Jim Alfredson

Rudy Van Gelder interview from 1995

249 posts in this topic

well, what can I say, Jim? I have made about 15 CDs in the last ten years, and there is no question, to my ears, that the later ones, recorded at 24, sound significantly better than the earlier at 16; I am wary of a test like the one above, which is purely visual; the sound - and ambience -  tells more, I do believe.

Now, the first time I did a personal test, I was using a consumer 2 track machine at 16 and 24, playing saxophone with a good mic; there is no question in my mind that the improvement at 24 was startling, noticeable; and I had zero expectations, as a matter of fact I was determined to declare 24 bit to be voodoo, just to save the cash on upgrade. So that does not factor in.

And look at how much better digital sounds in the last 10 years; of course there are other factors, but what I heard was a graininess that was lost and a clarity gained - and even if there are other things at work, gain stage, microphone, converter - that's really exactly the point; since 24, to my very sensitive ears, was such a dramatic improvement in consumer (and relatively primitive) terms - and MUCH more forgiving -  then the medium itself must be inherently better.

As for double blind, well, I can't tell the difference between one Chinese dialect and another, but that doesn't mean they sound the same. Same with blind tests, if I am not the one being tested, it doesn't convince me. And a lot of people thought Hillary and Trump were the same; they could not tell the difference, either.

 

Edited by AllenLowe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, AllenLowe said:

 there is no question in my mind...

 

Great audiophool line. Right up there with "I have excellent hearing", and "perhaps your system isn't resolving enough" as an arrogant argument for faith over science. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Scott Dolan said:

Great audiophool line. Right up there with "I have excellent hearing", and "perhaps your system isn't resolving enough" as an arrogant argument for faith over science. 

Or maybe just real world experience over theory.....

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Real world experience? 

You mean people that have participated is double blind studies? 

Outside of that you have nothing but perception. The mind and ears have an uncanny knack for fooling the hell out of us. And the kind of folks who peddle bullshit like $100 per ft speaker cable thank God daily for that. 

What Jim posted earlier wasn't "theory". 

Edited by Scott Dolan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

real world, yes. But Jim has the same, so it is interesting that we differ. But Scott, try and listen more; the grownups are talking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am listening. And I'm enjoying watching you get your ass handed to you by Jim. 

He's supplying actual evidence, while you're relying on what you tricked yourself into hearing. Happens ALL the time in the audio world. 

It's science vs religion. Guess which one of those is actually proven? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Kevin Bresnahan said:

As I said earlier in this thread:

"You can't even use science to prove your points any more. The "I only trust my ears" people are winning.

If this were 330 BC and the argument was whether the earth is flat or round, there'd be a huge disagreement with the group claiming that the earth is flat "because that's what I see" winning in popular opinion. Who cares if we have a picture from space that shows that the earth is round. They only see a flat earth so it's flat. Science be damned."

Thanks for proving my point Allen. :)

Perfect analogy. 

And in the audio world it's even more about a bizarre blend of both logic and power of suggestion. Logic dictates that 24 is greater than 16. Power of suggestion stems from that leading you to "actually hear" a difference. A very classic placebo, if there ever was one. 

Very similar to herbal supplements. You're told what xxxxx can do, and how it will effect you physically and mentally. Find all these "sources" online to back these claims. Maybe read a book by Dr. Andrew Weil. It will be nearly impossible for you to NOT feel all the benefits you were told you'd feel. It's human nature. We don't mind bullshitting ourselves as long as it is for what we perceive are positive reasons. 

Edited by Scott Dolan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kevin: Bollocks, as the British say. The science of sonic proof here is WAVE FORMS and CHARTS.  The reality is what it sounds like to the listener as reproduced on both pro and consumer equipment; the rest is an attempt to quantify that which cannot be quantified.

and the truth is I am insulted by your lack of respect here; I have worked and recorded as a professional musician since the 1980s; have remastered over 6000 recordings, restored as many, have worked with a number of great engineers going back 30 years, have had important friendships with people like David Baker and Doug Pomeroy, and have spent hundreds of hours in professional studios, thousands of hours in my home studio, and have been on bandstands organizing sound and recording with everyone from Doc Cheatham to Julius Hemphill to David Murray.

What I find insulting is NOT your disagreement but your dismissal as if I am just another schmuck weighing in with no experience or knowledge but only superstition.

So screw your smiley face. When you have done 1/10 of what I have done, then we'll talk.

Fuck you, really.

Edited by AllenLowe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seriously - you guys are both making records the way you want to make them of the music you want to make, and presumably for the reasons you want to make it.

Everybody's winning in that regard, and all the civilian chatter has as much to do with anything as does me heckling Mike Trout from an enclosed skybox.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A truly awful analogy, I have to say. 

Allen was making statements that can be scientifically proven as untrue. 

So, the options are: let those statements go unchallenged and consumed by others as true, or...don't. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And the impact to you and how you enjoy your Allen Lowe and Organissimo records is...what, exactly?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That has nothing to do with stating facetious information as fact. In the audio world things of that nature can cost people a lot of money. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, so Allen Lowe wanting to use 24 bit to make his records is going to cost civilian consumers a lot of money...because how Allen Lowe likes to make his records is part of an industry conspiracy to bamboozle Everybody In The World.

