unfortunately, no you can't. The entire dynamic range of some types of music is sometimes less than 12dB. The recordings with the largest dynamic range tend to be symphony orchestra recordings but even these virtually never have a dynamic range greater than about 60dB. All of these are well inside the 96dB range of the humble CD. What is more, modern dithering techniques (see 3 below), perceptually enhance the dynamic range of CD by moving the quantisation noise out of the frequency band where our hearing is most sensitive. This gives a percievable dynamic range for CD up to 120dB (150dB in certain frequency bands). Again, I'm talking about the final product, not the recording process. By all means, record at 24bit. Many times it will sound better but that's because you don't have to worry about the gain. Case in point, I recently did an audio/video mix of a classical percussion duo from Michigan State. Unfortunately they recorded it themselves using a Zoom audio recorder / camera and some other GoPro style cameras. The Zoom was their main audio recorder and it was set to 16 bits. When they set the recording levels, they did so using the loudest part of the piece as their guide. This was fine for that particular movement, but unfortunately the first movement of the piece was orders of magnitude softer. And because they recorded it at 16bit, which does not have the extended dynamic range of 24bit (which is really just extended detail at very low volumes), when I gained up the audio there was all sorts of nasty quantization errors in it. I added some dither but the damage was done. If they had recorded it at 24bit, it would've been fine. Of if they had been more careful with their gain staging, it would've been fine. Also, consumer devices don't exactly have the best analog front ends. Most conversion chips are the same and don't have a sound. It's the analog electronics in front of the ADC and after the DACs that make the difference.
  10. RIP Victor Bailey

    RIP Victor Bailey. I had the pleasure of meeting and hanging with him at the 2003 Park City Jazz Festival (where I played with Corey Christiansen and Danny Gottlieb). He was as nice as can be to this young and nervous musician and told me he loved Hammond organ. He also told me something I never knew; that his uncle was the great drummer Donald 'Duck' Bailey, who played and recorded with Jimmy Smith on a handful of classic Blue Note albums. He said that as a young boy, the trio of Jimmy, Donald, and Quentin Warren used to practice at his house in Philly! Can you imagine! No wonder he had the music in him. Serendipitously, at that same time I had been digesting the Joe Zawinul Syndicate World Tour CD for weeks. Victor played on a big chunk of it. He said that he got the gig literally days before and was reading everything for the first time on those recordings. That was when I realized I wasn't worthy. What an amazing musician and a beautiful human being.
  11. Viscount Intercontinental - Portable B3 Knockoff

    Might have to call a vintage synth restorer, like Switched On in Austin, TX or RetroLinear in Pennsylvania. Are you in the States?
  12. Rudy Van Gelder interview from 1995

    If I misunderstood your comment, then I apologize.
  13. Dither

    The reason to use dither is to mask certain harmonics that may appear due to digital processing. Essentially what you are doing is raising the noise floor. The noise floor is the point at which the signal becomes indistinguishable from the background noise. The reason to do this is to mask the artifacts from converting a higher bit depth to a lower bit depth, like from 24bit to 16bit CD. Such conversions cause quantization errors which appear as harmonics. The dither masks those. So if you're digitizing analog sources into your computer, you don't need dither. A good and easily understandable guide is here: http://downloads.izotope.com/guides/izotope-dithering-with-ozone.pdf
  14. Rudy Van Gelder interview from 1995

    You're conflating the act of capturing the source with the presentation of the final product to the listener. What RVG is talking about is the presentation of his finished recording to the consumer. In other words, he made certain aesthetic decisions for whatever reasons (including the wonky piano and wacky reverb) and he wants the listener to experience those decisions on the final master as close as possible to the way he intended. It's like a photograph of a painting. You want the photograph to accurately capture the colors and texture of the original as closely as possible. Therefor what he is saying is that linear digital is a much better medium for that than analog, specifically vinyl. In order to cut the vinyl, you have to make substantial concessions to your lovingly created master in the vinyl mastering process. And even then the final product deviates from the master further due to the quality of the pressing and also each time the vinyl is played (adding more surface noise and pops and clicks). Sorry but this simply isn't true. I'm pretty sure he's referring to the CD standard here, 16bit 44.1kHz, which is more than enough for the final mastered product. I do not. 24bits is pointless for the final product. 16bits is more than enough. The increase of bit depth has nothing to do with warmth.
  15. NEW CD now available for pre-oder

    I'll post a track list in an update for pledgers. That's a good idea!
  16. Viscount Intercontinental - Portable B3 Knockoff

    Are you talking about the digital pipe organs?
  17. New DONATE button

    Yeah, awesome! Thanks, everyone!
  18. Fifteen years ago, while languishing in traffic between Berkeley, Calif., and Silicon Valley, Carl Haber tuned in to a radio interview with Mickey Hart, the former Grateful Dead drummer turned music preservationist. Dr. Haber, a particle physicist, listened as Mr. Hart discussed his concern over historic audio recordings that were deteriorating. “He was talking about how sound recordings are on these fragile materials,” Dr. Haber recalls. “So it was kind of a challenge, sort of a plea.” Dr. Haber thought he could help. At the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he was developing equipment for the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, he had been using precision optical tools to measure devices that would help to track subatomic particles. Read more: http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-physicist-whos-saving-the-music-1440169464
  19. Bass Pedals and exp-100

    I don't know for sure if the EXP-100 will mount. I think it will; pretty sure. The mount is simple a bracket that attaches to the expression pedal. Might be worth an email or call to Hammond USA.
  20. Lament

    Mr. Brewer teaches at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids and is a fine trombonist and a good friend.
  21. do i really need tweeters in my home speakers?

    What model of speakers are they? What model amp?
  22. Bill Heid

    Do you have 'Bop Rascal' Kevin? That's one of my favorites. BTW, I produced an album for Bill that we recorded earlier in the spring. We're looking at an early 2017 release.
  23. bad link to malware?

    Delete that link from the thread and it should solve the problem.