Allen Lowe should have his current recording equipment seized and forcibly replaced with All Scientifically Proven Accurate Technology, and then only make records that can be Scientifically Proven Accurate. Only then will We The People be safe from 60 Gajillion Dollar Headphone Muffs. Because people really are that gullible, and it's people like Allen Lowe who want to make their records in 24 bit because that's how they like it who are at fault. Got it.

HEY TROUT, GROW SOME HAIR!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not MY MVP!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I get that science because science, and I get that informed consumers make better cost-effective decisions. What I don't get is why anybody gives a shit about how Allen Lowe makes his records unless they're like, hey, dude, your shit could cost less and sound just as good, trust me on this one, here let me pay for your production costs, that's how much I care.

And really, I don't get why Allen Lowe should care how anybody else makes their records. He spends his money, he makes his music, he makes his records. I do get why he gets on the megaphone about how reissues get fucked up, because that happens, although whether or not it always happens like he says it does, I can't always say. But those are products he's a consumer of, so yeah, he's got an interest.

But how Allen Lowe, or Organissimo, or anydamnbody makes their own records is nobody's business but their own, and if Allen Lowe has somehow tricked himself into hearing something that's not really there, more power to him. He needs to go with what he hears, real or otherwise, to get his shit to sound the way he wants it to.

Otherwise, send him to an Audio Reeducation Camp and don't let him out until he hears the error of his ears.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, JSngry said:

I get that science because science, and I get that informed consumers make better cost-effective decisions. What I don't get is why anybody gives a shit about how Allen Lowe makes his records...

That's good, I guess. Because nobody does. At least nobody that has commented on this thread, anyway. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So you don't care how he makes his records, you don't care if you like those records or not, you just want to give him shit about the bad science that he uses to make those records?

That's good, I guess.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anymore false narratives you'd like to cook up over this? 

Also, if explaining the phenomenon he was referring to is "giving him shit", then you must have a much different definition for that term than...well, everyone else. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it's not a false narrative that he got pissed off enough at the creation of what in his mind was a false narrative (that he wasn't really hearing what he in his mind knew he was hearing) that he booked (this is not new behavior, and I hope he returns in his own time). But Allen Lowe's "board behavior" is of at best minor consequence to me here.

Y'all gotta realize that be it Allen Lowe, Jim Alfredson, anybody who makes music, their internal perceptions are what drives the whole process. You come up throwing science and objectivity into the mix, that is so not relevant to their creative process. Sometimes they can separate the science from the intangible (I think Chuck Nessa is a master at this, based on his life's work), but I don't see any indication that Allen is one who can. I for damn sure don't see how he needs to be.

So whether you realize it or not, whether you mean to or not, when you tell the guy that what he thinks he hears doesn't really exist, that's not a civilian/consumer argument about Audio Snake Oil to him. That's a fundamental denial of the validity of his whole creative process. Like, hey, you can't hear reality, what you hear isn't real. Well, for a person whose existence is predicated on hearing what they hear turning into music that everybody can hear, that's kind of an...invasive charge.

Myself, I find any notion that there is One True Sound laughable, and borderline fascistic. The data is objective, the reception/perception definitely need not be. Is it dangerous for people to hear shit that ain't there? Of course it is. But it's at least that much dangerous to insist that everybody hear the same data the same way. What kind of a nightmare world is that?

An Anti-Science Fascist and A Science Fascist are still Fascists, and yeah, I can hear the argument now, there can be no such thing as Science Fascists, that Science is Objective & True, so it is Inherently Non-Fascistic, and, yeah, good luck on that one. Start trying to tell people that what they hear isn't real, think about what you have to do to really win that argument, and then have a Coke and a Smile.

Allen Lowe makes his records how he hears them. Bad science or not.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And nothing Jim, Kevin, or myself said stands in opposition to any of that. It was a simple correction of inaccurate statements, not some kind of mental/emotional kicking in of doors. 

Just for the record, why not go back and see how all of this transpired. I simply noted that he was suffering from expectation bias. Nothing more, nothing less. That's when he lost it. Fuck him, and shame on you for defending him. He wants to claim infallibility. Well, some of us have had enough of his mental lording over the serfs. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Scott Dolan said:

 ...It was a simple correction of inaccurate statements, not some kind of mental/emotional kicking in of doors. 

...Well, some of us have had enough of his mental lording over the serfs. 

No mixed message or contradictory sentiments there. All right, then!

Now...

I will defend him and his right to hear shit that ain't real. It comes out as his music as a result.

Can't everybody do that. Not everybody should try that, either, but hey.

Life is dangerous. Beauty can be ugly. Surround yourself with perpetual predictable perfection and...uh, wait...isn't there a whole genre of...stuff based on this? And none of it is comforting? Except when it's from the Very Disturbing Parts Of History?

Nah, give me Lowe's unreal reality over that any day. Or night...especially the night.

God Bless Science, and God Damn Fascism. Long may they remain enemies and not partners. Hope springs eternal!

And feeling like a serf is one's own choice, so own that one yourself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hahaha...

Hey, you can see fucking polka dot unicorns swimming around in your swimming pool for all I care. Just don't come here and tell everyone else that it's real and not expect a bit of pushback. 

Any other ways you'd like to shift the blame to us for his going away pity party? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.